Can exercise prevent pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia can occur due to higher blood pressure with pregnancy, being overweight, or having diabetes, suitable exercises will help improve all these.
I’m 18 weeks pregnant and have heard that exercise may help reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. How can it help and what exercise would be beneficial?
Conditions that can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia include higher blood pressure before pregnancy or during a previous pregnancy, being overweight, or having diabetes. Exercise suitable for pregnancy will help improve all these.
Some cardiovascular exercise with strength-training and core exercise is best. For cardio, try swimming, goodpaced walking (not running), cycling or spinning. Don’t exercise so hard that you can’t talk at the same time, and sip water to stay hydrated.
Strength-train with light weights or your bodyweight to work arms, legs and bottom, toning them and improving your metabolism. The squat is one of the best exercises for pregnancy, and the row is very effective for the upper body.
To do the squat, hold a light weight in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With feet flat, sit back at your hips, as if about to sit down. Try to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Clench your bottom to push yourself back up to standing.
To do the row, hook a resistance band around an immovable object (such as a door handle with the door firmly shut) and hold the band with your arms stretched out in front. The band should be taut and straight. Pull your hands back towards your waist, bending your elbows and keeping them close to your body, and breathing out. Feel a squeeze between the shoulder blades. Then straighten your arms and return to the starting position.