I found out I was pregnant back in November, it was a complete surprise to myself and my boyfriend. We weren't exactly ready for it all but we wouldn't change anything for the world now and can't wait to meet our littlen in a couple of months! My first trimester (0-13 weeks) was bloody awful, I spent most of my time lay on the couch feeling sick and dizzy, it was the middle of winter so I also felt glum about it being so bloody cold.
As soon as my second trimester started (14-28 weeks) I got my pre pregnancy energy back, and got my bum off the sofa and got active. I've always walked a few miles a day most days to and from work or to my mums which is across town, as I don't drive so my little legs get me from A-B. So when I got my energy back I got back into walking everywhere. I'm so glad that I did, I don't think my pregnancy would have been this good if I hadn't have been so active for the past few months. I've managed to stay in my pre-pregnancy clothes, apart from having to invest in some maternity vests and tops as bump has got to big for me to wear my old t-shirts and what not without bump being on show. I'm not one for letting it hang out for the whole world to see like a lot of the young mums these days it seems. I like to keep my bump covered up till I get home, then I wear what I want and bump is allowed out! ha-ha!
Now I'm in the home stretch in the 3rd Trimester (28-40weeks) I'm still as active as before, but I'm going to start slowing it down a little now, as my hips, pelvis and feet are starting to give me so much grief I need to change tactics and look at something a little less strenuous like swimming or Yoga instead of walking so much. I still plan to do a walking but maybe only a couple of times a week instead of nearly every day. I want to stay as active as possible as it's done me so much good so far.
If I hadn't have been so active through my pregnancy I think I definitely would have put on weight and been quite unhappy. Exercise has kept me alert, refreshed and healthy. I'm knackered by the end of the day and my bones ache but I feel good knowing that I've done well for myself and baby by being off my bum. Not to sound like a bitch, but a lot of mums these days find out their pregnant and see it as an excuse to become lazy. Pregnancy isn't an excuse to become a lazy bum and sit on the sofa all day watching crappy TV. It's a time to get active, be healthy and do the best for your own body and your baby.
The most important thing is to exercise SAFELY, obviously there are certain types of exercise or sport that aren't recommended for pregnant ladies; Rugby and other contact sports like Martial Arts, Horse Riding, Trampolining and weight lifting. Basically any sport or exercise which has a risk of you falling or being hit.
Exercising during pregnancy has a number of benefits, apart from overall fitness, it can help against morning sickness - especially walking, getting out into the fresh air can do wonders for morning sickness. Exercise is also great for constipation, if you keep active so do your bowels. Exercising boosts your immune system and your energy levels. Granted at the start of my pregnancy I really didn't feel like doing much at all as I felt so dizzy and sick all the time, but as soon as I was well enough to get off my butt I got back into my exercise and started walking again. Exercising is also good for building stamina, muscle tone and strength and is meant to help you when it comes to labour as it gets littlen into a good position. I can't comment on this yet though as I've not got that far.
The Do's and Dont's of exercising throughout pregnancy;
Do drink plenty of fluids when exercising.
Do wear loose fitting clothes to try and keep cool, becoming over heated can be harmful to littlen.
Do exercise in moderation. If you weren't very active before pregnancy don't start running miles everyday as your body just isn't used to it.
Do take it easy whilst exercising, your joints become looser from all the relaxin the body is producing during pregnancy, therefore making you more prone to joint and ligament injury.
Do listen to your body. This is the most important thing, if you start feeling to hot or dizzy then stop what your doing. Don't go crazy with the exercising and overdo it. Your centre of gravity also changes throughout pregnancy as bump gets bigger making you a bit more wobbly.
Don't overdo it. Exercise in moderation.
Don't exercise in order to lose weight in pregnancy, it is harmful for you and littlen. Every woman needs to put on a little weight during pregnancy, regardless of their starting size. Slimmer ladies will need and will gain more weight than a larger lady.
Don't exercise flat on your back, especially after the first trimester as baby and cervix get's a lot bigger it can press on the Vena Cava which is the main artery that flows blood back to the brain, if the vein is under too much pressure it can restrict blood flow back to your noggin and make you feel dizzy.
Don't use sauna's after exercising or at all during pregnancy as they are far too hot for you and littlen.
Finally, Don't do too much exercise in hot weather. If you do then make sure you keep yourself well hydrated.
