January Newsletter – Pregnancy & Exercise

Pregnancy is a time of many physical and emotional changes for women. Perhaps you are wondering whether or not you should be exercising during this time. Fortunately, there is a lot of research indicating that physical activity is not only safe but beneficial for expectant mothers. Exercise can help keep pregnancy weight gain in an acceptable range, reduce the severity of musculoskeletal pain, prevent or control gestational diabetes and reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. Exercise may also assist mothers have less complications during pregnancy and labour.

During pregnancy, ligaments and tendons throughout the body stretch, both to accommodate the growing baby and to allow the baby an easier passage out during labour. This soft tissue laxity can lead to aches and pains, particularly in the lower abdomen, pelvis and lower back and possibly increase risk of injury. That doesn’t mean women shouldn’t exercise at all. If active prior to pregnancy, women can continue exercising at the same level although sedentary women should ease into activity slowly. It is recommended that all pregnant women should avoid certain types of activity such as contact sports, heavy lifting and high level balance activities.

Pregnant women are also prone to dizziness due to the rising hormones in the body that cause the blood vessels to relax and widen. This can cause blood pressure to be lower and temporarily cause dizziness. This is one important consideration for pregnant women engaging in exercise. It is important to choose an exercise intensity that will improve health without putting them or their baby at increased risk.

Every woman and every pregnancy is different. The severity and duration of pregnancy-related symptoms will vary depending on how far along into pregnancy a woman is as well as any co-morbidities that may be present. Medical clearance from a G.P or Obstetrician is recommended when a history of miscarriage or any existing medical conditions (e.g. Diabetes) is present. For the vast majority of expectant mothers though, exercise has many benefits and is an excellent way to withstand the rigours of pregnancy.

Pilates is an excellent choice of exercise for pregnant women. Some benefits that one may see from practicing Pilates during pregnancy include:

Improved postural control
Increased core and pelvic floor strength
Reduction of lower back and or pelvic pain
Increased endurance to withstand activities of daily living

Please contact us for further information on how we may be able you.