With the Olympics about to start, talk in the media has turned to how it’s going to turn us into a nation of couch potatoes whilst we sit in front of the TV watching sport instead of taking part in any!
Although being pregnant can some days leave you feeling as though you’ve run a marathon, gentle exercise when pregnant is great for both your body and mind. As well as helping your body cope with the strain of pregnancy on your joints and muscles, exercise also reduces constipation, backache, fatigue, bad circulation and varicose veins.
There are some sports that should be avoided – contact sports where you could get hit in the stomach, horse riding, high impact aerobics, scuba diving, running on the road or anything that involves heights.
Walking, stretching and toning are all great when pregnant providing any classes you attend are led by a qualified instructor who is experienced in pregnancy yoga or Pilates. If you were already attending a class before you got pregnant, tell your teacher you’re pregnant so they can let you know of any parts of the lesson you should avoid. Swimming is particularly good and is great for backache in late pregnancy as the water supports your whole body. Check out the classes at your local leisure centre, most offer antenatal exercise classes.
At Emma-Jane we have a lovely maternity swimsuit and tankini, available in a choice of colours, as well as soft leggings, and our award winning maternity bras, which are supportive, stylish and above all comfortable. All in all, the perfect garments for some gentle exercise.
Last but not least, don’t forget to do those important pelvic floor exercises! Your pelvic floor is the muscle that supports your uterus, bowel and bladder. Pregnancy and childbirth puts pressure on the pelvic floor and can leave some women with stress incontinence, this is where they lose a few drops of urine when they sneeze or cough. You can tone your pelvic muscles so they maintain their strength – often called the ‘invisible exercise’ it’s when you pull in and tense your muscles as if trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 5 seconds then relax. Aim to about 10 sets of 5 exercises each day.