One of the best exercises which is still recommended through pregnancy is sex, Ooo Matron! OK so it does get a little bit more awkward the bigger the bump gets but a few adjustments or switching to new positions is all part of the fun. My sex drive has been a bit hit or miss throughout my pregnancy, as with most women but thankfully I have an extremely understanding boyfriend. The only time sex isn't recommended during pregnancy is if you're having certain complications, but I'm not going to go into that.
OK so there are quite a lot of things you can't do whilst your pregnant but there is no reason why exercising should stop. It has been so beneficial for me and I'm glad I've kept so active throughout my pregnancy. It is getting a little more difficult for me to walk too far these days as I'm nearly 30 weeks now and baby is quite big so presses down on my pelvis and hips a fair bit causing me quite a lot of pain. I'm cracking on with it though and still walk around 2-3 miles a day around 3/4 times a week. My feet are starting to swell now so my feet are covered in blisters but I just plough through it and soak my feet when I get home ha-ha!
I think if I hadn't have kept so active throughout my pregnancy I would have ended up being the size of a house. OK so maybe not the size of a house but I definitely would have put a lot of weight on. I'd recommend every pregnant woman to try and be as active as possible throughout their pregnancy. There is something for everyone, from swimming, walking to yoga. Just don't expect to be able to put your legs behind your head a few months into your pregnancy, but then again I couldn't even get my legs behind my head before I was pregnant so there's no chance of that now.
As a personal trainer, I have often had female clients of mine come to me and tell me they are pregnant. Should they stop exercising? Should they wrap themselves in cotton wool for 9 months?
What I find strange is that when someone becomes pregnant, immediately peoples response is that they should stop doing exercise. I would have to completly disagree with this. Lets not forget, if you were to run a marathon, that would only take around 4 hours, but you wouldnt go into that with no trianing would you? Labour could last all day, so it pays to be physically fit, and you will find it less stressful and easier when the time comes.
Now at this poiont it is important to just point out, that if you are not used to exercise, and have become oregant, its not advisable that you start some vigious training regime. Infact, if you haven't been undertaking exercise before you were pregnant, I would advise against it now. I would however suggest some light physical activity like walking.
If you have been exercising, and are now pregant, you are fine to continue, but you might need to change up some of the exercises. In the first trimester, its escpecially important you dont overheat your body, which means I wouldnt have a client working over 65% of their maximum herart rate. Its often wise to purchase a heart rate monitor so you can keep a check on this all throughout pregnancy and exercise. Generally, nothing more than a jog would be sufficent to get your heart rate this high, and with most people it would mean just a fast paced walk. You would also wnat to avoid weight lifting above the head, as lifting heavy object above the head will compress the cappiliries around the heart, leading to increased blood pressure. All other weight exercises tend to be ok, right up until about 36 weeks, when I would terminate them all. After you are out of the first trimester, you might start to feel a bit more energetic, and you wont be feeling sick anymore. Dont mistake this as a sign to suddenly increase the amount fo exercise you are doing however.
In terms of floor work, all exercises which involve laying with your back on the floor are out. So that means sit-ups. This is becuase when you lay flat on your back, the pressure of your body compresses the vena-cana, which restricts oxygen getting to the baby.
Apart from that, you can exercise as you would normally. Its often wise that when you become bigger, you wont be feeling as mobile, which is a good time to change some of your excersies for more relaxing ones. yoga and pilates can be both very effective in helping your body and mind prepare for labour.
As you progress throgugh your labour, you might start to get back pains, which is why it is important to keep up the exercise, to strengthen those areas.
The main thing when you are pregnant, is to keep exercising, but dont over-do it. As I would always advise my clients, get out and go walking; it will give you some fresh air, help the blood circulal#te round your body, and you can make the most of the time before you have a baby keeping you awake all night!
Obviously it is good to maintain levels of exercise when pregnant. Unfortunately when I was pregnant with my first child, I used this as an excuse to not to have to exercise at all, and to stuff my face with food. I was an active person, who ate healthily, and turned over night into a fat blob who did nothing !! It obviously then took me longer to regain my pre pregnancy weight. So now that I am expecting again I am determined to stay active ( although the eating has been a bit overactive too ). I am expecting twins , and I am 23 weeks at the moment. As I am so huge already I am finding it hard to stay active. My 14 month old little boy keeps me on my toes, but I get so tired really quickly. I haven't done any structured exercise as I believe that you can stay just as active by regular walks. But this is impossible at the moment as after even 5 minutes I have to sit down. I think you need to be realistic, and go with what your body will allow.
