Pregnancy can be such an amazing and special time for you and your loved ones, but at the same time it can also be scary time with lots of mixed messages about what to do and not to do. One of the areas of mixed messages is around pre-natal/ pregnancy exercise, so here’s a 3min read from our OHL Women’s and Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Kirsty Tindal to expel the myths and keep you focused on scientific benefits of consistent exercise in pregnancy.
Everyone knows the benefits of exercise for non-pregnant people includes mental health wins, muscle strength gains, improved cardiovascular fitness, pain relief and furthering your flexibility… So why do we think these benefits go away or alter when we are pregnant? Here’s the scientific scoop- they do not change, and instead you actually see more benefits compared to the non-pregnant population! Exercising while you are pregnant improves cardiovascular fitness which may shorten labour, assists in maintaining a healthy weight, and may assist with a faster post-natal recovery. There has also been evidence to show it also reduces the incidence of stress, anxiety and depression, gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced high blood pressure, pregnancy aches and pains, abdominal muscle separation, incontinence and pre-term labour… So Many Benefits!!
However, if any these issues do arise in your pregnancy our collaborative healthcare team can help you with answers, which may not be completely stopping exercise. We have Myotherapy to help with pain relief strategies and Dietetics to manage your blood pressure and diabetes, as well as our experienced Physiotherapy team!
So Womens and Pelvic Health Physio Kirsty, what type of exercise is best? The answer to that question is going to be very individual and depend on your fitness and activity level pre pregnancy. High impact/ competitive sports are often advised to be stopped or modified after the first trimester but there is lots you can still do in local gyms, at home, at bootcamps and/or in pilates studios as discussed in a Physiotherapy consultation. Pilates-style exercise is another awesome option and we provide this service at the Optimal Health Lab. Our Group Physio class experience at OHL sees you in our onsite Strength Lab getting an individualised program to fit your needs and exercise goals while pregnant. The class is facilitated and supervised by one of our expert physiotherapists and is perfect during pregnancy as we can adapt and modify the program as your body changes throughout the pregnancy each class.
If you are unsure about what you can do in your pregnancy right now, or know someone feeling a little lost in their pregnancy exercise life, please reach out today. We can provide guidance and support to ultimately keep you fit and strong during pregnancy (and after the birth of your baby), because we know now there are too many benefits to simply avoid exercise entirely!
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