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Exercises in Pregnancy

My top 4

"I only started exercising from 4 months of pregnancy, before then i was too nauseas and too tired and due to the fact that i had a miscarriage before i wanted to feel absolutely ready before beginning any exercise programme. Always listen to your body, you will know when the time is right for you." Why exercise? Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. It can also improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that it may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.
If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity with modifications as necessary. You can exercise at your former level as long as you are comfortable and have your doctor's approval. Low impact aerobics are encouraged versus high impact. Do not let your heart rate exceed 140 beats per minute.

If you don’t normally exercise regularly, this is a good time to start. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends beginning with 15 minutes of continuous exercise three times a week, increasing gradually to 30 minute sessions, from four times a week to daily. The intensity should be sufficient to induce an increase in your heart and breathing rate but you should still be able to maintain a conversation when you exercise while you are pregnant.

"Always listen to your body, stop when you need to and keep well hydrated."
  * Pelvic floor and abdominal exercises Looking after and exercising your pelvic floor is really important when you are pregnant. A strong pelvic floor will really help when the time comes for labour and will help the muscles of the pelvic floor  keep in shape after birth.
  * Flexibilty and hormones When you're pregnant your body produces relaxin – a hormone that makes your ligaments (normally pretty inflexible) stretchy and elastic in preparation for childbirth. In the first trimester you'll have high levels of relaxin and your body continues make the hormone until birth. So becareful not to overstretch and keep exercises within a limited range of movement.
  * Swelling Exercise keeps your circulatory system running at maximum efficiency. even just getting up from your desk for a brisk walk to the water cooler — will help deflate your swollen feet by getting those pooled fluids flowing again. Swimming (or other water exercises) is an especially great choice to combat edema. Not only does it keep you off your feet, but, also, the outside water pressure pushes tissue fluid back into your veins and kidneys (and right out the door through your urine.

My top 4 exercise books and and DVD's

1. The Tracy Anderson pregnancy method is great, the exercises are only 30 minutes long and there are 9 months worth of repetoire. Tracy targets arms and butt and offers basic stretches, after all mama needs strong arms to lift baby  and a strong bootie to keep the lower back strong. I found i got just the right amount of cardio and sweat without exerting too much. If you have not exercised before,  this method might feel tough, stick with month one and two until you feel ready to move on. I always felt great, glowing and healthy after doing the series.

2. The Clean and Lean pregnancy guide was given to me by the wonderful Nathalie Schyllert (Director of operatins at Bodysim) , this book is a wonderful little gem. The book offers tips on a healthy diet in pregancy, gentle safe exercises including yoga routines to help you prepare for birth and tone up after birth. I also took their "mother to baby" preganncy supplements, they are great as they  contain all the usual things we need , but also consist of a probiotic to keep the gut flora healthy.

3. Katy Appleton's pregancy yoga series, is one odf my favourite yoga DVD's, i trained as a yoga teacher with Tracy who was in her second pregnancy at the time and trust her fully. Tracy has a kind and gentle manner and is very well informed when it comes to womans bodies in pregancy. 
Included are three 45-minute flows, Sanctuary, Shine and Stillness, 15-minute Hypnobirthing Relaxation and special features of Pelvic Floor Play and Top Tips including remedies for common ailments during pregnancy. These practices are safe, effective and accessible, and have been refined by Katy over many years, most recently embodied in her own pregnancy. 

4. The APPI pilates for pregancy DVD, is one of my favourites, as a pilates teacher myself i know first hand the countless  benefits of pilates and  i swear by it for keeping the body strong, supple and injury free, it is one of the safest exercises to do in pregancy. Physiotherapists have carefully selected exercises to target your deep stabilising abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. You will also be provided with many useful tips from the physiotherapist throughout the class. APPI run pregancy classes in Hampstead and Wimbledon.

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