I have always been a very active person. I didn't like the thought of not being able to exercise just because I was pregnant, so I made an effort to keep active throughout my pregnancy. I found that I fel I recovered quickly after the birth (within 2 weeks was back to hill walking) and also felt that I didn't gain too much unnecessary weight. I did listen to advice about avoiding impact activities, avoiding activities where I could fall or be hit on my bump and not doing too much abdominal exercise after 13 weeks.
Here is what I did:-
Weekly Tai Chi classes (1 hour)
I did this until 36 weeks (approx) pregnant when they were cancelled due to lack of interest. I found it helped me develop balance and stability to cope with my growing bump. It strengthened my core muscles and also was very relaxing. I didn't enjoy being used for demonstrations of how Tai Chi can be used defensively as I was the most similar in stature to the instructor!
Walking to and from transport links for work (1 hour- 1 1/2 hours a day)
This fitted easily into my daily pattern, was easy to do and maintained a level of aerobic fitness. The only problem was that it was hard to keep going out if the weather was bad once I was on maternity leave.
Line Dance Class (1/2 hour per week)
I taught this at a school where I worked. The movements are simple and don't put you off balance easily. There is little jumping and impact and this can easily be replaced if you need it to be. It's good overall aerobic exercise and as you do it to music it can be uplifting too (and the music isn't all country and western!)
Hill Walking (2-3 hours once a fortnight approx)
This was something that I engaged in regularly before I got pregnant and missed a lot once I was pregnant. It can easily be done so long as you pick trails with stable paths and go at a reasonable pace you feel comfortable with. For me it was uplifting to see the views and get the fresh air, as well as good aerobic exercise.
Home-made aerobics (1/2 hour per day)
Once I was pregnant I came up with a number of simple exercises to be done daily (box steps, basic dance steps etc) which I set myself a numerical target for daily. It was good because I could go at my own pace and could do them (subtley!) while waiting for public transport etc.
Aquanatal (1 hour per week)
Once I was on maternity leave I attended these classes. They were designed for pregnant women so I knew they were safe. They provided a good mix of aerobic and conditioning activities. The pool helped me feel less heavy.
Overall, I feel that my exercise pattern helped keep me aerobically fit and not put on too much weight. Now I've had my baby and am 5 months down the line, I only wish that I'd done more strength and conditioning activities, especially on my arms - who'd have known lifting a little baby could be so much hard work?
Exercising wholst you are pregnant is some thing you need to be careful about, im not saying dont exercise if it is what you are used to but dont go from being a couch potato before your pregnancy to trying to run marothons wholst pregnant because this could cause all sorts of problems.
During my first pregnancy i sat on my lazy backside and did as little as possible, well not quite, i did all the usuall daily tasks around the house but not much in the way of physical work, before getting pregnant i went to the gym 3 times a week and boxing twice a week so obviously these were out of the question to the extent i was used to but i stoped exercising all together during my pregnancy.
I realy regretted this after my pregnancy though, i was a size 6 when i got pregnant and a size 12 after the birth, i worked dambed hard for months to drop my weight but it was a realy big struggle, i had achieved a small size 10 by the time i got pregnant with my second child.
My second pregnancy was different, i didnt have time to be lazy, i had a young child to run around after, i had just moved house and boy did my new place need some drastic work, i payed builder to do the main bulk of the work but i did all the gardening and decorating myself aswell as going to the gym still twice a week but just worked less strenuosly, no weights just a gentle run on the tred mill, a gentle cycle on the bike and i used the rowing machine untill i was about 6 months pregnant and my bump got in the way.
This never did me any harm or my baby, my baby was born earlier and weighed heavier than my first child so no ill effects there and i came out of my pregnancy a size 8.
I had a home birth, my midwife laughed at me just after i had had the baby when i got a pair of my pre pregnancy jeans out of the wardrobe to wear and told me not to be upset if they didnt fit, they didnt, they were too big.
Im not saying it will be the same for everyone but surely doing at least a little exercise will help to burn off excess fat and keep your physical fitness and stamena up for the birth.
