Being active during pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, being active can make you and your baby feel good. If you’re not active now, try adding some activity to your daily routine where you can, and don’t worry there are lots of activities that are safe for you to do during pregnancy. These can involve exercising at home, in a swimming pool, by yourself or with a group; whichever makes you feel most comfortable.
Why is being active good for me and my baby?
Being more active is good for you, and what’s good for you is good for your baby. So if you’re active during pregnancy you’ll enjoy all the usual benefits of being active and so will your baby.
Being more active is good for your baby because the more active you are, the more blood is pumped around your body. As a result your baby will be given more oxygen which is vital to healthy development.
Is it safe for me to be active?
Regular activity whilst pregnant is really good for mums-to-be, and their babies. In most cases being active is perfectly safe, if you stick to light to moderate activities you should be fine though if you have any complications with your pregnancy, ask your midwife if there’s anything you should avoid.
In fact, mums-to-be who are active during pregnancy are less likely to have problems in later pregnancy and during labour.
Even if you’ve never been active before, now is the perfect time to start. Both you and your baby will really benefit from being active. You don’t need to start training like an athlete, you just need to do something that gets your heart beating a bit faster and gets you breathing a bit harder.
Here’s some tips to help you stay safe whilst being active:
- Always warm up before doing an activity, and cool down afterwards
- Avoid doing strenuous activities in hot weather
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
- If you go to a class, make sure your teacher is properly qualified and tell them before you start that you’re pregnant as well as how many weeks pregnant you are.
- Avoid activities that have a risk of falling, especially horse riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics and cycling. These should only be done with caution as falls may risk damage to the baby
How will it help my baby?
As you a mum-to-be you’ll want to do everything you can to give your baby the best possible start in life. Being more active can really help your baby to develop and be born healthier.
Here are just a few of the ways being more active can benefit your baby:
- It helps them develop a healthier heart
- It reduces the chance of them being overweight at birth and in later life
- It provides extra oxygen whilst in the womb, which helps your baby grow
How will it help me?
It’s not all about your baby though. For mums-to-be being active is a great way to ease the strain of pregnancy before and after birth.
Here are a just a few ways that being more active can help you during pregnancy:
- It can give you more energy for everyday life
- It helps to prepare your body for birth
- You’ll be less likely to have problems during pregnancy and labour
- You’ll be less likely to gain extra weight during pregnancy
- It can help you sleep better
- It’s a great way to reduce stress
- It can help reduce your risk of swollen ankles and varicose veins.
What activities can I do?
There are lots of activities that you can do during pregnancy, you just need to be sensible, stick to low to moderate activities and avoid contact sports. Going for a walk every day is one of the best ways to boost your mood and manage your weight throughout pregnancy.
Walking, swimming, pregnancy, yoga… dancing round your living room, whatever you do, being more active is good for you and your baby. There are lots of different activities that you can get involved with, visit our activities section for some great suggestions, or for some activities that can easily fit around your life visit the 10-minute activities section.
Are there any activities specifically for mums-to-be?
If you live in Liverpool, there are classes around that are just for you – such as Mamafit, which is a programme that is specially designed to help mums-to-be do activities in a friendly relaxed atmosphere with other mums. You can attend classes during pregnancy and there are also post-natal classes you can join in with after birth. These gentle classes help prepare your body for giving birth, and give you the opportunity to get out of the house, get active and meet new friends.
Pelvic floor exercises are very good for mums-to-be. These help strengthen the group of muscles that are put under stress during pregnancy. Doing these exercises can help improve bladder control before and after your baby is born, as well as help to prevent a number of other issues.
Here’s a pelvic floor exercise you can do at home:
Step 1: Sit, stand or lie in a comfortable position
Step 2: Gently squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles
Step 3: Hold this for 5-10 seconds, then relax for a few seconds
Step 4: Repeat this ten times
Step 5: For best results, do three of four sets of ten contractions every day
Step 6: Remember, this is about pulling your muscles in gently. Don’t over strain or create too much tension.
Its worth asking your midwife about classes too – they should know whats on where or can point you in the right direction locally.
How much activity can I do?
If you weren’t active before, you shouldn’t suddenly start doing lots of high-energy activities. Take it slowly to begin with. You can then work your way up to more activity at the right pace for you.
Be careful not to over-do it though. Even a small increase in activity should leave you feeling upbeat and energised. Have a chat with your midwife, health visitor or GP if you have any questions about being active during pregnancy.
Where can I find more information?
For more information and support about being active during pregnancy, contact your Midwife or GP. For more advice, click here.