Pregnancy & fitness
This month our Weekend fitness columnist explains how
important visits to the pool have become to her exercise regime
as she enters the third trimester of her pregnancy.
'Swimming throughout pregnancy offers a wonderful feeling of weightlessness. As the months pass, you feel heavier by the day, but being in water gives that floating, light-as-air feeling that soothes and relieves the body, counteracts increased back strain and stretches the legs from the growing bump. It’s non-impact, gentle and relaxing.
From personal experience, I’d confidently say I find it has been the most enjoyable and rewarding form of exercise since I found out I was expecting. It’s comforting to know that it’s safe throughout pregnancy, and you don’t need to adapt and change too much (unlike most other sports). It’s so good for you that you could swim every day – as long as you don’t overexert yourself – right up until the end of the third trimester. As with other forms of exercise it boosts oxygen levels and strengthens the heart, enabling you to get more nutrients to your unborn child to help them grow. It’s also one of the most therapeutic ways to work out, particularly when you become less mobile, and it helps prevent your shoulders rounding forwards – a common symptom as your belly expands. It can also offset the tendency for your pelvis to be out of alignment.
As the summer weather contributes to feelings of bloating and swelling, swimming will keep your body cooler while exercising, something that is a relief in pregnancy, preventing swelling in the arms and legs. But even in the cooler months, temporarily joining a local pool can be worth the investment. If this is the only exercise you do during pregnancy, you’re onto a good thing!'
Benefits: Works pelvic floor muscles and inner thighs.
In a seated position, place a rm cushion or Pilates ball between your knees. Engage your pelvic Floor muscles, squeeze your knees together and hold for ve seconds – squeezing as hard as you can
Arm rotation with band
(Reps: 20 each side)
Benefits: Works your core, shoulders and upper back.
Tie a resistance band around a secure object at approximately hip height. Stand facing away from the band holding it FIrmly in your left hand. With the opposite foot placed one step forward and bent, rotate your arm through 360° in circular motions. Ensure that you always keep tension in the band. Start slowly, then increase the speed. Change hands after 20 reps.
Double arm band pull
Benefits: Works your core, shoulders, upper back and improves posture.
Tie a resistance band around a secure object, at approximately waist height and hold onto each handle rmly. Starting with your arms straight out in front of you, pull the band upwards and back until your hands are in line with your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower the band back to its starting point.
Seated upper back rows
Benefits: Works your core, upper back and shoulders and improves posture.
Sit upright on a Swiss ball, with your shoulders back and feet at on the oor. With your back straight and core engaged, hold your dumbbells straight out in front of you. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly bring your arms towards you, bringing the weights to either side of your chest. Slowly return to the starting position.
Warm up and cool down.
Gently raise the heart rate
at the start and slow
down gradually to finish.
exercise is the aim
Take care with
breast stroke during
aerobic and strength
routines to maintain
your overall fitness
Listen to your body and stop
right away if you have
discomfort or concerns, and
speak to your healthcare team