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Exercise during pregnancy

31 January 2017 Blog
It is amazing how the female body changes during pregnancy, both structurally and in physical appearance.

An abundance of hormones allows your ligaments and joints to gradually loosen to accommodate your growing baby and to prepare
for birth.

As your ligaments stretch and joints loosen, you may experience
pelvic and lower back pressure and discomfort. Gentle exercise can help relieve this discomfort and will bring many benefits to you and your baby.

For women with uncomplicated and low-risk pregnancies, it is completely safe to continue or start an exercise program during pregnancy under the guidance of a trained professional.

Low impact exercise activities that are recommended to help strengthen muscles include:

  • walking
  • antenatal aqua aerobics
  • pregnancy pilates
  • yoga

Being active during pregnancy releases feel-good endorphins, increases blood flow and oxygen through the placenta to your baby.

This assists with weight gain management and helps to prevent the onset of gestational diabetes. Exercise also strengthens the pelvic floor muscle which helps to strengthen and stabilise the changing pelvis which can aid in relieving back and pelvic discomfort.

It also encourages your baby to engage into the pelvis so as to be in a good position for labour and birth.

As your body changes throughout pregnancy you will become more tired at times and not able to do certain types of exercises. This is where you need to listen to your body and ensure that the exercise you are doing is still comfortable, not putting excessive stress on your joints or heart, or causing you to overheat.

Mercy Physiotherapy, located on the lower ground floor of St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital, offers antenatal and postnatal pilates and aqua aerobics classes, run by experienced physiotherapists. The classes are also an opportunity to meet other mums-to-be and new mums.

If you have any questions or concerns about exercise during your pregnancy please speak to your obstetrician or midwife.

Useful links

Mercy Physiotherapy
Exercise in pregnancy - Sports Medicine Australia
Exercise in pregnancy - Fitness Australia

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St John of God Health Care
Felicity Kostera - Midwife

Felicity Kostera is a third-generation midwife who loves being able to support, educate and empower women during one of the most amazing times of their lives. She works at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital, is involved in the hospital’s parent education program and teaches at Curtin University.