Exercising during and after pregnancy

Exercising during and after pregnancy

Advice from Move With Nina

What are your top 3 tips for pregnant women who would like to start implementing some physical exercise and routines throughout their pregnancy but aren’t sure where to start?

First tip is to find something that you enjoy so you’ll stick to it! If you don’t enjoy prenatal yoga and prefer prenatal pilates that do that. Or perhaps, you prefer to walk (also a fantastic opportunity to connect to nature and get some vitamin D). Pregnancy is a great time to stick to what you love, or try new forms of movement because you never know what your body and baby is craving. Personally, I have never tried Aqua Aerobics before but this pregnancy I am loving it! It keeps me fit, it’s fun and I feel so light in the water.

Assess where you’re at physically and mentally as everyone is going to be different. In pregnancy, especially when you’re not sure where to start, it’s better to start small and build up from there. You could begin with 15 minutes of non-stop activity three times a week. Increase this gradually to 30 minutes, 5 times a week. This can be as easy as going for a 30-minute moderate walk. If you find it uncomfortable to walk then avoid walking long distances and instead opt for an exercise like swimming which may be a better option. A women’s health Physio is a great resource to personally assess your needs.

Do you have any aches or pains such as lower back or SI joint pain? Are you nauseous? Are you tired? Perhaps you’re feeling amazing and have loads of energy! I think it’s a good idea to answer these questions so you can get a sense of what type of movement will suit your body and mind.

Third tip is for those ladies who love group classes. Unless your instructor is prenatally trained or you have the existing knowledge from a health professional about what you can and can’t do, (such as a women’s health Physio), I would avoid participating in group classes. Diastasis recti (abdominal separation) is something that can be prevented by mindful and pregnancy safe movement. Think rolling over to one side when lying on your back, avoiding heavy lifting and avoiding crunches. Best to check with the instructor if they are prenatal trained so you know you’ll be safe.

What are the benefits of exercise, yoga and pilates throughout pregnancy?

Prenatal yoga & pilates is so beneficial when pregnant because it takes a multifaceted approach to exercise that promotes mobility, stretching, breath work and learning to become present. This type of movement can increase strength and endurance needed for labour, decrease lower back pain, headaches, improve sleep and also reduce stress and anxiety. Through movement, it’s a beautiful time to learn about yourself and connect to your baby. 

What kind of exercise would you recommend for women after giving birth and is there a different focus from exercise during pregnancy?

I strongly recommend that all women, no matter their delivery type (vaginal or cesarean), have their pelvic floor assessed at six-weeks postpartum by a women’s health Physio before they start doing exercise again. Once given the all clear by a Physio, women should start doing the exercise that they most enjoy. I personally enjoyed pilates mat, reformer, yoga and barre after birth. There should be a focus on building up core strength slowly, pelvic floor strengthening and posture. Posture should be a big focus after giving birth as during breastfeeding/bottle feeding we can tend to round the upper body so we need to open the front body and become aware of postural alignment to avoid aches and pains. 

Are there any myths you have heard / commonly hear around exercise during pregnancy you would like to clarify with the parents out there?

I’ve been asked by a few women whether or not they should do exercise when pregnant as they were told/read they shouldn’t. Now, unless that woman has a medical reason why she shouldn’t exercise I completely disagree. It’s such an important stress release, plus it helps to prevent aches and pains. It’s also a beautiful chance to connect to baby. This is why I love doing pregnancy yoga as I am forced to slow down, become present and connect to my little bubba growing inside me.

Can you tell us about your new organic tea blend and the benefits?

Tea was one of the most important factors in why I had such a positive birth experience and pregnancy. This is why I started an organic, natural herbal tea company. As I wanted to empower other women to have this similar experience when going through pregnancy and giving birth. That love and passion for empowering women, developed and expanded into creating blends with our in-house naturopath and herbalist to naturally relieve symptoms of PMS, Morning Sickness, Giving Birth, Breastfeeding, Menopause and enhancing good quality deep Sleep. Plus as they are all gluten free, vegan, cruelty-free, no additives or preservatives, these teas are suitable for any dietary requirements and lifestyle choice. Blended and packaged right here in the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Australia, we have carefully curated each tea blend to help ensure every sip will help nourish women to better health.