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IS AEROBIC EXERCISE SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

Your pregnant body is wired to tell you a lot about what movements feel right and wrong. There are also guidelines and experts to advise you on what aerobic exercise is and isn’t safe in pregnancy. The best advice is to combine the messages of your own body with the advice of a pregnancy exercise professional. This will help you find the type and level of cardio exercise that is right for you, on any given day, at each stage of your pregnancy.

Cardio exercise IS safe to do throughout pregnancy for most expectant mums. But, bear in mind you are looking for maintenance of your general fitness, rather than an increase in aerobic capacity or performance. You may see female athletes on TV sprinting 100m at 6 months pregnant. However, this is not considered safe for all. Moreover, the jury is still out on exactly how much and what intensity of cardio exercise is safe for the average mother to be and her unborn bub.

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HOW DO I GET BACK INTO EXERCISE AFTER HAVING A BABY?

You might be itching to get back to your usual exercise routine or just know that pregnancy and birth have left you needing some strengthening and toning in certain places. Doing the right exercises in the early weeks really matters for your health, fitness and enjoyment of sport in the long-term.

There have been many changes to your body during pregnancy that did not just return to ‘normal’ immediately after the birth. These all need to be taken into account when you are returning to exercise.

Read more: HOW DO I GET BACK INTO EXERCISE AFTER HAVING A BABY?

IS IT SAFE TO EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY?

Exercise in pregnancy is not a black and white issue. It is about balancing your personal situation with general guidelines, until you find what is right for you.

Your age, whether you exercised before pregnancy and to what level, determine what is ‘normal’ and safe for your body and baby. A 4km run may feel like a marathon to someone who hasn’t exercised since school, but is a cruise in the park to a state level athlete. So, what is ‘normal’ differs between individuals. This means that what is safe can differ too.

As a general rule, the more active you were before pregnancy, the more active you can be safely during pregnancy.

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UNDERSTANDING YOUR PELVIC FLOOR AND EXERCISE

So often I start a consultation on pelvic floor health and improvement by asking my client “what do you understand about your pelvic floor, where it is and what it does?” More times than not the reply is “not very much at all, but I know it’s not good and I don’t want to pee my pants!”

So lets get down to the nitty gritty – useful info!

If you took a birds eye view of inside your pelvis, your pelvic floor muscle would look like a trampoline stretching from front to back and side to side. Your ‘core unit’ comprises your diagphram, which is the ‘roof’, your transverse abdominis (core), which are the ‘walls’ and the pelvic floor which is the ‘floor’. These muscles all work together to give you good posture, support your body during movement, protect your back, flatten your abdominals and safeguard against incontinence.

Read more: UNDERSTANDING YOUR PELVIC FLOOR AND EXERCISE

IS IT SAFE TO EXERCISE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY?

You may be an avid exerciser who wants to keep active throughout your pregnancy. Or, you may be one of many women who want to start exercising and keep as fit and healthy as possible, now you know you are housing a growing baby.

Let’s dispel the myths... unless your doctor expressly advises against it, working out is not only safe, but beneficial in the first trimester. Exercise encourages a bigger, thicker placenta with better blood flow. As the placenta is the transport system taking nutrients and oxygen to the baby throughout the pregnancy it becomes obvious why having a healthier, stronger placenta is desirable. Having said that, exercise does need to be moderate and there are a few changes you should make as soon as you find out you are expecting.

Read more: IS IT SAFE TO EXERCISE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY?
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