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Exercise during pregnancy: how to safely stay active

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Exercising during pregnancy has loads of benefits, but mothers-to-be often shy away from exercise for fear they’ll do harm, or they simply don't know where to start. Larissa Cuff, our maternal physical activity coordinator, talks about what to consider and ways to get active when you’re pregnant.

There are loads of benefits to being active while pregnant, but often these benefits are overshadowed by misinformation or a general anxiety that exercise can do harm during a pregnancy. In reality, though, being active helps both you and your baby, and can help prepare your body for birth.

With the launch of a new Aqua Mums class at Rotorua Aquatic Centre, now’s a great time to talk about why being active during pregnancy can be a good thing for you and bubs. The below information is sourced from the Ministry of Health, Health Navigator New Zealand and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Aqua bubs_01 web

The first step: consult your doctor or midwife

It’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor or midwife to discuss any new activities you plan to do and make sure the exercise is good for you and your baby.

There’s a few important things to consider:

  • Avoid contact sports
  • Don’t exercise in extremely hot conditions
  • Never exercise to the point of exhaustion
  • Avoid heavy lifting and activities that involve straining or holding your breath
  • Walking lunges are best avoided as they can cause injury to the pelvic connective tissue
  • After the first trimester don’t perform exercises while lying flat on your back.

Further information:

The benefits

Aqua bubs_03 web

The Ministry of Health notes that being active for just 30 minutes a day can help strengthen your heart and lungs and give you the energy and strength needed during labour. There’s also loads of other benefits including:

  • An improved posture which can reduce lower back ache
  • Improved circulation which can help prevent varicose veins
  • Some relief from ailments such as leg cramps, constipation, high blood pressure, fatigue and bloating
  • Increased muscle strength to get you ready for carrying bubs and the baby equipment
  • Combined with a healthy and nutritious diet, there are lifelong benefits of regular exercise such as a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease
  • One of the biggest benefits of being active is psychological wellbeing. Exercise makes us feel better, and if you’re part of a group class there’s also the added bonus of socialising with other women who understand what it’s like to be pregnant.

Getting started

You’re more likely to stay active if you choose an activity you enjoy and that matches your level of fitness. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have never exercised before. Some good options include going for a walk, swim or aqua jog.

Aqua exercises can be a great option because the water helps support your weight and there’s less impact on joints.

New Aqua Mums class in Rotorua

Every Thursday from May 9, Rotorua Aquatic Centre will be running an Aqua Mums class from 12 to 12:45pm. The full bodied workout in deep or shallow water is suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers alike, and aims to meet the needs of pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy.

Sign up by completing the below form, or feel free to contact me to register.

Register for Aqua Mums at Rotorua Aquatic Centre

Larissa Cuff

GRx Advisor (WBOP)

larissac@sportbop.co.nz

021 165 2426

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