Ante-natal Pilates

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I am not currently running  Pregnancy Pilates classes but here is some information about exercising during pregnancy.

The following is some information about general exercise during pregnancy:

A systematic review in 2012  summarised all research papers that studied physical exercise during Pregnancy and concluded that all pregnant women should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strength training of moderate-intensity sessions at least three times a week for 30 min or more (Nascimento et al 2012). More specifically, ›Exercise is safe for mother and fetus and should be indicated to all pregnant women in the absence of absolute contra-indications.

Exercise during pregnancy is associated with the control of gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, improvement of urinary symptoms- urinary incontinence and low back pain; however, exercise practice is below the recommended level in most countries ( Nascrimento et al 2012). An assessment of levels of physical activity in a cohort of healthy women in Ireland, who had no contraindications to exercise during pregnancy found that only 21.5% women met the current recommendations for exercise in pregnancy (Walsh et al 2011).

›Recent studies focused on the role of exercise on birth weight, gestational age at delivery, and Apgar score ( Nascimento et al 2011( aerobic dance); Haakstad et al 2011) and ›it was found that was no association with reduction in birth weight, preterm birth rate, or neonatal wellbeing measured with Apgar score

›Increasing physical activity and leading an active lifestyle during a pregnancy will help to prevent:

  • excessive weight gain during pregnancy; post partum weight retention; gestational diabetes, and the associated risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life; obesity; and heart disease (Charkoudian &Joyner, 2004).
  • ›The healthy environment that a mother provides during pregnancy has a profound impact on fetal programming and can prevent chronic disease risk in the adult of the future (Mottola et al., 2010).
  • ›Physical discomfort, as well as complications of labour and birth, may be alleviated in more active women (Kelly, 2005).
  • ›A more positive effect on self-image and fewer depressive symptoms occur in active women during and after pregnancy (Wolfe & Mottola, 1993)

›Safe exercises during pregnancy.

  • Aerobics
  • ›Running/Jogging
  • ›Walking
  • ›Swimming
  • ›Aqua aerobics
  • ›Pilates
  • ›Yoga
  • ›Light weights

All of the above advice is for low-risk, healthy pregnancies. In Canada, the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy are found in PARmed-X for Pregnancy (Wolfe & Mottola, 2002), published by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) in 1996, endorsed by Health Canada, and revised in 2002. I have attached this article because it outlines all the relative and absolute contra-indications for exercise; it’s worth a read! It also gives you a guide to knowing when you are exercising at a level that is suitable ( using the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale). parmed-xpreg

Some safety considerations for when you are pregnant:

  1. Avoid exercise in warm/humid environments, especially during the 1st trimester
  2. Avoid isometric exercise or straining while holding your breath
  3. Maintain adequate nutrition and hydration — drink liquids before and after exercise
  4. Avoid exercise while lying on your back past the 4th month of pregnancy
  5. Avoid activities which involve physical contact or danger of falling
  6. Know your limits — pregnancy is not a good time to train for athletic competition
  7. Know the reasons to stop exercise and consult a qualified health care provider immediately if they occur

Generally if you feel good while you are exercising then you are exercising at a good level for you. If you feel any of the following symptoms during exercise then you need to stop exercising immediately and consult your health care provider:

  1. Excessive shortness of breath
  2.  Chest pain
  3.  Painful uterine contractions (more than 6-8 per hour)
  4.  Vaginal bleeding
  5.  Any “gush” of fluid from vagina (suggesting premature rupture of the membranes)
  6.       Dizziness or faintness

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