It is often said that if you have not exercised before you fall pregnant that it isn’t a good idea to start. New studies published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have shown that there are generally 7 tips for exercising safely and effectively. They say that “a new study highlights the physical activity patterns that have proven to be most beneficial during pregnancy, as well as exercises women should avoid.”
Authors of the study state that there is strong scientific evidence saying that there is no risk to premature birth, low birth weight or foetal distress. “This is provided that the mother has no medical or obstetric contraindication for physical exercise.”
Tip 1 – Physical exercise can be started between week 9 and 12 of pregnancy, until 38-39 weeks.
Tip 2 – Exercising using a combination of aerobic and strength training from 45-65 minutes over 3-4 days a week is ideal. It is important that the intensity stays at a moderate level.
Tip 3 – Exercise is considered safe to do for pregnant women with risk factors including chronic hypertension, gestational diabetes or overweight/obesity.
Tip 4 – Exercising is not safe when a pregnant women is having any vaginal bleeding, regular or painful contractions, amniotic fluid leakage, shortness of breath before exertion, dizziness, headaches, chest pains, muscle weakness affecting balance, calf pain or swelling.
Tip 5 – All pregnant women should avoid strenuous exercise (90% of your maximum heart rate), since it may increase the risk of hypothermia, dehydration or reduced uterine blood flow, which in turn will be associated with the risk of compromising the foetus’ health
Tip 6 – In relation to this, long-distance running, intense weight and isometric contraction training, jumps, impact exercises and exercises with a risk of falling or in an outstretched position where you would lay on your back must be suspended.
Tip 7 – Clinical trials failed to demonstrate the physiological benefits of yoga and Pilates, however, yoga is thought to be effective for improving mental health and reducing pain.