It’s a common myth that pregnant women should stay at home with their feet up. In fact, not only is it absolutely fine to exercise during pregnancy (unless of course your GP or midwife tell you otherwise), it’s a great way to ease any discomforts, prepare your body for birth and help you bounce back after labour.
So how much exercise should you be doing? Well, it all depends on your level of fitness, but as a rule you shouldn’t work out to the point of breathlessness or break too much of a sweat. The main thing is to listen to your body and do what feels best for you.
If you’re a regular gym goer
It’s absolutely fine to continue working out, but you’ll need to adapt your fitness routine as your pregnancy progresses and your body and energy levels change. For example, you may want to switch the running machine for the cross-trainer, and perform arm weights while seated on a fitness ball to support your lower back. It goes without saying that contact sports and any pursuits that could lead to a fall (horse riding, rock climbing etc) are not a good idea. If in doubt, speak to your fitness trainer or GP.
If you’re an exercise virgin
Now is definitely not the time to start training for the Olympics, but light exercise is fine. Walking is a good place to start, whether that’s to work or round your local park. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Swimming is another great way to stay in shape during pregnancy as the water supports your bump and takes the pressure off your back.
How much is too much?
Use your common sense and listen to your body. If you experience any of the following then stop what you’re doing straight away:
Any bleeding or leaking from your vagina
Cramps or uterine contractions