You can still be Yummy and Pregnant!!
For lots of pregnant women the idea of giving up a beloved exercise routine is enough to turn their stomach more than a bad case of morning sickness and the price of a gold encrusted cot combined. But do not despair you mummies to be; pregnancy is actually an ideal time to peel yourselves from the couch, stay active and feel amazing. Let's face it, giving birth isn't exactly a stroll in the park; it's God-only-knows how many hours of intense physical and mental activity. Would you train for a marathon by lying on your back for nine months? No, so let's consider the evidence.
For far too long training while pregnant has been seen as a taboo, with many doctors taking the easy option and choosing to discourage women from exercising all together. I also know from my experience as a specialised personal trainer that many women go through feelings of uncertainty and low self-esteem as they struggle to come to terms with the bodily changes of pregnancy, making them much less likely to put on their trainers and work up a little sweat. Granted, pregnancy isn't the time to accomplish your ultimate fitness goals and any sensible woman will realise that they need to slow down slightly, but a regular work-out routine- tailored to the needs of your changing body- is the perfect cure for those feelings of loneliness and confusion that are so, so common to pregnant women.
But that's just the beginning: the benefits of exercising your way through pregnancy could easily fill an entire book (now there's an idea!), but for now let's concentrate on just a few.
When exercising there is an increased blood flow through the body to the placenta prioritising and providing your growing baby with a rich and steady flow of oxygen, and research has shown that this could be a link to intelligence! Exercising for a more intelligent child, doesn’t it sound too good to be true!
Regular, structured exercise tailored to pregnancy will gradually prepare you mentally and physically and improve your stamina, which will come to the fore when D-Day arrives. A fit, healthy and focused mother has a much better than average likelihood of a quicker and less painful delivery. (Emphasis on the less: it still might hurt a little bit!)
Looking beyond the delivery to the months and years ahead: women who exercise regularly before the birth of their babies tend to return to their pre-pregnancy weight much quicker. Not only is your body kept in good shape, think about it; mentally and physically you'll already have the discipline and staying power needed to lose that extra baby weight as well as the million and one other things you'll be doing as a mother.
Varicose veins are an unwelcome souvenir of pregnancy for thousands of mothers and just another reason to stay as mobile as possible for as long as possible. Remember regularly moving around is going help your circulation and minimize those veins! Likewise, many new mothers suffer the embarrassment of incontinence, but ante-natal exercise will improve the strength of your pelvic floor, which will definitely help decrease your chances of that one.
Part 2, on Friday, will outline some important rules to remember when exercising whilst pregnant.
By Laura Sherriff, Personal Trainer