A gentle stroll each day wont kill you.
walking, i found, did me a world of good when i was pregnant. a simple stroll with my husband daily after his work really kept me feeling good, less tired, and more energetic. i had a very easy birth, my first, with no meds and a 40 minute delivery. i really think this was due to my schedule of strolls. i didn't retain any weight at all after the birth cause i started walking again soon after. genetically, women in my family tend to gain loads of weight easily, have horrible deliverys, diet a lot, and do more strenuous and complicated exercises which do them little good. i find that a stroll, not a jog or a power walk, just a simple talk and walk, getting fresh air, taking your time and not rushing, it really does help clear the cobwebs. it takes time out to talk to your husband, friends, mom, and you can enjoy it rather than feel like you're actually exercising.
Exercise during pregnancy is a very individual thing. All I can tell you is my experience and say as some one who graduated i sport science if you have never done any exercise then just going for light walks around the block will be great combined with your pelvic floor exercise- all midwives will explain this one, it involves clenching the bum cheeks and pulling your internal muscles upwards. Imagine trying to stand in a correct posture. Basically only do what your body can cope with everyone should know their bodies limitations. As for myself. Well I was fit to start with I would not have got through a sports degree without being so. My husband and I also own a stable yard and have 60 acres of land to manage. As he has a day job then even though I was pregnant and I mean even the day before I gave birth it was up to me to drive the land rover over the fields, poo pick the fields, weed spray and make sure the horses (15) had water in the fields. I also had to muck out and do the muck heap. For me it felt natural I knew my bodies limits and when lifting the water containers or hay bales just made sure I bent correctly and lifted slowly and carefully. However for my midwife well I'm suprised she never gave birth for me!! In the end she gave up telling and trusted that I would do nothing too stupid. In the end keeping fit like that was the best thing I did even the midwives agreed. I was 2 weeks late so had to scrap the home birth so went in to hospital. I walked myself down to the labour ward at 6cm dilated and continued to walk through all my contractions until 9 cm gone when I listened to my body and husband and climbed on to the bed and gave birht kneeling up right after a 5 1/2 hour labour. I used no pain relief at all not even gas and air and this was even though Callum was born the wrong way round - his head was down but his spine was against mine which meant that my back spasmed. For me I believe that keeping fit and lis
tening to my body when leading up to the birth and then power of positive thought and mental relaxation techniques helped me to have the calming birthing experience that I wanted. Even though not at home. So what can I tell people. Just listen to your body and do not push yourself beyound what you know you can realistically do.
Pregnancy has some weird effects on the body - it makes you more tired, lazy, lethargic and apathetic than I could ever have though possible. I used to be full of energy, now I want to hide in the duvet all day and even dragging myself to the computer is a strain. It can be very easy to 'take lots of rest' if your lifestyle/family/workload permits. If you have a lot to keep up with, the thought of expending precious energy on exercise can be a touch daunting. However, bearing in mind that giving birth is a strenuous activity, I have tried to keep in shape, and have learned a few things along the way. Things you have to give up: As your breasts swell up, it becomes totally impossible to do anything that involves running. Engorged breasts swing about in unpleasant ways and maternity bras just aren't equal to sports. Jogging is out, even short runs soon become tricky (unless you manage to stay flat chested, but lets face it, most women don't.)Save yourself some pain and don't try this at home! Contact sports. This has been a hard one for me as I love fighting - sword, axe, that sort of thing. Fortunately, most of the guys in my re-enactment group have been really understanding and I keep training but don't do any of the more risky bits. Think carefully about carrying on with any sort of team sports - accidents do happen and you will probably never be able to forgive yourself if the bump gets a bump. Then, as pregnancy progresses, your heart rate goes up and your lung capacity is reduced - its like you have to jog everywhere in a low oxygen environment - even a gentle walk will be a lot more effort than it sued to be. This can be really off putting. What can you do? I've found that I need frequent little rests, so I try to look for activities where I know I will be able to stop and sit down. Walking is really good - gentle, easy to stop, not too much strain, and no 'bouncing.' Swimming is also excellent, if you can face
parading your expanding tum - many pools do sessions for mums and mums to be, which can be a lot more comfortable. If the pool is full of women with bumps, there's no need to feel self-conscious. Tai Chi is really nice as this doesn't require anything strenuous, and does help you learn some relaxation and breathing control - useful for when the big day comes. I've also heard good things about yoga, but have been warned that you need to know if the teacher can cope with pregnant women - some yoga exercises are totally unsuitable if there's a bump in the equation. I've found that trying to stay active does help - I feel more like a normal person because I've retained a fair amount of my pre-pregnancy life. Every time I manage to get out and do something, I feel a sense of achievement, and you get lots of nice feelings in your body when you've done something physical. I'm not so bad about wanting to crawl under a rock and hide all the time (this may be an unfamiliar Gloucestershire-ism, it means wanting to totally retreat from the world, in case it is new to anyone.) The first three months are worst in terms of having no energy, then later on your bump stops you from breathing so easily, even though you will feel more inclined to be active. You don't have to stay super fit, but if you can manage to potter about, get some movement in, stretch your legs and the like, you will feel a lot better for it, and your body will be much better able to cope with the stresses and strains of giving birth. I know it isn't easy, and as far as I can tell, moderation is the key. Take it easy, don't push yourself too hard, but try to struggle out of the duvet every now and then, because it really does seem to pay off.
