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Can I Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercise is encouraged and recommended during pregnancy.

How can exercise be helpful in pregnancy?

#1 - Exercise helps women to adjust to the physical changes that occur in pregnancy.

#2 - Exercise improves muscle tone, strength and endurance. This helps a mother cope with the weight gained in pregnancy. It also prepares the mother for the physical demands and challenges of labour.

#3 - Exercise helps to raise energy levels, relieve tiredness and lower back pain.

#4 - Exercise may reduce varicose veins and relieve swelling of the feet and ankles.

#5 - Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy benefit from improvement in blood sugar control when they exercise.

What should I look out for when planning to exercise during pregnancy?

  • If you have never been active before, start gradually and do not over-exert.

  • If you have already been exercising before getting pregnant, you can do most of the exercises you like but do not over-exert.

  • Be sensible when you exercise during pregnancy: keep well-hydrated, do proper warm-ups and cool-downs, do not over-exert and recognise your limits

  • Do not bump the bump - avoid contact sports that may increase the risk of being hit in the tummy. Take special care with activities where you might lose your balance or fall.

  • Avoid lying completely flat on your back especially if you are at least four months pregnant.

  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Remember that every activity and every minute of activity counts!

Recommended exercises in pregnancy include low-impact aerobic activities such as swimming, brisk walking, aqua aerobics and dancing. Strength conditioning exercises such as yoga or pilates may also be performed but avoid lying completely flat — inform your instructor that you are pregnant so that necessary modifications can be made.

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