Keeping fit and fabulous during pregnancy – by Lisa Sidgwick

Whether writing about school playground politics, maternity fashion or the day to day chaos of family life, Lisa is passionate about all things family.  Writing for Babyworld and Glam Family is the perfect job for this mum of three, gathering information and drawing on personal experience to help, advise and support all the mums, dads, grannies and granddads out there!

Ah, pregnancy… the perfect excuse to eat for two and put your feet up – yes?  NO!!!! Keeping fit during pregnancy will help your body to stay toned, increase your stamina during labour and means you’re more likely to keep the pounds off after the birth.

Not only does exercise help to prepare your body for the marathon that may be your birth, but it also improves your health in many ways, even reliving many pregnancy-related problems, including varicose veins, piles, constipation and backache! A brisk walk will help to improve circulation, which helps to prevent constipation, reduce swelling of the ankles and leg cramps. Gentle regular exercise will also help to strengthen muscles and the cardiovascular system, therefore making it easier to accomplish tasks with less effort. Exercise has also been shown to improve moods, reducing depression both prenatally and postnatally.

What exercise should I be doing?

Aim for 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. Consider brisk walking and walking uphill; gym machines such as the cross trainer and bike; home exercise DVDs; weight training, ante-natal yoga and Pilates classes; swimming and aquanatal classes.

Here are three good exercises you can safely do throughout your pregnancy in the comfort of your own home:

This is an abdominal exercise that keeps your core strong, that’s safe to do throughout the whole nine months. It will help to keep muscles strong for delivery, and will help prevent lower back and pelvic pain: from a standing position, place fingers on hip bones and trace them inward. Then, breathing deeply, imagine you’re wearing a belt or a tight pair of trousers and pull your tummy button back towards your spine. Don’t hold your breath – just pull in that lower part of your tum. Hold this pulling-in movement for 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Do 5-10 of these at a time throughout the day.

The Wall Push-Up. This is an effective, safe way to work the upper body to strengthen arms, chest and upper back muscles. Start by standing a couple of feet away from a wall, feet hip width apart, and then lean forward and rest hands against the wall shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower chest until your forehead reaches the wall keeping back straight. Then straighten elbows and push back to your starting position. Start with 12 repetitions, and slowly increase to 20.

Pelvic Floor Lifts. Important for everything from the delivery to preventing stress incontinence, pelvic floor exercises are often overlooked but you can so easily incorporate these into your day. The first pelvic floor exercise is to lift your pelvic floor muscles (as if you were trying to halt your urine flow) to a count of ten. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds (if you can’t hold for 10 seconds, hold for as long as possible and slowly build up to 10 seconds). Relax and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times. The second version is to lift pelvic floor muscles quickly and hold for just one second before relaxing and resting for one second. Repeat this total of 10 times. Do all the above several times a day at least.

Keep up some regular exercise throughout your pregnancy, and you may even find that you start sleeping better at night, as you’ll be getting out all of your excess energy and wearing your body out  during the day! Why not invest in a pair of Seraphine’s luxuriously soft Black Bamboo Active Maternity Leggings, and their Black Secret Support Vest which would make the perfect maternity outfit for some gentle exercise at home. And after all that exercising, why not treat yourself to a brand new maternity dress to show off your blossoming pregnancy curves!

 

 

There’s a whole host of information, support and advice available to help you throughout your pregnancy and beyond on babyworld.co.uk.  From online communities of other mums to be, to antenatal clubs, they even have their own midwife to answer your questions!  Why not take a look, with their new epoints scheme you can even earn money off baby products while you browse!!

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