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15 Feb 2006

Exercising during pregnancy
I am about 12 months pregnant and I constantly suffer from a backache especially when driving and when sitting down . Prior to finding out about my pregnancy I had joined the Gym with a goal of losing weight as I am overweight.

Now I have decided to go back to the Gym with the hope that it will ease my backache.

Is this a sensible thing to do
Could I lose some weight as I was already overweight
What are the best excercises to perform to loose my upper body weight
Answer 374 views
Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi there

I'm not sure of how long you've been pregnant for, whether it's 12 weeks, or perhaps 2 months, but either way, here are some general guidelines for exercising. I do just think that you need to be cautious and make very sure that you are not overdoing it on the exercise. This is particularly the case since you are starting out the training - someone who is active before can continue at a lower intensity, but starting out poses other additional problems.

First things first, before starting any exercises during pregnancy, medical permission is vital and so I would suggest getting clearance from a doctor or gynaecologist before starting up.

HOwever, the key is intensity and most exercises are safe provided they are done at a well-controlled intensity, which usually means take it easy! There are a couple of hotspots or potential problem stages during pregnancy. The first and third trimester are the more risky phases, for different reasons.

What you need to remember is that the baby has a core temperature 1 degree higher than you do, so when you start to push up the intensity too much your core temperature goes up and consequently so does the baby’s. It is therefore also important that you keep cool during exercise wearing loose clothing and drinking lots of water. Also try to exercise in early morning or the evening when it is cooler. This is particularly important very very early on during the pregnancy in the first trimester and so keeping cool and keeping the intensity lower is very important.

You can do most activities in the gym such as cycling, treadmill, stepper and weight training. You will need to however avoid exercises on your back for extended periods or on your stomach. During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin, which makes your ligaments lax in preparation for the birth. Therefore it is not advised that you do any jumping or jarring activities, as this will put you at greater risk to injury.

Here are some general guidelines for exercise:

• Avoid exercises that involve the VALSALVA manoeuvre or holding your breath. This means no lifting of heavy weights which force you to strain or hold your breath.
• Avoid exercises that involve lying on your back after the 4th month (after the first trimester) as the pregnant uterus may compress the aorta and cause a decrease of blood flow to the fetus.
• Avoid exercise in which there is danger of loss of balance.
• Avoid long periods of motionless standing
• It is NOT recommended that you start an exercise programme in the first trimester if you have been previously inactive.

You will also find that as your stomach gets bigger and your center of gravity changes it will be harder for you to keep your balance in activities that require quick changes of direction such as aerobics.

As your pregnancy progresses and you start to feel more tired you can move your training into the pool and take up swimming or aqua aerobics, which you will find very soothing during the final months of your pregnancy.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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