Pregnancy and exercise

Doyou ordon'tyou exercise throughoutpregnancy?

How much?

How often?

And when should youstop? asked the team at Fernwood Women's Health Clubs to provide their top tips for exercising throughout your pregnancy.

Don't stop

Women who currently participate in a regular exercise program can continue exercising with some modifications to their programs during pregnancy. Those who plan to start an exercise program after becoming pregnant must obtain their doctors approval first.

Stay regular

Maintain regular exercise, at least three times per week and, if possible, between 20 to 30 minutes in duration, at a moderate intensity (you should be able to carry on a normal conversation during the activity). Another option is to accumulate activity to shorter periods such as 15 minute sessions.

Be cool

Avoid exercise in hot, humid environments, and always stay well hydrated. This is especially true during the first trimester, which holds the greatest risk of cell malformation. Also avoid saunas and steam baths during pregnancy as these will increase your core temperature.

Fuel your body

You will need to increase your food intake by an additional 300 calories per day, building up to 500 by the third trimester. Women who exercise during pregnancy should be particularly careful to ensure they are eating enough.

Mix it up

Choose a mixture of weight bearing and non-weight bearing activities such as walking, low impact aerobics, light weights, yoga, pilates, cycling, swimming and aqua fitness. Avoid heavy lifting and holding the breath.

Floor work

Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Strong pelvic floor muscles will assist with the birth process and recovery and help to prevent stress incontinence.

Pace yourself

After the birth, return to exercise gradually, start with gentle abdominal bracing focusing on the pelvic floor and the deep corset muscles. Check with your doctor at six weeks post-natal, prior to re-starting an exercise program with your trainer.