If you keep fit during pregnancy you can help reduce the chance of your child suffering high blood pressure in later life. This is according to a new study from Michigan State University, supporting the NHS’s view that pregnant women should keep going with normal daily physical activity or exercise for as long as it is comfortable.
Easier said than done. Personally I found the limitations of sport in pregnancy (and the gradual expansion of bump, arms, face, backside etc) galling. So how can we maintain a healthy approach to exercise in pregnancy?
Solace is more likely to be found in strategic exercise than at the bottom of a bag of mini eggs.
Tim Weeks, ex-Olympic level athlete and trainer to the stars, is convinced that sport during pregnancy can actually make you feel more comfortable – but he also urges pregnant women to be gentle to themselves. Here are his tips for managing our approach to sport during pregnancy.
1. Keep It Simple
You want to create safe building blocks to your weekly work-out: at home you can combine cardio to keep you feeling energised, and strength work such that your bum and pelvis form a strong and safe ‘nest’ to hold your growing child.
Then you can choose how much to do according to what your body is telling you.
2. Which Means Listen To Your Body
You are growing a child. Some days you will be too tired to work out, and you need to respect that: trying to exercise late when you are mentally or physically tired is not going to help either of you.
At the same time, when you have the energy to make it round the Browns sale, but hesitate to go to pilates – well, you may want to reconsider your priorities.
3. Surprising Positives
On some other days you will feel sick, psychotic, hungry. These are all part and parcel of being pregnant. Don’t fight these feelings, or feel weak for giving into them. Roll with it, and be gentle on yourself.
It can be a bizarre indication that the baby is growing nicely!
If you don’t work out, if you forget your supplements, don’t feel guilty. Promise yourself you will make time to look after yourself, but guilt and regret are not a useful path to go down.
Equally, pregnancy is the least appropriate time to entertain any body demons. You are going to get fat. It’s OK. You can deal with it later, but right now embrace it. Just remember solace is more likely to be found in strategic exercise than at the bottom of a bag of mini eggs.
5. The Power of Music.
There is a huge connection between music and emotions. Create a bank of ‘happy’ music with positive associations (your first dance, your favourite running track, the songs that make you smile). When you can feel yourself veering off track, stick it on and let the music do the talking.
Use it to boost your mood while you walk or jog; heck you can even use it in labour.