Exercise reduces C sections
What with organising your baby’s bedroom, buying a pram and attending birth classes, it’s easy to forgo exercise during pregnancy. But keeping up with a light fitness regime will do more than help keep your thighs trim – it’s been found that exercising when you’re expecting can reduce your chance of a C-section by 75 per cent, according to Helen Varney Burst, former professor at Yale University School of Nursing. Here are some pregnancy fitness tips from the experts:
Why exercise is great
Besides dramatically reducing the chance of interventions during labour, exercise during pregnancy comes with myriad health benefits. It has been shown to strengthen your body in preparation for childbirth, help reduce constipation, provide relaxation for a mum-to-be and reduce pregnancy pains.
Slow and steady
It’s not a time to start a dramatic new exercise plan, though. “It’s not about starting something new, but going into maintenance mode. Get out for a 30 minute walk each day and you’ll be doing well – especially in the first trimester,” says midwife and personal trainer Monica Rich. “We recommend walking and swimming as the best forms of exercise,” confirms Dr Robyn Napier, spokesperson for the Australian Medical Association.
Look for pregnancy classes
Join a pregnancy pilates class if you’re experiencing hip or leg pain. “The way your baby sits in your tummy can affect your joints,” says Dr Napier. “Pilates can be good, but make sure the teacher knows you’re pregnant and that the exercises are designed for pregnant women.” It’s also useful for strengthening your body post-birth, adds Monica. “The breathing aspect is important for the birth and strengthening your core will help you carry and breast-feed your baby.”
What to avoid
It’s ultra-important to steer clear of contact sports and always tell a class instructor that you’re pregnant. “We advise all pregnant women to steer clear of high-impact exercise such as aerobics, netball, basketball, gymnastics and soccer, and any gym or pilates classes should be specifically tailored towards pregnant women,” confirms Dr Napier. And, if you’re a high achiever, it’s a time to accept that you should slow your pace. “I knew a dancer who ended up doing too much, and ended up incapacitated for the rest of her pregnancy,” adds Monica.
Check with your doctor
Before starting or changing any exercise routine, be sure to check with your GP or midwife. “Any woman who falls pregnant should firstly speak to a GP about exercise, especially if they have a history of miscarriage or early labour,” says Dr Napier. “And, if you feel nauseous or dizzy during exercise, always stop and see your doctor.”
- This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best pregnancy, labour and birth resource.
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- 1. The Inconceivable Reality
- 2. Miscarriage or stillborn - the difference a day makes
- 3. Most popular Māori baby names in 2015
- 4. The sweetest and funniest pregnancy reveals
- 5. Zika virus linked to birth defects
- 6. Labour and birthing tools
- 7. Top 100 baby names of 2015
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- 9. What they didn't tell you about your body after birth
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