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The advantages of exercise during pregnancy

The advantages of exercise during pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you do not only exercise for yourself. But also your baby has a great advantage with this. But, what are you and aren’t you able to do?

Exercise during your pregnancy  

If you are pregnant, you do not only exercise for yourself. But also your baby has a great advantage with this. But, what are you and aren’t you able to do? Fitness expert, Esther van Diepen, will discuss the do’s and don’ts for exercise during your pregnancy and give you some really useful tips!


During the next nine months, your body will be all about growing a healthy baby! This demands massive amounts of energy, focus, discipline, perseverance and a strong body. Being pregnant is a top-league sport for which you can definitely use extra energy. Exercise and healthy nutrition can make a huge difference in how you will feel over the coming months.


Exercise during pregnancy

Staying active will help you to maintain your physical health at pre-pregnancy level for the coming nine months. Exercise on a regular base increases the maximum amount of energy a woman can generate and the amount of oxygen she can use per minute. When pregnant, physical strain does not have any risk for mother or child as long as it is a normal pregnancy without any complications.


Regular strength and cardio training prevents many common pregnancy ailments, or in any case reduces their impact. Exhausting during the first trimester is one of those symptoms you can easily counter by getting into action.  However, it is wise to exercise with professional guidance so you exactly know what you can and can’t do. Besides this, it is wise to propose you exercise plans to your obstetrician or gynaecologist.


Healthy for you

There are a lot of benefits if you exercise during your pregnancy. Woman who exercise frequently, have less pregnancy ailments, have a better night's rest, and gain weight in a healthy way. Regular workouts ensure that stored fats will be used as the primary source of energy by your body. And, women who exercise regularly gain on average 4 kilos less than pregnant women who have not been active during their pregnancy. Continuing your exercises helps you prepare for the delivery. Several studies show that a fit and healthy woman has fewer complications and less exhaustion.


Good for the baby

The healthy environment that the mother creates in the womb by staying active during pregnancy has a positive effect on the development of the baby. The chance of chronical illnesses diminishes for the future adult and doing sports has a positive effect on the IQ of the baby. Good to get into action!


10 reasons to stay active during your pregnancy


  • You feel fit and healthy and it’s an energy booster
  • It has a positive impact on your child
  • It keeps your physical strengths up or even improves it
  • It contributes to a healthy increase in weight
  • You will sleep better
  • Your endurance will be better before during and after your delivery
  • Bouncing back faster to your pre-pregnancy shape
  • It is relaxing and grant your overall mood
  • Working out with other pregnant women is stimulating and you meet new people

Tips for exercises

To stay active during the coming nine months in a healthy and responsible way, Esther van Diepen advises you to follow several basic guidelines with regards to temperature, intensity, hydration, diet and fatigue.


  • Make sure your body temperature doesn’t increase to much
  • Train at max 70% of your capacity
  • Drink plenty of water during your workout
  • Take a carb rich snack before and after exercising
  • Do not wear yourself out completely
  • Don’t exceed 1 hour of sports per workout

Tip: Water, water, water

Ensure that you stay hydrated during your workouts. Make sure you always carry water or a sports drink with you during exercise. A good indication is 1 glass of water for every 20 minutes that you are active.


When do I have to stop doing sports?

If you experience dizziness or nausea, you should temporarily stop doing sports. Also when you experience sudden headaches, recurring hard stomachs or vaginal blood loss. Always consult your doctor or obstetrician before you start following a sport program. And if you should continue or not.


Most important is that you obtain enough oxygen so that there is enough for your baby. Keep in mind that how closer you get to the delivery, the weaker your tendons and joints get.


Try to avoid these kind of sports


Skiing - is no problem at the beginning of your pregnancy but later on during your pregnancy, the risk of falling on your belly gets bigger, so i advise you to only take small slopes


Mountain climbing and abseiling - are not a problem early in your pregnancy up to 2500 metres, Above 2500m, the air becomes to thin meaning the baby may not get enough oxygen.


Diving and skydiving - are sports you shouldn’t do at all during your pregnancy, as you will be very sensitive to decompression.


Horse Riding - you should be careful with this. You may do this early in your pregnancy, if you are an experienced rider as lot of pressure appears on the tendons and pelvic if you ride a horse. Later on during your pregnancy, you should only have slow rides on a calm horse.


Do’s and don’ts of exercises during a pregnancy according to Esther van Diepen:


Do’s

  • Choose a sport class special for pregnant women. These days, there are many different kind of sport activities special for women who are expecting, like maternity yoga and maternity swimming. Besides this, there is a broad variety of outdoor activities: Mom in Balance organises work-outs for mothers (to-be) in parks.
  • Especially train the muscles around the pelvic, your core and legs and arms.
  • Focus on your breath and your position.
  • Maintain your endurance with cardio exercises like running and power walking.
  • Listen to your body, stop exercising if you feel dizzy or nauseous, or if you get have recurring hard stomachs.
  • Wear comfortable sportswear
  • Make sure, you have obtained enough carbs before exercising , this will give you energy
  • Walking and cycling are both exercises which are always good to do. You can continuous train your arms and legs by doing this. This results in more power, which can eventually help you during delivery. Furthermore, you will constantly feel more energetic.
  • You may train your abdominal oblique belly muscle: this will give great support to your belly. Do this by doing several core- exercises. Exercises which are fully focussed on the belly or discouraged during pregnancy as this could increase the risk of diastase.

Dont’s

  • Don’t do any exercise on one leg, with regards to the pelvic.
  • Don’t make any large circular movements with your torso.
  • Don’t do any exercises on your back from the third trimester. The heavy womb is pushing on the artery of the placenta which can make you dizzy.
  • Don’t do any sit-ups. By doing this, you train the straight abs, which should eventually move sideways to make space for your baby.
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