A guide on safe and healthy exercise during pregnancy

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Tips for getting active during this exciting time

Pregnancy is an exciting time as a family prepares for its new addition and there’s a lot of focus on the health of mom-to-be with a main area of focus being exercise. Should she do it? Is it safe? Could it benefit her pregnancy? The short answer to all three questions is “Yes,” but that comes with a few caveats.

The most important (and obvious) is that if you’re pregnant and considering exercising you have to consult your doctor – they know your medical status and will be able to monitor your and your baby’s health accordingly.

For the most part, exercise during pregnancy is recommended because it can help you to manage back pain, and improve your muscle tone and balance. Both of these aspects will be really helpful as your center of gravity changes.

If you have a “low risk” pregnancy – not facing any medical complications – 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise about four times a week should be sufficient. Not sure if your workout is moderate? Try to hold a conversation while exercising. If it’s impossible to speak, you need to tone down the intensity.

With all the available workouts out there, which one is right for you?

Generally speaking, low impact is the best way to go. Walking is the simplest and easiest way to exercise, particularly if you weren’t active pre-pregnancy. It’s easy to monitor your breathing and your risk of losing your balance and falling is low.

Swimming and water aerobics are both great options many reasons – your body is supported at all times, overheating is unlikely, and it’s great for cardiovascular health. Since it is such a popular option, you’ll have the added advantage of being likely to find a class geared towards pregnant women.

Cycling on a stationary bike is another great way to boost your heart rate and improve muscle tone in your legs. Stationary bikes are a safer option as keeping your balance as your pregnancy develops can become more difficult.

Prenatal yoga offers amazing benefits to expectant mothers. You’ll be encouraged to breathe correctly while moving gently through a sequence of poses. This activity will help improve your strength, flexibility and balance, and more challenging postures can be adapted with the use of props to accommodate you.

Most yoga classes should be appropriate and if this is something you want to try, it’s a good idea to look for a class with an instructor who has been trained in prenatal yoga. One class to avoid is hot yoga because your body temperature could rise too quickly.

In the same vein Pilates is also a great option for similar reasons as yoga, but again it is essential to find the right class with an instructor who is qualified to teach pregnant students. Both yoga and Pilates offer the added benefit of encouraging students to practice mindfulness which has the added benefit of improving mental health and reducing stress.

Pregnancy is an exciting time for a family and exercise can help to maintain your health throughout each trimester as you prepare for labour. Once you get the go ahead from your doctor, once you find the right workout for you, it’s a perfect opportunity to help connecting with your body and your baby as you enjoy the journey to motherhood.

Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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