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Exercise during Pregnancy

By Holly Brasher

International guidelines all concur with the view that walking, jogging, cycling and swimming (at moderate intensity), muscle strengthening exercises (including pelvic floor exercises), water based exercise, and pregnancy-specific exercise classes are both safe and beneficial for pregnant women.

If you have never been physically active – it’s also suggested that now would be a great time to start.

So what is actually recommended?

Exercise during pregnancy for previously inactive women

Pregnant women who were inactive prior to pregnancy should be encouraged to be active during pregnancy, commencing with low intensity activities such as walking or swimming, and progressing to the lower end of the range recommended (i.e. 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity on most days). Activity can initially be accumulated in short (say 15 minute) bouts, building towards bouts of longer duration. Pregnant women who were inactive prior to conception are advised to consult a health care provider before commencing physical activity/exercise.

Exercise during pregnancy for previously active women

For healthy pregnant women who participated in physical activity/exercise prior to pregnancy, and are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy, physical activity/exercise can be continued throughout pregnancy, or until such time that it becomes uncomfortable to do so.

A typical ‘prescription’ for a moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity/exercise program that can be continued during healthy pregnancies (free of medical and/or obstetric complications) is as such:

Aerobic activities:

Frequency: Daily.
Intensity: Intensity (12-14 on Borg rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE) – perceived as somewhat hard, can talk but not sing).
Time: Accumulate 150-300 mins (30-60 mins on most, if not all, days each week. Longer duration (closer to 300 minutes, instead of 150 minutes/week) is associated with more benefits i.e. reduced risk of excess weight gain and gestational diabetes.
Type: Brisk walking/running/jogging, cycling (stationary bike), swimming, aerobics etc.
As a general rule of thumb, count each minute of vigorous intensity exercise as two minutes of moderate intensity exercise (i.e. 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise equates with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise).

Muscle strengthening exercise:

Frequency: 2 sessions per week.
Intensity: Sub-maximal intensity using own body weight, light weights and/or resistance bands (exhale on effort).
Type: Work all large muscle groups
Programming: 1 set of 12-15 repetitions of up to 8-10 exercises.
Please note: It is important that all pregnant women (inactive, active, sportswomen and athletes) consult with their health care providers (which could include a GP, obstetrician, or midwife) about physical activity/exercise during their pregnancy. A list of activities/situations which should be avoided can be supplied if required.

Our Pregnancy Pilates program at SquareOne develops individualised programs for each of our clients based on their bodies needs. Our pregnant ladies can therefore access our entire timetable of classes to ensure you can fit in this important part of preparing for your baby. Our classes are suitable for those who are newly pregnant through to 40 weeks.

Book your assessment online or phone 9968 3424.

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