It is hard enough to get motivated to exercise when we are not pregnant, but during a lockdown, lack of motivation, the kids being around, finding the time and energy to fit in a workout can be difficult.
If you have suffered or are suffering from morning sickness in the first trimester and tiredness then that is going to make you even less likely to want to exercise. As you reach your second trimester, you may find you have more energy and morning sickness has subsided. The third trimester brings with it fatigue, aches and pains, especially the lower back, hips, upper back, neck and shoulders. Exercising and staying fit and active will help to alleviate these.
You might be thinking you shouldn’t exercise because it is not safe or you are unsure of what you can and can’t do depending on your stage of pregnancy.
If you have not exercised for a while or you have never exercised you can still get moving and stay active during pregnancy, providing you have no contra-indications and your GP has not said you can’t exercise.
If you are already active and go to the gym or work out regularly, then you can continue as you are, again as long as you have no contra-indications and have GP clearance to exercise and regress exercises/weights as the pregnancy progresses if you are finding it hard or uncomfortable.
So…. where do you start?
If you are a beginner and you want to stay fit, healthy and active during pregnancy, start with walking 10-15 mins a day every day or every other day. Have rest days and ensure you get in some stretching sessions. The glutes, lower back, shoulders and chest may feel tight, so these are the areas to work on. Along with pelvic floor work and breathing exercises. Ensuring you engage the pelvic floor and relax the pelvic floor.
Some bodyweight exercises are also a good thing to be doing to prepare your body for birth. Things like bodyweight squats, lunges, deadlifts, glute bridges, hip thrusts, bicep curls, bent over rows – you can do most of these without dumbbells or equipment. If you don’t have dumbbells you can improvise. You can use bottles of water or even tins.
Press-ups, and dips help to maintain upper body strength. Fire hydrants for the glutes, single leg glutes bridges are also fantastic exercises to strengthen up the lower body.
Contrary to belief you can also work your core.
I’m not saying do lots of sit-ups but you can do exercises such as the bird dog, leg slides, single-leg drops, pelvic tilts, without putting any intra-abdominal pressure through the core or the pelvic floor. Just engaging the core whilst practicing breathing exercises and pelvic floor exercises will engage the core.
Walking alone will help to work the pelvic floor as well, the pelvic floor is not a muscle that is isolated or works on it’s own. When you squat, lift, bend, and breathe the pelvic floor is working along with other muscles.
As I have said before exercising during pregnancy has so many benefits and hopefully will enable you to cope better during labour.
Remember to get GP clearance to exercise and if you have any concerns, please seek professional and medical assistance. Pregnancy is not a time to diet but eat healthy and stay hydrated. It is not a time for progression but rather for maintenance and to prepare your body for birth. It may also help you recover quicker.
Always seek advice from a Personal Trainer who is qualified in Pre and Post Natal PT or a Women’s Health Physio.