Pregnancy can put a lot of strain on your partner. She may be having difficulty sleeping, she will have various aches and pains, swollen ankles and will feel bloated. There is something that can be done to relieve a whole host of these symptoms. Exercise. Working out while pregnant offers has been linked to a lot of benefits for mother and baby. There is a boost in mood, a decrease in many pregnancy symptoms, and even a quicker postpartum recovery. There is also research that suggests the baby may enjoy a fitter heart, a lower BMI, and a boost in brain health. But of course, precautions have to be taken while exercising. Likewise, if your partner was not working out before the pregnancy, trying to cycle 10km every day while pregnant is clearly a bad idea!
Aim for 30 mins a day
Research shows that a minimum of 30 mins of light exercise a day is recommended for pregnant women. This should not come as much of a surprise as this is also the often-quoted recommendation for those of us who are not pregnant. But it does not need to be an intense 30 minutes. Even 30 minutes of chores or a brisk walk could contribute to the amount. The aim is more to ensure that mother remains active and healthy during the pregnancy. So, going for a walk together after dinner could be more than enough.
There are of course risks when exercising whether you are pregnant or not. The key when pregnant is to not strain yourself too vigorously. But what is classed as strain differs from person to person. For example, a doctor would rarely recommend someone takes up running when they are pregnant, its high impact and often a big no. At the same time, if mother ran 10km a few times a week before she became pregnant, going for a jog a few times a week would be fine (with doctors’ permission of course). The same would be true of weightlifting. If your partner hit the weights regularly as part of her workout routine, she will likely be fine to continue to work out at a comfortable weight (no pushing for a new record!) in the first couple of trimesters. A friend of mine used to compete in adventure races like tough mudder and the Spartan series and she was still doing her normal training routine until she hit her third trimester. But of course, if someone is new to exercising or rarely exercising then they should avoid this type of more intense exercise, as for them it would be far too strenuous.
The most commonly recommended exercises are those that are low impact. Swimming is often recommended as it is a good cardio workout and also very low impact on the body. Good cardio will obviously come in handy when labour arrives, and the increased blood flow will help reduce swelling. Walking is also commonly recommended as it is very low impact and has the added advantage of helping to get the baby in to a good position when it comes time to give birth. The natural swaying of the hips while walking helps adjust the position of your unborn child. Pre-Natal Yoga is usually very highly recommended as well. Not only does it help with flexibility, but it teaches good breathing techniques that come in handy when the baby is due. Flexibility combine with relaxation and breathing techniques make it highly recommended. But again, if your partner did not do Yoga before, make sure she signs up specifically for pre-natal Yoga and not more vigorous normal yoga classes.
*If you would like a personal coaching session via zoom with myself to help you navigate your first time dad journey, you can reach out to me directly by sending me a message on social media or the “contact” page on my website to organise a session