Can you exercise with a pregnant belly?
First and foremost: congratulations on your pregnancy! I sincerely hope that you can fully enjoy the feeling inside your belly and that you can keep moving until the end of the pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended, but in a responsible way and in moderation.
It is strongly recommended to exercise during pregnancy, although I would like to give you some tips so that you exercise in a responsible way. Always coordinate everything you do with your doctor or gynaecologist. They can best assess your personal situation and give you additional advice. Exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and it has a positive impact on your fitness, your self-confidence and your general health.
What changes in your body when you are pregnant?
The amount of blood in your body rises sensitively, making your heart beat a lot faster. Your heart rate is therefore higher to constantly provide your baby with sufficient oxygen and nutrients.
The weight in the front of your body increases, which puts extra strain on the back and changes your balance.
Glucose is the use of sugar in your body. During pregnancy you are constantly feeding glucose to your baby through the blood. When you exercise, you also consume some of your sugar, which means that less energy flows to the baby at that time. For this reason it is important to be extra careful with prolonged or high intensity exercise. Provide sufficient energy intake before, during and after your physical activity.
What are the guidelines?
Daily light physical activity is recommended for both pregnant and non-pregnant women. Walking for 30 to 45 minutes a day, or by bike to the bakery or school has a positive effect on your health. You have probably already heard of the 10,000 steps exercise standard, I will come back to that in another blog post. In addition to this daily activity, you can exercise slightly more intensively 2-3x a week for 30 to 60 minutes. This exercise standard aims to strengthen your muscles and bones. During pregnancy you adjust these recommendations to your own capabilities.
I recommend these forms of movement
Sports where you have trouble keeping your balance is not recommended during pregnancy. When practicing a sport, continuous, gradual sports activity is better than exercise with high-intensity intervals alternating with rest periods.
I put this first! Swimming is the ideal sport during the entire pregnancy. Your body is supported by the water and you can adjust the intensity and length of your training to the phase you are in.
Yoga also fits perfectly with your pregnancy. It teaches you to let go of stress and it gives you extra energy. The exercises are tailored to your pregnancy.
If you were already running before the pregnancy, you can continue to run. As your pregnancy progresses, your weight will make running less comfortable.
Cycling is also suitable during pregnancy, but avoid riding on unpaved terrain because of the shock your baby may experience.
During pregnancy you can play tennis at low to moderate intensity, here too I only recommend tennis if you already have experience with the sport before the pregnancy.