Advanced search

Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

Exercise while pregnant

(31 Posts)
needaholidaynow Thu 17-Jul-14 19:57:37

Can I do any exercise while pregnant? I feel like a frumpy mess at the moment. Bloated, gained weight, clothes feel tighter but it isn't bump weight.
I've not been eating very well these pad few weeks, only what I my stomach can manage. This has mainly been carbs such as bread, crisps, cakes etc.. And very little fruit and veg. I've now started eating a healthy diet like I did ore pregnancy with plenty of nutrients, and I want to lose this bit of weight I have gained in the past couple of months.
My DP has that Insanity workout o DVD. Am I safe to DP things like that or is it too strenuous? I do a lot of walking but don't go to the gym as I never get the opportunity. Obviously I know I'm not going to have a flat tummy for quite a few months to come and I will naturally gain weight as I am pregnant, but I want to still feel healthy and not gain weight through my unhealthy eating these past few weeks. I don't mind having a bump, I just don't want to gain too much fat.

Any thoughts? What exercise have you done during pregnancy?

mssleepyhead Thu 17-Jul-14 20:02:47

Cycling daily and swimming sometimes - both brilliant : )

needaholidaynow Thu 17-Jul-14 20:08:07

Ooh swimming! As for cycling I don't have a bike, but wha about a spooning class? Things like that I just need to plan around DP being off or finding a babysitter as I don't get many opportunities to do stuff like that because of the kids.

needaholidaynow Thu 17-Jul-14 20:09:14

Spinning! Spinning class! Not spooning class! Damn you iPhone.

Bigbouncingbaby Thu 17-Jul-14 20:09:52

I ran with DD1 until 36 weeks and DS 20 weeks then I just did walking on my treadmill . I have run for years though. Swimming is fantastic when your pregnant / walking etc

Bigbouncingbaby Thu 17-Jul-14 20:10:19

Spooning class sounds fun !!,

Happy36 Thu 17-Jul-14 20:10:23

It's your heartrate you need to keep an eye on. Look online and I'm sure you can find a guide to what the maximum heartrate thresholds should be at each stage of pregnancy.

Your heartrate when exercising depends on your level of fitness. Certainly you can walk and swim when pregnant and you should be able to walk fast/power walk. For most people with a good level of aerobic fitness you can jog (outside or on a running machine) or if you go to a gym use machines like the elliptical strider or exercise bike (if it's confortable).

Your local gym may have aerobic type classes for pregnant women or low impact classes that you can join in, also aqua aerobics, or home exercise DVDs (I'd say just do the aerobic parts, perhaps just the warm-up and cool down sections - listen to your body).

I would recommend speaking to your doctor before attempting anything more than walking or swimming.

idahobeachhouse Thu 17-Jul-14 20:13:42

It's about how much exercise your body is used to. If you're Paula Radcliffe then running fast 10ks is fine. If you're a couch potato then gentle walking's better. You shouldn't increase the amount of exercise you take when you get pregnant, but you shouldn't decrease it either.

FWIW I swapped cycling for Maternally Fit classes (google them) and swimming. Loved both. Swimming in particular was bliss.

jessplussomeonenew Thu 17-Jul-14 20:13:57

I think Insanity is way too intense (it's hard going even when fit and not pregnant!) but there is lots you can do. If you've been active before pregnancy, keep doing that as long as it feels comfortable and isn't putting you at risk of falling. If you've not done much up to now, check with the midwife and build up gently with low impact exercise. Swimming is great as it's very low impact, supports your weight but also lets you work at a level that gets you a little bit out of breath - if you couldn't hold a conversation you're probably doing too much! Most important is to find something you enjoy so it's easier to keep going. Good luck!

idahobeachhouse Thu 17-Jul-14 20:16:39

Sorry, me again.

What you don't want to do are things that stretch your ligaments. All that relaxin hormone running about your body makes you extra bendy and that can lead to injury. Doesn't mean you can't do yoga, but does mean that you need a good teacher.

People always recommend pregnancy yoga and aquaerobics. I found them irritating and pointless and would much rather go for a proper swim. YMMV, but pregnancy in itself isn't an illness and if you're lucky enough not to have side-effects then it's surprising how much you can do.

woodlandwanderwoman Thu 17-Jul-14 20:22:20

I'm no professional in this area and am sure someone will come along who is, but exercised hard all the way through my last pregnancy and hope to through this one. I'm thinking about the same questions because despite the exercise last time, I still put on 3.5 stone, I'm pretty sure it was mostly in biscuits!

