Dr. Katie Bruni ( Osteopath in Thornbury)

Have you been avoiding the exercises you love due to being pregnant? Are you concerned that exercising may hurt your baby?

You may have been told not to exercise when pregnant. This statement is not entirely true. In most cases, exercising while pregnant can have many positive effects on the baby as well as the mother. Not exercising while pregnant can have some negative effects including:

  • poor glucose regulation for both the mother and baby
  • increasing incidence of pregnancy related musculoskeletal complaints such as low back pain and Sacroiliac pain

Evidence suggests that Exercising while pregnant can help to:

  • Maintain an optimal weight through pregnancy
  • Improve the emotional wellbeing of the mother
  • Better prepare the mother for labour
  • Lower birth weights of children in certain cases
  • Approx. 40% decrease in the risk of pre-eclampsia

The main things to remember with exercising when pregnant are

  1. Allow time for a longer warm up and cool down. These both prepare the body for exercise as well as decreasing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
  2. You can continue with most exercises you are already doing. 
    • Depending on what type of exercises you like doing, most activities can still be continued in pregnancy right up to the 3rd Trimester
    • Exceptions to the rule include any contact sports (football, soccer, martial arts) that may cause trauma/collision to the foetus
  3. Try and work at a mild to moderate level of intensity.
    •  This may involve slightly tapering back the activity you are currently doing as you progress into the third trimester. 
    • Exercise guidelines suggest pregnant individuals should aim for 30mins of moderate intensity exercise at least 3-5 days per week. 
  4. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and wear sensible clothing 
    • This is a particularly important area in the warmer weather 
    • Important to rebalance electrolytes and stay adequately hydrated to avoid spikes in blood pressure and decreases in blood glucose levels
  5. Stop if you experience any adverse effects

To Sum up, most expectant mothers should be able to continue with the same amount of exercise and type of exercise they are currently doing. Physical activity guidelines suggest exercising around 30mins for 3/5 times per week. Clinical Pilates is an excellent way to exercise when pregnant, especially as Premier Sports Medicine’s physios have hundreds of additional hours training in pilates, pregnancy and women’s health.