This was recommended by my midwife...and it certainly worked. Yoga does many things so first find a class that has an experienced teacher and used to teaching pregnant women. It strengthens all muscles preparing your body for the labour and then birth and giving help towards a quick recovery afterwards. Very relaxing, helps to ease the worries that you may be having and also helps induce a good nights sleep. There will be some moves that they recommend you don't do due to the obvious and others which will be highly recommended to try at home aswell to ease the labour and pain of birth. Although I had a Caesarean section, the yoga still aided a quick recovery and am glad to say it was an exercise I could continue shortly after the operation as many moves were okay for my recovering scar.
I have never been one to go over-board about exercising, so when I became pregnant I wasn't especially fit. I did, however take up yoga which did me the world of good. Although I had been to the occasional class, I didn't start going properly until I was about 28-30 weeks pregnant. The class was a beginners one and the teacher was very professional, knowing exactly what positions you should and should not be doing when pregnant. As a result of practising yoga during my pregnancy, I learnt breathing techniques not taught at most ante-natal classes and also became more supple. I felt better within myself and I'm sure that is one of the reasons I've got an eight month old who is very content (everyone comments on the fact they've never heard him cry!). There are lots of postures which are great for pregnant women, especially those which involve stretching the perenium and increasing blood-flow to your pelvis. Using yoga during labour can sometimes quicken the birth and definately make you more comfortable during contrations. I believe that one of the main reasons I didn't tear or need an episiotomy is because I was doing positions during pregnancy in which my perenium was being stretched (also thanks to a great midwife!). The breathing practised also helped me to keep calm and in control for most of my labour. Yoga is a great form of exercise to do during while pregnant, provided you go to a class with a qualified teacher who knows what you aren't meant to do. It doesn't necessarily have to be an ante-natal yoga class though. It really helps you to tune into your unborn baby and will benefit you in many ways- if you're lucky enough it may even shorten your labour.
While I was pregnant I walked and walked and walked, up hills, down hills and on the flat. I did this from start to finish, without a clue as to how valuable this would prove to be. I certainly wasn't looking to be ultrafit and back into little black dresses the day after giving birth or especially worried about my health. As it turns out, my baby decided that she would rather have a hospital ceiling as her first view of the world. It wasn't until very late on in labour that anybody realised this, but I couldn't very easily sit down and the pressure on my back throughout was certainly memorable so I ended up spending over 16 hours dancing (yes, honestly DANCING) around the labour room as a form of pain relief! It was thanks to all that walking that I could do this and it really worked at keeping me relaxed and breathing properly. (I'm not talking about the latest Steps routine here, by the way, just sort of waltzing!). I am convinced that wlaking also helped to keep my ankles from swelling too much and reducing the risk of blood clots in my legs. It's free, clears the cobwebs and does wonders to keep stress at bay.