There are lots of resources online. The general advice is that it's recommended to continue exercise you were previously doing (that is safe in pregnancy). Things like walking, swimming, cross training, jogging (until it becomes uncomfortable / there is a risk of fall) are all ok. You can also get lots of pregnancy specific aids online like yoga and Pilates DVDs.

Amongst probably plenty more things, it's not recommended to (rigorously) start any exercise that your body is not already familiar with, do exercises that make you hold your breath (valsalva), or lift any kind of weight above your head.

I am having a few PT sessions to try to answer the same questions and the PT has been telling me about the importance of exercising smarter, not longer. This should hopefully result in longer period of increased metabolism after exercise meaning your body continues to burn calories after you have finished. He is also going to give me some plans I can do at home, because like you my time is quite limited.

I have also asked him to help me to plan a weight management chart, working out what a healthy weight gain is over the period of the pregnancy and how this can be spread across weeks / months.

I would say the best thing that you can do is try to be reasonably aware of what you're eating but don't deprive yourself / the baby, and stay as active as you can for as long as you can. Even things like running up and down the stairs or leaving ten mins later than usual to walk to nursery drop off (meaning you have to go faster!) can help.

If you can invest in a couple of sessions with a PT (lots of places have offers on, shop around, maybe as a birthday present or something?) they can help to tailor something to your own ability, needs and preferences that would also be the safest choice for you and baby.

Good luck

museumum Thu 17-Jul-14 20:23:54

I ran till 11 weeks then cycled right till the end. Spinning would be fine - just don't get overheated, I assume the spin studio is air conditioned??

woodlandwanderwoman Thu 17-Jul-14 20:25:18

PS can I sign up to the spooning class too??

JennyBlueWren Thu 17-Jul-14 20:28:30

The general rule is to keep up exercise you are already doing but if not doing any exercise then try to do something like walking everyday.

I've kept up with my cycling and walking but especially in this heat I get tired quicker and need to take more water with me. Also good excuse for why I'm slower than DH!

needaholidaynow Thu 17-Jul-14 20:31:26

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions smile idahobeachhouse that's exactly my thoughts too- pregnancy isn't an illness and I don't want to feel like it is. At the moment I feel restricted and restrained and I hate it. M pregnancy is low risk.

Anyway I am still going to go an see my GP and get some advice from them. smile They will probably say what you have all said to me!

needaholidaynow Thu 17-Jul-14 20:34:51

Spooning class is very popular so get in there quick to avoid disappointment!

Missingcaffeine Thu 17-Jul-14 22:17:43

A personal trainer friend of mine told me this:

Exercises you should avoid include: 1) Any isometric exercises (where you hold a position like a plank) as BP can increase too much. You could do little spouts of this instead like 8 reps of 5s holds as long as you BP is normal and not high. 2) Too much jumping, hopping etc . . . 3) No contact sports 4) No training at altitude (incase you were thinking of skiing)

other things to know and consider: 1) Be careful doing too many exercises with a weight above your head (due to increasing BP again. 2) Ensure to take plenty of water breaks and don't train in a hot environment 3) Just be careful lying on your back after 16 weeks as sometimes the weight of the baby can press on a blood vessel and make you feel faint.

Exercises to do include: 1) Pelvic floor exercises. Good ways of doing these are simple 'squeezes' when sitting (a good one at work), dead bugs, and wide stance bodyweight squats (as basically the pelvic floor holds everything in so if you have a wide stance and squat it HAS to work)

As for running - it's simply down to how you feel. If possible wear a HR monitor or at least check your HR every 15mins and try to keep it under 140bpm so it might simply mean that you jog slower than usual and / or for less.

Just ensure to do some strengthening exercises of the core if nothing else as when you get bigger the arch in your lower back increases and can causes back ache - a strong core will help this.

And lastly just be careful when stretching as your levels of relaxin in your body increase so you can sometimes take the muscles further than is safe so just go to the first point of resistance in stretching - no further.

Missingcaffeine Thu 17-Jul-14 22:19:57

Basically, you can do anything you feel comfortable with as long as you follow these rules above.
I ran till 26 weeks, now I walk a lot - at a good pace. I do some simple exercises like squats and my pelvic floors. I do yoga to, but more for relaxation and stretching than aerobic.

