Call for caution
All doctors will tell you: exercise is beneficial during pregnancy. They will also warn you: you must avoid starting a new sport (we can be very clumsy when we don’t know a sport and we can overestimate our capacities for the same reason) and avoid intense training.
The other warning concerns mothers who train regularly: your doctor must be informed to ensure that your training does not put your pregnancy at risk.
Those who play sports or practice a risky activity should probably give up on it until the baby is born. For example, biking, downhill skiing, ice skating and rollerblading could be cons-indicated during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor, they could advise you.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy
Major medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommend moderate exercises to women whose pregnancy is progressing normally. Those exercises promote a better oxygenation of the placenta and reduce the risk of swelling and varicose.
Physical activity improves sleep, digestion, gives energy, releases stress and improves blood circulation. And since pregnant women’s lungs filter 40% more oxygen, cardio exercises contribute to bringing oxygen to the lungs.
Specialists recommend exercising for 20 to 30 minutes a day divided into periods of 10 minutes each, three to four times a week.
Here are a few suggestions to get back in shape.
Prenatal exercise ball
Using an exercise ball can help reduce many discomforts of pregnancy. It trains the oblique muscles of the abdominal wall and provides good support and good posture. It also facilitates the descent of the baby and relieves back pain.
The ball allows you to make movements that you could not do otherwise.
You could even sit on your ball in front of the TV, while talking on the phone, when crafting, reading or when you are working on your computer!
However, you should choose a ball that suits your size and weight. The ball must also be burst-resistant and be able to withstand 300kg of pressure.
Several swimming pools and fitness centers offer water aerobics classes. Check your local recreation center to see if classes are offered in your area. In some places, you can even sign up for classes with your baby so you can keep exercising, even after birth.
Once in the water, the weight is gone… you float, literally and figuratively. Your joints and your back are working gently in the water. Furthermore, water allows wider movements and activates blood circulation.
Water aerobics is one of the most recommended activities for less active women who want to start training. The pool can also be a great place to meet other moms who will also be on maternity leave soon…
- Sports Montréal offers water aerobic courses for Montreal residents as well as other activities that could suit you.
- Mouvement aquatique Laval (In French)
- Local pools
Future moms who are already training in a gym can pursue their activities but they should notify the local coach that they are pregnant.
And, of course, you must be reasonable. This is no time to smash your personal best.
Training at home
This type of training is suitable for every woman who wants to move and is gifted with will power and self-discipline. The hardest part is to respect your schedule.
Look at the reviews and try to find a workout DVD that suits your needs.
You can walk about anywhere and at all times and it suits all women, active or less in shape. The only requirement is to wear good shoes.
If you walk one hour, quite fast, you could walk 5 to 6 kilometers and spend 300 to 500 calories.
And if you don't like walking alone, walking clubs are perfect for you. Contact your local community center to find out if there is one in your area.