What exercise is safe and what is not? How much is too much? These are all questions posed by many pregnant women wanting to stay active without harming their unborn child. Experts say not only is exercise during pregnancy, wise, but it should also form a big part of your child-bearing journey.
“The benefits of exercise during pregnancy go beyond just controlling weight gain,” says Shelley Lewin, a pre- and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. “This extends to both mother and foetus. Exercising mothers experience fewer pregnancy discomforts and may also experience easier labours. Babies of exercising mothers are generally fitter and tend to show increased health and intelligence scores. Exercising while pregnant is pretty much a ‘no-brainer’ considering the benefits that you are giving to yourself and your unborn child.”
Lewin adds it’s surprising how many myths are out there. “Keeping your heart-rate below 140 bpm is a good example. Some women can comfortably increase their heart-rate above this value whilst others can’t. Other fallacies include not exercising on one’s back after the first trimester or raising one’s arms overhead, as is the notion that pregnancy is not the time to start exercising for the first time.”
The key is to listen to your body – and your doctor. “It is imperative to get medical clearance before beginning any exercise program,” Lewin cautions.