Home' Central Canterbury News : May 15th 2013 Contents 11
CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, MAY 15, 2013
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Exercising while pregnant has benefits
By RACHAEL RICKARD,
Mountain Gym & studioFIT
Swimming: An excellent activity during pregnancy as the water supports weight.
Keeping moving: Expectant mother
at seven months in a sit-up exercise
position on an exercise ball.
Exercise and Pregnancy: Up the
duff, but keep moving
Staying active during pregnancy will
help you to maintain a healthy,
strong, toned body during and after
your pregnancy. Improving muscular
strength in preparation for carrying
your baby, the car seat and other
baby paraphernalia, as well as
maintaining (and even improving)
the heart and lung fitness needed
for labour, may reduce the length of
labour, the need for intervention
and pain relief, and help you
maintain a bit of sanity throughout
this exciting and challenging time.
If you are not used to being
physically active, start gently and
gradually build up. Regular physical
activity (at least three times a week)
is better than the occasional burst
and it's recommended not to start a
new sport during pregnancy. If you
play a sport, continue this as long as
it is considered safe for you, as the
benefits of keeping physically active
far outweigh the risks.
Please make sure you have been
cleared by your midwife, doctor, or
lead maternity caregiver (LMC)
before you start any fitness regime.
Once you have clearance, it's time
to consider what is (and is not)
possible for you during the three
Keep in mind that what is right for
you may not be the same for your
mother, friend, or sister. Be flexible
and realistic. Your ability and skill
level will change as your baby grows
and your weight redistributes.
Listen to your body, avoid
overheating and working in the high
intensity anaerobic (without oxygen)
threshold. If you're tired, boil the jug
and put your feet up.
An excellent activity during
pregnancy, it is easy on your body
because the water supports most of
your extra weight. Water should be
of average temperature.
Walking and jogging
These are good activities during
pregnancy. Even a kilometre (10
minutes) a day will ease aching legs
and sore a back, and help you
maintain physical fitness.
Take it slowly and rest as often as
you need. If you enjoy jogging,
continue as long as is comfortable
for you. Some women find it too
difficult as they get bigger.
Resistance (weight) training
If you have already been weight
training, now is not the time to
increase the load; but continued
resistance training (check with your
LMC) can bring you lots of benefits.
Modifications to posture and
positioning will be required as your
These changes will include: your
weight; biomechanical changes
around the pelvis and lumbar spine;
breast enlargement, which will tend
to round the shoulders and upper
back; increased demands on blood
flow with greater blood volume; and
an increase in resting heart rate.
During the final 12 weeks, there is
a 50 per cent increase in cardiac
output and an extra 45 per cent
increase in blood volume. Maintain a
moderate intensity, restrict the
range of motion with some
exercises, breathe and rest as you
need to. Check with an exercise
professional about exact posture
modifications for resistance training
This is a great activity during
pregnancy, as this type of exercise
can help create a balanced body and
calm mind. Listen carefully to your
body during a class or session, and
focus on yourself and your baby.
Participate at a pace and intensity
that is comfortable for you. Breathe,
relax and don't strain to achieve a
Be aware of the risks
Any physical activity programme
carries risks as well as benefits. Risks
in pregnancy can include reduced
blood supply to the baby, low blood
sugar, overheating the baby,
premature labour, dizziness or
fainting, and strains and sprains.
Remember -- the benefits of
physical activity far outweigh the
risks -- be realistic.
Some conditions may prevent you
being too active during pregnancy.
These conditions include: high
blood pressure, a history of
miscarriages, premature rupture of
the membranes, a weak cervix,
premature labour in this or previous
pregnancies, multiple pregnancy (of
twins or more), persistent bleeding
after the third month of pregnancy,
and low blood count.
Sports to avoid
Water-skiing, contact sports,
gymnastics, strenuous anaerobic
exercise like sprinting or squash.
Some sports affect the oxygen
supply to the baby, so avoid scuba
diving, high mountain climbing, or
others that involve changes in
pressure or high altitudes.
Do not begin any exercise until
you have been cleared by your
midwife, doctor or lead maternity
Sources: sparc.org.nz; Your
Pregnancy Bible by Dr Anne Deans;
Up the Duff, Kaz Cooke; lesmills.com.
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