Exercising Throughout Pregnancy
2. Increased laxity of ligaments: This occurs especially at the pelvis to make way for the baby throughout pregnancy. Stretching is therefore not recommended as there is a risk of injury and instability at the pelvic joints. Core exercises are recommended as, when performed correctly act like a corset to stabilise the pelvis and lower back. They also give strength and support to the spine which is under increased load.
3. Increased resting heart rate: It is therefore not recommended to exercise at the same intensity as pre-natal sessions. See the Borg's Scale of Perceived Exertion Rate.
4. Changes to the Pelvic Floor: Damages to the pelvic floor occur during birth and they are weakened during pregnancy so it is very important to begin conditioning these muscle prior to becoming pregnant (pre-natally) if possible or at the start of pregnancy. They can be prescribed by a Physiotherapist and should continue right throughout and post natally.
So how much exercise is safe? Studies have indicated that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies can continue the same exercise program they followed prior to conception but should consult their doctor first.
It is also now considered safe to start an exercise program throughout pregnancy but again medical advice is recommended first. No more than three sessions of intense exercise is recommended weekly in the third trimester and moderate exercise is recommended throughout.
Health Nuts recommends Pilates throughout pregnancy as it offers fantastic exercise options which focus on developing strength within the deep stabilising muscles, maintaining alignment whilst challenging core muscles. It is a low impact, low to moderate intensity type of training and focuses on spine stability and retraining of the pelvic floor. It increases mind body awareness and connection.
Pilates also helps uses deep breathing and relaxation. Deep breathing is one of the most valuable tools for use in labour and childbirth. It enables a concentrated, rhythmic focus, allowing one to tune into the deepest natural instincts and relax into the process of labour and birth. Relaxation has a positive effect on the nervous system and therefore pain perception. Coupled with meditation it can produce a state of deep inner peace.