With so many conflicting reports on exercise and how much is good for us (and whether it could sometimes be doing more harm than good) it is confusing for a pregnant women to know what is for the best.
Basically any woman who has been very fit and active before getting pregnant will find they can carry on with most activities, clearly avoiding straining at lifting weights or doing very physical high contact sports like rugby or wrestling where she could get blows to the stomach.
However even the fittest of women may find they are very tired during their first trimester and simply cant carry on with their usual regime.
At the other end of the scale, unfit women who become pregnant could find that doing some gentle exercise will help them during pregnancy and possibly prepare them better for the rigours of labour too.
Pregnancy exercises will do a tremendous amount to keep your blood moving well, which is good for the baby, and the hormones it releases will lower your stress levels throughout your pregnancy.
Whichever category you belong to fit or unfit its best to check with your GP before taking up or continuing with any sports or exercises while pregnant.
They may recommend a new set of pregnancy exercises which tick both the boxes of keeping you fit and well while keeping baby safe.
Many pregnant women put off doing pregnancy exercises because they are too fatigued, but exercise can actually help with morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester. And it can prevent a woman from gaining too much weight in the first and second trimester.
The golden rule to pregnancy exercise is to not push yourself to the limit. Your heart is already working harder just pumping blood for two.
Safe pregnancy exercises
A little exercise is better than none so a gentle stroll outdoors (rain or shine) will help your circulation and give you a little energy boost.
Swimming is also a great pregnancy exercise as in the water you are weightless so even with a big pregnancy belly you can be elegant and do some gentle laps in the pool.
Yoga and Pilates are also low impact exercises so help burn extra calories while boosting energy.
Continuing with other activities like running, biking, and aerobics are safe for a few months, but once your centre of balance shifts and your ligaments begin to loosen they can cause injuries and strains. And its certainly not a good idea to take up these new, strenuous activities if the most exercise you had before pregnancy was reaching for the TV remote control.