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Exercise during pregnancy can have many benefits for the expectant mother. Women who exercise before and during pregnancy gain less weight than women who don’t exercise. Women who exercise also deliver slightly smaller babies and have a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes. Despite this, women we meet in our Dublin 4 clinic, are often worried about what kind of exercise is safe during pregnancy and whether they should be exercising at all.
For most pregnant women, exercise is safe and beneficial. ACOG guidelines suggest 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week. Generally continuing with an exercise that you enjoy and are used to is recommended. This can include walking, light jogging, swimming, low impact aerobics and yoga. Certain types of exercise should be avoided during pregnancy. This includes exercising at high altitude, deep sea scuba diving and sports with a high risk of collision.
Maintaining the strength of the muscles of the stomach and back is important during pregnancy. Pilates classes can be a great way to do this. This is a form of exercise that targets the muscles of the tummy and the back. These classes also target the pelvic floor muscles which are essential for maintaining continence. Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy we have experience of treating pregnant women for musculoskeletal injuries and having pregnant women in our Pilates classes. Exercises can be modified to ensure they are suitable for you.
If you are not physically active at present and want to start exercising during pregnancy, it may be advisable to wait until the 2nd trimester, when the pregnancy has become established. In this case, lower intensity exercise such as walking will be more suitable. Exercise may not be suitable for all women during pregnancy. Serious complications of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia, incompetent cervix or premature labour during the current pregnancy, would make exercise unsuitable.
Women should discuss exercise during pregnancy with their midwife or GP. Contact us at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy for further information on exercise during pregnancy.