Get Fit for Your Baby

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Do you often feel tired and sluggish? Too heavy to left those limbs?

WORDS EIMEAR ELKINGTON

 

Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to start focusing on your health and wellness. It’s important to get fit and strong before you start even trying for a baby. Making positive changes in the months before conception also gives you the best chance of a smooth pregnancy and a strong and healthy bub.

 

Now’s the time - get your body fit for baby and beyond!

 

Preparing Your Body for Baby

Exercise is important in all stages of your life but is especially crucial in the lead up to pregnancy to get your body ready for your growing baby. Being in good physical shape is vital during the early stages of your baby’s foetal development, and a mother’s overall wellbeing has a direct correlation with her baby’s healthy growth.

 

Exercise is also crucial in helping you maintain a healthy weight, which is an important factor in conceiving. Women who are overweight or underweight have more difficulty conceiving than those within a healthy weight range (which is generally considered to be a BMI 18.5 – 24.9).0

 

 

Exercise has also been shown to improve the fertility of women suffering from

polycystic ovarian syndrome and struggling to fall pregnant.

 

 

Working on your fitness before trying to conceive can also help you feel more energetic while you’re pregnant, relieve stress and improve your stamina for labour. Being fit and healthy can also help you reclaim your pre-pregnancy body more quickly after birth, which is good news for any new mum.

 

Which Exercise is Best?

There are three things to remember for any fitness goal:

 

1. Do exercise that you enjoy

2. Make exercise a regular habit

3. Variety is the spice of life!

 

You need a range of exercise options, so environmental factors can’t get in the way – for example, if it’s raining and you can’t power walk, you could do a yoga DVD in your living room.

 

A healthy woman’s normal exercise regime should include 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three to five days per week. Although if it’s been many months since you’ve dusted off those running shoes, take it slow. Start with something easy and gentle, like 15 minutes of walking a day, and build up from there.

 

For women approaching pregnancy, it’s particularly important to strengthen your core, abdominals and lower back. Conditioning these areas of your body supports your uterus and can lessen complications like backaches and swelling. A strong core helps you be as prepared as possible for the rigours of labour too!

 

For an ideal exercise balance every week, aim for a combination of cardio, strength and flexibility workouts.

 

  • Cardiovascular exercise includes activities like power walking, jogging, cycling and swimming laps. Cardio should get your heart rate pumping and increase your endurance. If you get bored walking around the park or running on the treadmill try joining a sports team like tennis, squash or netball.

 

  • Strength training uses resistance on your body to build muscle, bone mass and tone. Carrying hand weights while you power walk and doing simple arm exercises can be a great way to incorporate strength training. You could also try pump, circuit or boxing classes at the gym, or give dance or martial arts a go.

 

  • Flexibility workouts like yoga, pilates and stretching reduce stiffness and aches and help to increase your range of motion.

 

 

It’s important to try new forms of exercise instead of the same workout day in day out –

new exercises help to work different muscle groups and prevent you from getting bored.

 

 

Group exercise is also a great way to boost fun and involvement and helps keep you motivated. Join a gym, exercise with a friend or start a sports team in your neighbourhood. Accomplishing your health and fitness goals also help you feel strong and empowered – which is a great mindset to be in as your approach pregnancy. 

 

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Thanks for sharing!