The two best reasons to exercise during pregnancy

The two best reasons to exercise during pregnancy

Whether you like to spend your Friday nights at the gym or on the couch binging on Netflix, exercising during pregnancy is important for you and your baby.

If exercise hasn’t been part of your life before becoming pregnant, Obstetrician Dr Vicki Woodward says there are two good reasons to start. 

“One is, we’re going to become a role model for a child in the future, so we want this to be part of our lifestyle and become a habit, and secondly it’s going to help your body cope with the demands of pregnancy,” she says.

But that doesn’t mean going from nothing to running a marathon while you’re pregnant.

“Start with some gentle stretching exercises, gentle low-impact cardio – swimming or some walking – just to establish a base level of fitness,” she says.

“This is partly for labour, which is where a woman’s focus is during pregnancy, but also just to cope with the rigours of a changing body shape and to maintain sensible weight gain.”

Dr Woodward added if you were already pounding the pavement or hitting the gym before becoming pregnant, then keep it up: “It’s about maintaining your base level of fitness but it’s also important for your mental health.

“For women who exercise regularly, it often becomes a really integral part of staying sane with a busy lifestyle - it’s a great outlet.

“So continuing that is really important as well as maintaining that base level of fitness so you can come back to exercise afterwards, and also cope with the rigours of labour and a changing body shape.” 

Dr Vicki Woodward is a Melbourne Obstetrician, keen runner and mother of three.

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