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Why you shouldn’t stop exercising while pregnant

Do you currently enjoy exercise but wonder how you are going to do this with bub on the way? Whether you’ve had a pregnancy before or not, one thing for sure is that your body is going to go through a fair bit of change.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes hormonal and metabolic changes, along with changes to your musculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.

Diastasis recti, pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, low back pain, and pelvic girdle pain may be some of the less-welcomed issues that arise with your pregnancy.

This doesn’t mean you should stop exercising altogether. In fact, exercise during pregnancy can help to:

- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes

- Decrease the risk of high blood pressure associated to pregnancy (preeclampsia)

- Decrease postpartum recovery time

- Decrease the risk and severity of low back pain

- Decrease the risk of urinary incontinence

- Prevent/improve symptoms of depression

- Maintain physical fitness

Right now, you are asking yourself the following questions, and we have the following answers:

Can I continue with my regular workout program?

The answer is that you should endeavour to engage in a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, spread over four to seven days, for 20-30 minutes a day, all or most days each week (ACSM, ACOG and Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology guidelines).

However, if you were sedentary prior to pregnancy, research suggests you can exercise at lower intensities and for shorter periods of time. Start with 15 minutes of brisk walking three times a week and slowly increase the length of each session.

Which exercises should I avoid?

Listening to your body is important. The following exercises should be avoided during your pregnancy:

- Exercises that cause pain or aggravate existing pain

- Prolonged exercise in supine (on your back) in the final trimester of pregnancy

- Exercises that cause the abdominal wall to bulge, especially along the midline

- Exercises performed at high intensity that prevents you from talking comfortably

- Exercises that cause leaking of urine or sensations of heaviness or dragging in the perineum

What exercises can I do?

You already know there are thousands of exercises you can do at home or in the gym, but what you can do will depend on your pregnancy. Remember that every woman experiences their pregnancy differently and you may even have different experiences for each of your pregnancies, so having the right expert help you with the right exercise program and technique is very important to yield health improvements without overstressing the body.

Accredited exercise physiologists (AEP) are university-trained exercise professionals who understand the physiological system’s responses to exercise. If you are pregnant and want to exercise, chat to the AEP at Boundless Health & Wellness who has completed additional pre- and post-natal exercise training and keeps on top of the latest research.

Now, we always like to include a good cause for our readers to contribute to. On the topic of pregnancy, Boundless truly believes that children are the world’s future and so many around the world may not receive that opportunity due to poverty. Compassion Australia offers so many ways to help one child, one family and one community at a time. Let’s build a community together and give back!

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