Five top tips for fitness and health during pregnancy
• This is not the time to start an intense new exercise regime or to try and increase fitness, but mild to moderate exercise will give many health benefits and will increase your stamina to help you cope with pregnancy and labour. Try regular swimming, cycling and walking.
• Yoga is highly beneficial and the breathing exercises will help your birth experience enormously. Make sure you find a teacher qualified to teach in pregnancy as not all postures are suitable. Cat stretch and shoulder bridge are two lovely simple stretches to practice (always seek advice before starting anything new).
• Avoid lying on your back for too long after the first trimester as this can affect blood flow: to exercise your abdominals try sitting on the floor, knees bent and feet flat and gently lean back contracting your abs and tucking your tailbone under. Hold for 6 to 10 secs and repeat several times.
• Pilates is another great exercise in pregnancy, and can teach you a lot about your pelvic floor! It is also a great exercise to keep your posture in check and will help prevent postural problems which can arise from carrying baby.
• Sip water throughout your exercise session, and try to avoid becoming too hot – particularly during the first trimester. Relax, use slow and controlled movements, and most importantly of all, listen to your body.