I often get asked how much and what exercise is best during pregnancy and while there is not set amount and it is completely dependent on each person as each pregnancy is unique there are some guidelines for exercising during pregnancy.
Weekly a breakdown should be something as follows:
Cardio – 5-6 days x 30mins (If you have not been doing this then gradually increasing from 3 is a good approach). 150 mins of moderate exercise a week is recommended during pregnancy.
Strength – Twice per week or 3 times maximum. Using body weight and light weights. Keeping it closed chain; extremities secured to floor. Ie Squats etc. Avoid breath holding.
Flexibility – Add on to each session but caution should be adopted and these stretches should be very comfortable.
Pelvic Floor – Daily, find a cue ie text message and practice doing some contractions. Alternated between fast contractions to longer holds of up to 30s for endurance but be very mindful to breath throughout and never hold the breath.
Things you need to Keep in Mind:
– Reduce risk of falls – Make sure you warm up and cool down – Comfortable intensity – Prevent overheating – Avoid heavy lifting – Avoid overhead if neutral spine cannot be maintained – Avoid lying on back after 16 weeks – Avoid abdominal exercises if you have ab separation – Avoid breath holding – Include core stability, pelvic floor and labour specific exercises into the program – Stretching should be slow controlled and within comfortable ROM – Ensure adequate hydration.
When you should not exercise
– Pre-eclampsia – Premature rupture of the membranes, an incompetent cervix – Placenta previa – Persistent 2nd, 3rd trimester bleeding – Uncontrolled diabetes – Breech position in 3rd trimester