There is overwhelming evidence showing that moderate and regular amounts of exercise during pregnancy are both safe and beneficial for mother and unborn baby. It has been shown that women who exercise during pregnancy have better health outcomes for themselves and their babies compared to women who do not exercise.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are:
• reduced risk of low-back and pelvic girdle pain
• reduced risk of gestational diabetes, Caesarean delivery and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure)
• reduced birth weight of newborns
• improved mood and reduced levels of fatigue helping reduce the risk of post natal depression
• more likely to give up smoking during pregnancy
• prepares women for the physical demands of the end stage of pregnancy and labour
The benefits babies receive from their mother’s exercise are:
• greater nourishment as exercise helps the placenta grow faster and function better
• leaner babies
• babies will cope better with disturbances or fluctuations in their environment
• babies at one year of age perform better in standardised mental and physical performance tests.
Many women want to exercise but do not know where to start. This is where womens health physiotherapy at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy Gungahlin, Canberra can help but we recommend you first check with your GP/Obstetrician that it is OK for you to exercise. Here at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy a Womens Health physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment and provide you with tailored exercises to do at home or in the gym. This will include general advice on cardio/weight training exercises as well as stretches and core stability exercises. If you are currently exercising we will go over what modifications may be necessary depending on your needs.
Furthermore, if you have low back and/or pelvic girdle pain the right exercises can help you. Research published in the British Medical Journal shows that specific stability exercises and acupuncture/dry needling as an adjunct to standard physiotherapy are more effective at reducing pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy than standard treatment alone. At Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy we will go over the specific stabilising exercises for low back pain and/or pelvic girdle pain along with pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises.
During pregnancy it is beneficial to do your pelvic floor exercises as it reduces tearing during delivery, decreases the risk of bladder leakage/haemorrhoids; and reduces the strain on your ligaments that support your uterus (prevents prolapse). Using the Real Time Ultrasound our physios can check your muscle contraction technique is correct and make sure you are doing the exercise at the right level of difficulty for you. Real time Ultrasound carries no risk to you or your baby.
You can still perform core exercises during pregnancy but they will need to be adapted to suit your changing body. Specific core exercises are an essential component in managing low back and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.
To maximise the benefits of exercise during pregnancy it needs to be carried out past the 32 week mark. It can be tough but it is possible and can be safely managed with your Doctor/Midwife if necessary.
Remember: ‘Healthy kids come from healthy mums’. If you are pregnant it is a great idea to come in and see one of our Womens Health physios at Sport & Spinal Physio, to make sure you have a safe and effective exercise program that will be best for you and your baby. A great way to get in shape during pregnancy safely is to join our pre & post natal exercise classes – call 6262 4464 now!