Exercising when pregnant: Modern rules
Pregnancy used to be the ultimate excuse for avoiding exercise. You could banish the weighing scales and spend nine glorious months eating for two without the slightest twinge of guilt.
Things have changed, staying active during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. So which exercises are safe and which should you avoid, and how can you possibly be expected to keep up any kind of fitness regime if you can barely lift your head out of the toilet bowl, never mind peel your aching limbs off the sofa?
We asked the experts for their tips on exercising with a baby on board, and spoke to some fit mums who swear that exercise eased their pregnancy ailments, helped them to enjoy their pregnancies and even made it easier to cope with labour…
Is it safe to exercise in pregnancy?
Asks Jess, 35, mum to Lila, 1.
For most women the answer to this is a resounding yes, but do clear your fitness regime with your GP or midwife as early
as possible. ‘If you have a high-risk pregnancy, then exercise is categorically
out of the question,’ says ante- and postnatal fitness expert Claire Mockridge.
‘But the vast majority of my pregnant clients are able to continue with an active exercise regime right up until 40 weeks, and beyond.’ There are just a few common sense rules: don’t lie flat on your back, especially after 16 weeks, as your bump would press on blood vessels to your heart, making you feel faint; and anything that involves the risk of being hit or falling is obviously a no-go! Jess, 35, mum to Lila, 1 I worked out regularly before getting pregnant, then kept up my usual gym routine right up until 35 weeks. By then I felt too big and tired to keep training so I walked every day and did pregnancy yoga at home.
'Keeping fit gave me the stamina to cope with a 36-hour labour without any pain relief except for gas and air towards the end. Also, you need something in reserve to get you through the early weeks of sleeplessness as a new parent, and I think you’re in a much better position to cope with it all if you start off reasonably fit.