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Exercise during pregnancy – is it safe?

female yoga class with yoga balls

We live in a world that expects you to ‘Rise & Grind’, ‘Hustle Hard’ and still take time out for a 17-step skincare routine in the name of self-care.

We as a society seem to celebrate busyness, workaholics, and quick-fix coffee for the sleep-deprived.

So how does being pregnant fit in with all this?

I mean, you’re pregnant, you’re not sick, so you can just carry on as normal, right? Wrong.

If your goal is a healthier, stress-free, pain-free pregnancy, then it might be time to make some changes to your lifestyle and exercise regime.

If you’re already exercising, that’s great because our bodies are designed to move – even during pregnancy – and exercise is so important to our health and wellbeing.

Guidelines for exercise during pregnancy

The guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise during pregnancy. And yes, that includes exercise during your first trimester and third trimester!

If you’re unsure whether your usual exercise is safe or considered ‘moderate’, it’s important to speak to your teacher/coach. But remember, not all teachers are trained in prenatal-safe exercise, so ask if they have experience working with pregnant women.

It’s also important to listen to your own body and see what feels right.

Safe exercise for pregnant women

Many women turn to prenatal yoga – or start yoga during pregnancy, simply because their normal exercise regime doesn’t feel right or safe anymore. They’re looking for something that’s safe, gentle and specifically tailored to help with pregnancy aches and pains.

What if you’re not ready to give up your current exercise regime?

It’s unlikely your current exercise is going to cause harm to your baby, unless it’s something like horse-riding or rock climbing which involves a risk of falling.

But it IS possible that you’ll cause long-term damage to your own body. Your core and pelvic floor may suffer if it’s not treated with respect during pregnancy – issues like incontinence, prolapse, and separated abdominal muscles can take years (or surgery) to repair. To put it into perspective, you’re pregnant for a short period of time but may end up living with the consequences for a very long time.

And don’t be fooled by the Instagram images and videos of pregnant women lifting heavy weights and doing extreme yoga that is more like gymnastics. Just because they’re doing it, it doesn’t mean it’s safe or YOU should!

Managing stress and anxiety during pregnancy

The other consideration during pregnancy is your mental wellbeing. What are you doing to relax and release stress? Because we know that your baby feels your emotions, and pregnancy is often a time of BIG emotions and big changes. Perhaps you’re moving house, negotiating maternity leave, or simply dealing with all the changes to your body.

Yoga is a holistic form of exercise that incorporates breathing and relaxation techniques for that mind-body connection. It will help you sleep better and deal with everyday stresses and anxiety.

A time to slow down

During pregnancy, you need to slow down, listen to your body, and say a big fat NO to hustle-culture.

If you’re ready to make your well-being a priority, check out pregnancy yoga classes at Mother Nurture Yoga

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