Cariad007 Fri 18-Jul-14 12:08:35

If you already exercise then you will be fine. I have always done a lot of gym classes and I kept up with it pretty much right to the end. I think keeping fit contributes to my very straightforward birth, and I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes within a fortnight.

Heatherbell1978 Fri 18-Jul-14 12:35:15

I think just do what you feel like. I've always been pretty active and in good shape - before pregnancy I did bikram yoga (loved it!), kettle bell classes and loads of walking. For the first 13 wks I couldn't be bothered doing anything and after that, pregnancy yoga and lots of walking. I'm 36 wks now and tiring a bit but that's kept me in pretty good shape. Can't wait to get back to bikram though!

jessplussomeonenew Fri 18-Jul-14 12:39:01

To answer your question about what others have done, I carried on playing tennis up until 31 weeks (I had been playing regularly before pregnancy). I stopped because the weather was getting far too hot and being that active left me with no energy during the rest of the day). I have now switched to pregnancy yoga and swimming. I also try to walk, take stairs etc as much as I can. I cycle occasionally but take it easy and stay on quiet roads/paths.

Oh, and try not to worry about diet in early pregnancy - if you're having nausea/vomiting just have whatever stays down - I found it was much easier to eat a healthy diet in the second trimester!

RevoltingPeasant Fri 18-Jul-14 13:12:17

OP I'm the same. I was just getting back into fitness when I got my bfp.

I've reluctantly decided not to cycle to work anymore as the commute has big hills (increased HR) and lots of traffic. I can't do aerobics as it's too intense (I get contraction-style cramps during, and these terrify me).

I find I am too nauseous to do anything much beyond walking but I'm hoping the sickness will go soon and then I plan to do swimming (which I did regularly before) and take up gentle use of xtrainer or exercise bike at gym.

I know exactly what you mean about feeling cooped and frumpy though. No blooming here!!!

Tallblue Fri 18-Jul-14 14:43:51

I am 33 weeks and have found aqua natal classes really helpful, it feels good to be doing some exercise and somehow I always seem to sleep better on the evenings I have been to a class. It's good to feel weightless in the water, even if only for an hour!

HazleNutt Fri 18-Jul-14 14:44:16

I did pretty much everything, pretty much til the end. Running got uncomfortable around 7 months, bodycombat around 8 months, but was still doing bodypump at 9 months.

As for the heart rate, if you google you will indeed find tons of articles that you should not let it go over 140. The trouble with this is that the number is totally arbitrary and the guy who first suggested it as a guideline has since revised his opinion. There is no medical research behind this number. See here:

In 1985, Artal said, he and other doctors suggested guidelines to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to have pregnant women keep their heart rate below 140 beats per minute during exercise.
Artal said that, in 1985, he and another doctor used intuition and calculation to determine the 140 beats rule. Six months later, when actual testing of women in a lab proved them wrong, Artal said he asked for the 140 beats notation to be stricken from the guidelines.
"For some reason, people caught onto that and they never let go," he said. "Each time I get asked about it, I said forget about it. I think it should be ignored."

caravela Fri 18-Jul-14 16:15:23

My GP was very positive about carrying on with any exercise that you are used to, as long as it's not a contact sport or diving. And I have found I felt so much better (and slept better) when I'd managed to do some exercise. I carried on running throughout the first trimester partly because I had already signed up for 10k run with friends which was to take place when I was 14 weeks (I probably would have worried about doing this if I hadn't already done several in the past, and I thought about just pulling out, but up to that point I was still really enjoying going running and would have missed it. In the end it wasn't a problem and I just took it nice and slow. After that I stopped running, because I started to find that as my bump became bigger the bouncing around got uncomfortable.

I'm now 24 weeks and still going to yoga (not a special pregnancy class, just a regular class, but the instructor is very switched on and tells me if there are modifications I should make) and other low-impact exercise classes, and doing stuff like cross-trainer in the gym. I find walking is fine as long as it's not up steep hills, because then I get breathless very quickly, and swimming is great. I'm hoping to carry on with the classes as long as possible, and the swimming right up to the end if I can. One of the instructors in my gym recommended Tai Chi in the later stages of pregnancy as well.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now