Exercise in pregnancy has many benefits for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that regular exercise in pregnancy reduces the risk of excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes, reduces lower back and pelvic girdle pain, and has a positive effect on the mother’s mental health and sleep quality.
- Aim to accumulate up to 150 minutes of exercise over a minimum of 3 days per week. If you have not been previously active, start by exercising 15-20 minutes per day, then gradually increase the duration of exercise.
- When exercising, aim for moderate intensity. To ensure you are not exercising to strenuously, use the ‘Talk Test’ – you should still be able to continue a conversation whilst exercising.
- Participating in aerobic exercise will improve your cardiovascular fitness. These are exercises that will get your heart and breath rate up such as brisk walking, cycling on a stationary bike, dancing, hydrotherapy and water aerobics.
- Strengthening exercises using body weight, resistance bands or weights should be performed twice per week, aiming for 1-2 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
- Remember to take frequent breaks and to hydrate well when exercising. You should not experience pain while exercising. If you do, stop and let your instructor know or consult your medical practitioner.
- Postural changes in pregnancy affect your balance. Avoid physical activity with danger of falling such as rock climbing or horse riding.
- Avoid contact sport to prevent any trauma to the abdomen.
- Changes to your hormone levels may cause your ligaments to soften. Avoid vigorous bouncing and jumping activities such as trampolining, or excessive twisting activities.
- Check with your physiotherapist before attempting any abdominal strengthening exercises to make sure you are performing them correctly.
- Avoid exercising whilst lying on your back from 20 weeks onwards.
- Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and avoid high humidity environments when exercising such as hot yoga studios.
To make an appointment, call our Claremont physio clinic on (08) 9384 1555 or our Nedlands physio clinic on (08) 6389 2947.