Hugh Hanley, father of two and National Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active, on training while pregnant
Training while pregnant helps you to be more prepared for the physical stresses of carrying a baby and labour. However, inappropriate exercise can be harmful for the mother or baby, so be sure to get your doctor or midwife’s approval before beginning an exercise programme.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscles form a sling-like band that surrounds and forms the base of your vagina, anus and urethra. These muscles also support all your abdominal contents, and your baby will pass through them as he or she is born. Strengthening these muscles is an extremely worthwhile and important activity.
How to do pelvic floor exercises: –
- Gradually tighten the muscles that you use if you want to stop the flow of urine when going to the toilet
- Try to do it without holding your breath, squeezing your buttocks together
- Hold the squeeze for several seconds and then relax slowly
- Now pull the muscles up tight and fast. Then relax. Then tighten them quickly again. Use clenching and opening your fist as a visual tool to help you imagine the movement.
While pregnant you must make sure you listen to your body and if at any time during exercise you feel extremely fatigued, faint, dizzy, lightheaded or clammy, stop exercising and cool down.
The key tip here is that you need to listen to your body and, based on what your body’s telling you, figure out a level of activity that works for you.
Most importantly, this is a magical time in any woman’s life, so enjoy it!