First of all congratulations! Hold on tight for the duration of the impending roller coaster!
Choosing a pregnancy exercise plan very much depends on the individual. There are a whole range of benefits that come with keeping active during pregnancy as long as you aren’t considered high risk.
A lot of women often exclude themselves from exercise as soon as they discover they’re pregnant. For someone who is already used to being active and training there is no reason to stop doing so, in a normal healthy pregnancy, well into the third trimester as long as you feel able to (whilst dodging the fatigue and nausea early on). It wouldn’t be a good idea to suddenly decide to take up an activity you were completely unused to at this time though. Why would you, there are enough dramatic changes going on in the body in a relatively short space of time.
Not only does the level of anti-natal activity depend on the individual, each pregnancy will dictate how much you can do. In my first single (large baby!) pregnancy, I kept very active. I was still teaching group exercise during the first trimester and carried on resistance training, power-walking, daily yoga and swimming ( I used to make the lengths more interesting by racing unassuming pensioners on a week day morning or challenging my weekly PB as I grew bigger). After the traumatic birth of my large, (now petite for his age ) first born, I was right back to my training and back to the body shape and size I was previously by the time he was 5 months old. Now, regaining pre baby size is by no means a race. This is a blog topic for the near future.
The second (twin ) pregnancy was completely different. Dizzy from day one and enormous! There was no chance I was moving quicker than walking pace even if I had wanted to! With a toddler to look after I was limited to Pilates at home and walks with the pushchair. The Fatigue was the toughest part by far. To add to this, I couldn’t face any sort of vaguely nutritious food, even though I knew better than to eat garbage, it was all I could stomach. Because if this I didn’t bounce back the way I had the first time. So a complete polar opposite experience than the first time.
A Pregnancy Exercise Plan should be adapted as the pregnancy progresses to accommodate a change in hormones, energy levels, blood volume, not to mention bump size and weight!
Although our bodies adapt well to the dramatic changes during pregnancy, it is a good idea to be in half decent, well working order BEFORE conceiving.
Benefits of a Pregnancy Exercise Plan:
• Keep pregnancy niggles, such as backache and pelvic girdle pain, constipation and fatigue, at bay.
• Feel better about the changes that are happening to your pregnant body.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Get a better night’s sleep.
• Help to reduce or prevent depression and improve your self-esteem.
• Prepare your body and mind for the demands of labour and birth.
• Get back into shape after your baby is born.
If you’re considered high risk:
You should talk to your doctor before exercising in pregnancy, but it’s especially important if:
• You have had a premature baby or pregnancy bleeding (threatened miscarriage) before.
• You have very low iron levels in your blood (severe anemia).
• Your baby has been small for dates during this pregnancy.
• You have high blood pressure that can’t be controlled with medication, or per-eclampsia.
• You were very overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, before you were pregnant.
• You were underweight, with a BMI of 12 or lower, before becoming pregnant.
• You are a heavy smoker.
• You have joint or muscle problems.
• You have a heart or lung problem.
• You are expecting twins.
• You have poorly controlled diabetes
You shouldn’t exercise if:
• You have gone into premature labour or have had a threatened miscarriage during your current pregnancy.
• You have a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) after you are 26 weeks pregnant.
• You have cervical weakness.
• You are pregnant with more than one baby.
• You have a serious heart or lung disease.
• You have persistent vaginal bleeding.
• You have very high blood pressure.