Pregnant women on exercise balls

How to stay fit during your pregnancy

Congratulations! Being pregnant is an exciting time, although those who are well into their third trimester can confirm that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Pregnancy can bring along some truly uncomfortable feelings as your body completely transforms and makes room for new life.

As a mother to be, we understand that you want your body to be the healthiest condition possible for your new bundle of joy, and we want that for you too. Ofcourse, consulting your doctor should always be the first step before trying any outside advice as each woman is different in what they need to stay healthy during pregnancy.

On that note, if you were a fitness junkie before you got pregnant, you may be wondering what exercises you can continue doing and what you should stop. While those who are less active may be wondering what they can start doing.

What to avoid during pregnancy

Be careful not to over stretch

The pregnancy hormone ‘relaxin’ makes the body’s connective tissues more slack. It’s main use is to prevent unnecessary contractions, helping your pelvis open up and lowering the risk of premature labor. Because of this change however, over-stretching can lead to muscle or tissue tearing.

Pro tip:The rule of thumb here is don’t ever force a stretch, if a stretch starts to feel tight, than you should stop. This still applies for about 10 weeks after your pregnancy too.

Avoid exercises with jumps and extreme sports

Some forms of training should be avoided by pregnant women altogether. These include highly active contact sports like rugby or downhill mountain biking.

Avoid squeezing your stomach and diaphragm

Skip movements that require you to bow forward a lot, such as sit ups or toe touches.

All in all, never push yourself to the point where something becomes uncomfortable. Listen to your body, if you feel any pelvic pain or strange sensations while you are performing an exercise, take a break from the activity, and tell your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, here are a few exercises you can do during your pregnancy that will help you stay fit and healthy.

Preparing for childbirth

Doing exercises that help you relax and prepare for childbirth are great place to start. Some relaxation exercises that will help your muscles prepare are deep squats and child’s pose. You can also try Seven’s Pregnancy workout specifically designed with mothers to be in mind. (Remember that before doing exercise, always consult your doctor first.)

DIY Remedies for back pain

Pregnancy can force your back to overextend as your belly grows, leading to tired and tense back muscles. To help relieve some of this discomfort, try doing a half Cat and Cow--by only doing the cat movement and coming back down into a straight back. Or, instead of regular sit-ups or crunches, you can lay on your back with bent knees and push your lower back down to the floor (5-10 times).

Strengthen your pelvic floor

Pregnancy can also put a lot of pressure and stress on the muscles around your pelvis. For a smoother recovery post-pregnancy you can train your pelvic floor from day 1 to day 280! Do this by tightening the muscles around your vagina, rectum and urinary tube for about 2 seconds, rest 2 seconds and repeat 10 times. In practice, this exercise should feel similar to when you have to hold your pee. You can do it lying down watching tv, sitting down at the office, while washing your hands or standing at the bus stop... You get the point.