The most important exercise any women can do(especially when pregnant) is the pelvic floor exercises. When pregnant the weight of your baby puts a huge strain on your pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles are a group of internal muscles which consists of a "hammock" of muscles which are found as the base of the pelvis and support your abdominal contents. Their job is to keep your front and back passages closed when you are not on the toilet. Because of the strain during pregnancy and then the enormous pressure of childbirth it is important to strengthen these muscles during pregnancy. Possible effects of ignoring these vital muscles include: stress incontinence, where you wee yourself when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise, Prolapse, when your womb drops down into your birth passage, feeling like you cannot control your back passage and reduced sexual pleasure for both yourself and your partner. This is why it is so important to do these exercises, you do them little and often, you can not do them "too much", you can do them anywhere as they consist of internal muscles, though I tend to get a funny look on my face when I do them!!! So here goes, do them with me now: Think hard about the muscles, draw your vagina inwardsand upwards like you trying to stop yourself having a wee. While doing this, tighten up your back passage, like you are trying to stop yourself farting. DO NOT HOLD YOU BREATHE WHILST DOING THIS. Now you can recognise the muscles, draw them all up, imagine they are a lift and go up to the first floor, hold it there. Now go up to the second floor, and hold. And the third, hold, then release slowly and drop down to the "ground floor". Repeat these exercise 6 or 7 times, and repeat the whole thing at least 10 times a day. It is also useful to do fast contractions too: Do these by quickly
tensing and releasing the muscles. Do it ten times. It is importnat to keep breathing through the exercise, do not hold you breath, keep your tummy muscles and bottom muscles relaxed. If you carry out these exercise, you will strengthen the all important pelvic floor which will help you so much in later life. I apologise to anyone who is offended by the language used or content of this opinion, but as it is such an important subject Im sure you'll all forgive me!
One of the most important excercises for a woman whilst she is pregnant (or indeed at any time even for woman who have yet to bear children) has got to be the pelvic floor excercises. On this subject I am unfortunetly speaking from experience, be warned ladies don't let what I am about to tell you happen to you! I have a ten month old son and whilst pregnant was very lazy and yes I admit it nonchalent about doing my pelvic floors, I would do them occasionally (not good enougth!!) I walked I thought, thats enougth excercise, I am pregnant after all!!! My biggest mistake. After the birth (I had a complicated ventouse, lots of stitches) I fell into the trap of being 'too tired' or 'too busy' to do my pelvic floors, again I did them when I thought about them, which wasnt often! My second biggest mistake! I thought I had got away with it as I didnt seem to have any problems...... Wrong!! Now after ten months, if I laugth, cough, sneeze, run or simply try to do excercise (dancing) for example, I quite literally wet myself. A very embarising problem which as I'm sure you will agree simply couldnt be ignored. So it was with great embarisement on my part and some tutting (she was also sympathetic) from my gp that I finally admitted thatI was experiencing difficulties as it were. I have come away with a detailed step by step guid to doing my pelvic floor exercises, with strict instructions to DO THEM REGULARLY! If after two months of doing these properly I still have problems I will have to be referred to the hospital incontinence unit for some form of physiotherapy (I don't even want to contemplate what that involves as I dont intend to have to get that far, I WILL do them this time!!) I thought I would pass on how to do these excercises properly as they are so vitally important for your well being, don't end up like me! Firstly, let me explain what your pelvic floor actually is..... It is layers of muscle which stret
ch rather like a hammock from your pubic bone to the bottom of your backbone. These muscles help to hold your bladder, womb and bowel in place. It also helps to close your bladder outlet and your backpassage. These muscles are kept firm and ever so slightly tense in order to prevent leakage of urine from your bladder or faeces from your bowel. whilst you are passing water or a motion these relax and then tighthen again once you have stopped. Childbirth, lack of excercise, the change of life and even just getting older are all contributing factors to a weakened pelvic floor resulting in, as I found, weak muscles with hardly any control which inevitably results in urine leakage when sneezing, coughing, excercising etc. The pelvic floor excercises help by strenthening the pelvic floor muscles thus enabling them to give the oh so vital support. This improves your bladder control and ultimetly stops urine leakage. The more you use and excercise them the more efficent they will become. It is important to learn that you are doing these excercises correctly as doing them wrong can be as bad as not doing them. The following is a checklist which I have copied from the leaflet my gp gave me: 1. Sit comfortably with your knees slighly apart, imagine you are trying to stop yourself passing wind. To do this you must squeeze the muscle around the back passage. You should be able to feel the muscle move. your buttocks and legs should not move. You should be aware of the skin around your back passage tightening and being pulled up and away from your chair. 2. Now imagine you are passing urine, picture yourself trying to stop the stream of urine. You should be using the same group of muscles. You may find this excercise harder than excercie 1. 3. Next time you go to the toilet to pass urine, try the stop test about halfway through emptying your bladder. Once you have stopped the flow of urine, relax again and allow the bladder to em
pty completely. You may find you are only able to slow down the stream, Don't worry; your muscles will improve and strengthen with time and excercise. If the stream of urine speeds up when you try this excercise, you are squeezing the wrong muscles. DO NOT get into the habit of doing the 'stop test' every time you pass urine. This excercise should be done only once a day. THE MAIN RULE BEING PRACTISE YOUR EXCERCISES!! Do them every time you feed your baby, answer the phone, touch water, whatever you do frequently basically. Keep these excercises up for life and you should not have any problems. If like me you have a weak pelvic floor, it will be weeks, maybe even months before you notice any real improvement so don't be put off, stick to it!! Me? I'm off to do some pelvic floors!! I will leave an incontinence helpline number for any of you who need advice: The Incontinence information helpline Open Monday - Friday, 2 - 7 pm 091 213 0050 REMEMBER LADIES.... DO YOUR PELVIC FLOORS!
