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The general advice is that if you are already exercising you can continue to keep up your exercise routine for as long as you feel comfortable. If you are new to exercise you should start gradually with 15 minutes three times a week working up to 30 minutes daily. If you can, start with pregnancy specific exercise classes, low impact cardiovascular exercise or supervised resistance training. Tell your exercise instructor you are pregnant if the class is not pregnancy specific. Avoid anything high impact or high intensity if you are not used to it.
Weight training can be very beneficial in pregnancy and can help to strengthen your muscles, protect your joints, and help you to cope with the added weight and challenges of pregnancy and labour. Focus on technique rather than increasing weight and always stop if an exercise does not feel right.
If you suffer from specific medical conditions it may mean that it is not safe for you to exercise. These are conditions listed in international exercise guidelines. Your midwife or health care professional will check these with you before you join WEPP.
The DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) recommend aiming for 150 mins exercise per week. This equates to 30 minutes on five days of the week but you may want to break it up - examples might be longer exercise sessions or 15 minute sessions twice daily. Remember though, anything is better than nothing, so don't be put off if this sounds unrealistic at the beginning. If you are new to exercise the recommendation is that you start with 15 minutes 3 times weekly and build up gradually.
After the first trimester it is recommended that you avoid exercising on your back because this position puts pressure on important blood vessels and can reduce blood flow to your heart and possibly to your baby.
There are no set guidelines for stopping exercise in pregnancy. You should listen to your body and slow down as you progress through your third trimester as things get harder. The talk test is a useful tool to monitor your exercise intensity. You should be exercising at moderate intensity and able to hold a conversation although your breathing will be slightly harder than just sitting and chatting.
Sit ups place a lot of pressure on your lower back and are usually not recommended in pregnancy. The sit up movement also stresses the main abdominal muscle and this can lead to a gap forming between the muscle bellies called a diastasis. Pressure on the pelvic floor muscles can also lead to an increased risk of prolapse.
Your baby is very well protected and cushioned within the uterus (womb) and there is no evidence that any abdominal muscle exercises will cause your baby any harm.
Yes but there are certain poses that you should adapt or avoid if they make your symptoms worse especially those with a wide legged stance such as triangle pose or warrior pose. Your yoga teacher will advise you but the general rule is listen to your body and avoid poses which do not feel right.
Diastasis recti is short for diastasis rectus abdominis muscles (DRAM) and refers to a gap of more than 2cm between the two sides of the rectus abdominis or 'six pack' muscle. You may notice a coning or a doming between the muscle bellies. Often this gap will naturally reduce after you have had your baby but if you are worried you may need to seek help from your pelvic health physiotherapist. Please see our Spotlight On video for further information about diastasis recti.
If you have an existing practice you can usually continue your regular class with adaptations which your teacher should be able to recommend. However, as your pregnancy progresses, it may be a good idea to choose a pregnancy yoga class instead as it may be more suited to your needs and often incorporates pranayama (breath work) and poses specific to pregnancy and birth.
You can usually continue your regular class with adaptations which your teacher should be able to recommend. However, as your pregnancy progresses, it may be a good idea to choose a pregnancy Pilates class instead as it may be more suited to your needs and often incorporates exercises which focus on specific pregnancy considerations.
You can re-start pelvic floor exercises once you have passed urine normally - one or two measured wees depending on your type of birth and catheter use. Gentle pelvic floor exercises can help with the healing process if you have had a perineal tear or you needed an episiotomy during the birth of your baby. In this case we recommend little and often whilst the muscles are healing but otherwise you should follow the guidelines in our pelvic floor video and build up gradually.
Most women will see a big improvement after the birth of their baby and in some cases have no symptoms at all. If you continue to experience pain please seek a referral or self-refer to your pelvic health physiotherapy team.
You should gradually build up your strength and your cardiovascular fitness over the first six weeks in pregnancy before slowly returning to running. Please see our useful resources section for specific running guidelines.
Diastasis rectus abdominis refers to a gap of more than 2cm between the two sides of the rectus abdominis or 'six pack' muscle. It is visualised or a coning or a doming between the muscle bellies. Often this gap will naturally reduce after you have had your baby but if you are worried you may need to seek help from your pelvic health physiotherapist. Please see our Spotlight On video for further information about diastasis.
Unfortunately there is no method of losing weight from a specific body part. The best method of weight loss is combining regular exercise and a healthy diet.
We’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions, but please feel free to email us with any questions we haven’t covered
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