Should I Exercise During My Pregnancy?
Some might be under the impression that exercising during pregnancy is unsafe for the mother and foetus, but did you know that there are even more reasons to remain active during pregnancy? Let’s read on and bust the myth!
Time to get moving!
The thought of exercising during your first trimester might be the last thing on your mind when all you are trying to accomplish is keep your food down and pray hard that your body adapts to the new pregnancy as soon as possible. However as you transition into your second trimester, and if your pregnancy is normal, it is about time to consider starting a simple exercise routine to keep yourself active. Exercising during pregnancy not only benefits you physically, it also has several advantages for your mental health and wellness! So ladies, what are you waiting for? Time to pick up that yoga mat!
What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?
It is no surprise that exercising regularly does wonders for the human body and it is this fact does not change during pregnancy. Doing the proper exercises accompanied with the right techniques safely brings a host of benefits not just for the mother, but for the baby as well!
In the next few months, as your baby continues to develop, it will demand a great deal of focus, strength and discipline from you! Just imagine pregnancy as an extreme sport where you will definitely need every ounce of energy you can gather in your body to get through it victoriously. Staying active and building yourself up physically is key to achieving that.
Introducing exercise into your daily routine helps to keep your physical health in check and promotes healthy weight gain. You are also able to keep those common pregnancy ailments at bay. It decreases your risk of contracting gestational diabetes, undergoing a cesarean delivery and most importantly, a smoother labour process! Frequent exercise also reduces cases of pelvic pains, backaches, bloatedness and gives you a better night of rest.
Aside from the long list of physical benefits, exercising frequently also has several mental and emotional benefits. During pregnancy, it is common to feel overwhelmed by the major changes you are facing as well as the future planning to be done. Due to this, pregnant ladies are more susceptible to anxiety or depression. Exercising combats this issue as it releases endorphins into your bodies which helps to boost your overall mood and helps in reducing anxiety and stress. Research also shows that ladies who stayed active throughout their pregnancy have a better body image as compared to those who did not exercise and often felt better about themselves. Most importantly, it will also be easier for you to cope with the demands of motherhood better after delivery and return back to regular life and socialising quicker!
Not only do mothers stand to gain by exercising during pregnancy, their babies do too! If you exercise regularly during your pregnancy, your baby may enjoy the lasting effects of it by having a healthier heart and higher cardio levels through their childhood! You will also tend to give birth to a healthier baby with lesser body fat with a more advanced cognitive development.
So mama, remember to start building up your body physically and mentally through a combination of good diet and regular exercise which will be beneficial for both you and your baby!
Which type of exercises are safe?
Good news, you do not need to complete a marathon or clock 10 intense YouTube workouts in order to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy. It could be as simple as taking a dip in the pool, a light stretching session or just taking a walk around your neighbourhood.
Some simple exercises that are good for you during your pregnancy include brisk walking, water workouts, prenatal yoga and pilates. These activities are gentle on your muscles and improve flexibility!
On other hand, there are some exercises that are not advisable during your pregnancy. Do not participate in contact sports such as basketball or soccer as there is a risk of getting hit in your abdomen. Adventure sports such as horseback riding, off-road riding or surfing are also not recommended as it poses a high risk for falling which could be dangerous for yourself and your baby. Even though the yoga and pilates practice is highly recommended, it is important to steer clear of hot yoga and pilates. The heat that comes from a hot yoga or pilates practice adds pressure to your body which could lead to a risk of overheating and damaging complications to both the mother and baby.
As important as exercise may be, it is equally important for you to take good care of your own health and watch out for warning signs. If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, chest pain, contractions or bleeding from your vagina, please stop exercising and contact your obstetrician immediately for advice.
How do I stay motivated?
Generally, 30 minutes of exercise per day is recommended for all pregnant ladies. If you are restarting your fitness routine after a long time, you may consider to start with a 10 minutes session of exercise and slowly build up your stamina and routine from there.
Always remember that it does not take a lot of effort from you to stay active! For instance, you do not need to sign up for an expensive gym membership in order to exercise. Simply throw on your workout clothes and start by opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find a friend or family member to join you and keep you accountable on your fitness journey. Having an accountability partner makes it harder for you to back out and makes exercising more fun! Trust me, once you overcome the initial inertia and make exercise an integral part of your daily life, it will get so much easier.
What kind of prenatal workouts are available in Singapore?
Here in Singapore, there is a growing number of workout studios that have prenatal classes suited specifically for pregnant women. Led by qualified instructors, all these classes emphasize on strengthening muscle groups that plays an important role during pregnancy and later in delivery. Below are a few recommended fitness studios for your consideration!
Mom in Balance
Donna O’Shea Fitness
Mother and Child
Mother and Child offer Prenatal Pilates and Yoga classes to all Mothers-to-be after the 12th week of pregnancy. With emphasis placed on breathing, learn powerful techniques to remain calm and focused throughout your pregnancy. Mother and Child’s classes also helps you cope with the fears, stress and anxieties that are often too common in pregnancy.
There are several class packages available and trial classes begin at $35. For more information, visit their website here!
Stay committed to your plan and to yourself!
While you embark on your new pregnancy fitness journey, remember to stay hydrated at all times and not push yourself too hard while exercising. Listen to your body and most importantly, always get the green light of approval from your obstetrician before participating in any form of exercise. Learn to pace yourself, and most importantly, remain disciplined and committed to your exercise plan!