I am a lazybones, I admit it, I hated sport at school, and try to avoid exercise if at all possible. However I live on the top of two massive steep hills, there is no way to get anywhere than to go down the hill and then invariably plough up it again! So picture the scence if you will: A hugely pregnant woman pushing her strapping toddler up the hill in a lovely heavy pram, (I might add that the only response I got from this was ridicule from a woman, who should have known better! - and never once an offer of assistance). Later on in my pregnacy I started to suffer from a bad back and had to see a physiotherapist, who informed me that I had seperated a couple of ligaments in my back, and should wear crutches!! Impossible as the hill does not cater for crutch users! So day in day out I ploughed up that hill, and that in my opinion is a good form of exericise! OBVIOUSLY I don't advocate stout hill walking at all! TIPS FOR AN EASIER PREGNANCY & LABOUR 1. Get out and about, long walks and fresh air is a lovely form of mild exerice that keeps the pregnant woman fit. It's probably an idea to plan ahead for toilet stops in late pregnancy, as the baby pushes down on the bladder alot. 2. When bending, bend from the knees (a sort of straight backed squat) this will save your back - and with a bump, bending from the waist gets quite painful. 3. FOR ALL YOU RESTLESS LEG SUFFERS OUT THERE. I had this with both my pregnancies and can sympathesis totally, this condition is completely maddening and can drive you around the twist, I recommend going on all fours or kneeling over the sofa, this is one position that will give you relief for a short while. Another brilliant idea is to buy a beanbag (£30 Bentalls - the best one I saw on the markt), which brings me to my next tip. 4. OPTIMAL FETAL POSITIONING. Or in other words trying to get the baby to lie in the best posi
tion for an easy labour. As I have said above I suffered from Restless Legs so would spend much of my day slumped front down on my beanbag, the all fours position is great to manouvre the baby into the head down front facing position. This means there is not so much hard work to do on L day! and will cut your labour time down too. I had easy, quick labours which I can put down to the fact that I spent my pregnancy looking like a cow, grazing at pasture! However a quick note: Try not to do this for more than a couple of hours a day, because it is possible in this position to damamge your pelvis (weight of the baby on pelvis when resting in the all fours position). 5 A QUICK BIRTH? I've had two labours, spent my 1st on the bed, like a scared rabbit - it was quick but I felt out of control. With my second I stood for the majority of the labour, between contractions I rested on my beanbag which I had placed on the top of the bed, I then slumped over the bag in a standing up position in the painfree moments, this was fantastic, I could pace with my feet during the contractions, and I felt totally in control and really peaceful. So there you go! Gentle exercise and positioning tricks can help you through the difficult times. I hope it helps.
When pregnant, you can forget the stigma of having "wobbly" bits when going to the gym. Throw away your leotard, and look forward to exercising the gentler way. The best reasons for exercising when pregnant are, firstly you can cope with the actual pregnancy better, especially the strains the extra weight can put on you. (you will actually gain less weight, and lose the excess weight quicker after the birth). Secondly, the fitter you are, the easier your labour should be, and finally, being fit will help you cope with the demands a newborn baby can place on you. Also in some cases it can reduce nausea, upset stomach and the other side of the coin, constipation. The exercise does not have to rigorous. Walking or swimming is excellent. When I was pregnant I found that swimming was a relief in a way as the water held the weight of my ever increasing bump, and the exercise helped me to sleep better. Three times a week was more than enough. On one of these sessions, I attended Aquanatal class, and I found this less boring than just swimming back and forward. It is very similar to aerobics, just at a slower pace, and fewer harsh movements as the water cushions you. Please try to keep away from dangerous sports such as horse riding, use your common sense. A word of warning though, you must see a doctor of you encounter any of these symptoms: Increased nausea or vomiting. Loss of blood Swelling of the limbs, especially the ankles. Pain in the abdomen Lastly, enjoy!