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Exercise for Pregnant Mums

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WITH CLEARANCE FROM YOUR DOCTOR, you can stick to your regular exercise regime for at least the first trimester. Further into your pregnancy, you will need to adjust the way you exercise to accommodate your changing body. You can introduce props and apparatus, like birth balls and exercise bikes, to ensure your safety and that of your growing bump.

IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, start with five minutes per day and increase this by five minutes a w eek until you are working out for half an hour a day. Try brisk walking, jogging, or any other low-impact aerobic exercise that feels comfortable. The more you keep active before you give birth, the easier it will be to get in shape post pregnancy.

SWIMMING IS THE SAFEST EXERCISE for pregnant women because almost the entire body is supported by the water. You can target different muscle groups by practising a variety of strokes. Then, as your pregnancy progresses you can do leg flutters and leg lifts while hanging poolside, rely on kickboards for added flotation support, or simply tread water.

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PRENATAL PILATES STRENGTHENS the pelvic floor to prepare the body for birth, and it can improve body alignment and help minimise back pain. Pilates is a great way to exercise without putting undue stress on the joints, and it improves flexibility. It can also relieve common pregnancy woes like thoracic pain, ligament pain and sciatica.

DO YOUR PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES regularly – aim to complete three sets of eight to 10 squeezes each day. This will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are lengthened and weakened during pregnancy and after childbirth. Pelvic floor muscles sit between your pubic bone at the front and your tailbone at the back, they support the bladder, bowel and uterus.

GETTING BIRTH FIT is about setting yourself an achievable exercise routine, while preparing mentally and emotionally for the task ahead. A fun way to do this is to sign up for a couple of prenatal exercise classes. Not only will you get expert fitness/ wellness advice, you’ll also meet up with other mums with whom you can share experiences, hopes and fears.

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RELY ON REFLEXLOGY TO SOOTHE the aches and pains in your lower back, pelvis and joints that are taking a beating from your growing belly. Reflexology can also reduce stress, and help to restore the body’s equilibrium. Practitioners believe that regular treatments shorten the duration of labour, and result in many women requiring less pain relief.

LIFTING WEIGHTS DURING PREGNANCY can help you stay fit, and prepare your body for parenthood. When done correctly and with the appropriate weight, strength training protects your core and lower back. It helps with posture changes, and helps build or maintain endurance, something you will definitely need during labour.

PRENATAL YOGA TEACHES FORMS OF BREATH that can help alleviate heartburn and morning sickness, and help you push or control the urge to push during labour and delivery. It’s a great way to beat stress and improve your flexibility. What’s more, certain poses can shorten the birth canal up to 30% when practised during labour and delivery.

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