The Ultimate Guide to Exercising During Pregnancy: Recommended Exercises from The Mama Physio

Written in collaboration with Jess Jenkins; Pelvic Health Physiotherapist well known as The Mama Physio

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, and maintaining an active lifestyle throughout these transformative months is crucial for the health of both the mother and the baby. Thanks to the expert guidance of The Mama Physio, a renowned Pelvic Floor and Women’s Health Physiotherapist, and creator of MOVE with the Mama Physio we bring you essential tips and exercises to keep you fit and comfortable as you prepare to welcome your little one.

Why Exercise During Pregnancy?

Exercising during pregnancy isn’t just about staying in shape. It's about preparing your body for the demands of labour and ensuring a quicker recovery postpartum. Regular physical activity can significantly enhance your pregnancy experience by improving fitness and reducing risks of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and even prenatal depression.

Getting Started with Exercise

According to The Mama Physio, pregnant women should aim for about 150-300 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week (or a combination of both). If you’re just starting out, it’s okay to begin with 15 minutes a day and gradually increase to 30 minutes. The key is consistency and listening to your body. Use the "Talk Test" to measure the intensity of your workouts. You should be able to carry on a conversation during moderate-intensity activities, but in vigorous-intensity activities, you would find this difficult. Don’t forget to add your pelvic floor exercises daily to prevent and manage pelvic floor issues.

Recommended Exercises

Jess recommends a blend of strength and aerobic activities is ideal:

  • Walking: The easiest way to get your exercise in!
  • Stationary Cycling: Safe and effective at keeping your heart healthy without the strain.
  • Swimming: Excellent for those who want a full-body workout that feels lighter and less strenuous.
  • Pilates and Yoga: These help improve flexibility, keep your pelvic floor and core strong, and prevent back and pelvic pain.
  • Weights: To maintain strength and endurance, which you’ll definitely need during childbirth!

Special Focus: Exercises to Ease Rib Pain in Pregnancy

If you're experiencing upper back or rib pain, a common complaint as your baby grows, The Mama Physio recommends specific exercises to enhance spinal mobility and relieve discomfort:

  • Hip Flexor Stretch with a Side Stretch
  • Four Point Kneel Tail Wag
  • Child’s Pose with Side Stretch
  • Kneeling Mermaid Stretch

Hold each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds

Repeat 1-4 x per day depending on your symptoms

See the whole workout here!

Preparing for Childbirth

As well as being educated and mentally prepared for childbirth, it is important to physically prepare your body! The Mama Physio suggests:

  • Daily pelvic stretches: Using techniques like 90/90 windscreen wipers, adductor rock backs, and child’s pose to open up the pelvis in preparation for labour.
  • Perineal Massage: Starting at 34 weeks to help prevent tears during childbirth.
  • Hydration: Stay hydrated with electrolyte-rich solutions like those from Franjo’s Kitchen to endure the 'marathon' of labour.

Learn more about exercises to prepare for childbirth here!

Core Activation in Pregnancy

Proper core activation is crucial and can be challenging as your body changes. See The Mama Physio demonstrate how to engage your core effectively to support your pregnancy and prevent discomfort:

  • Incorrect Method: Breath-holding, using upper abdominals, or lifting the chest.
  • Correct Method: Engage your pelvic floor and wrap your deep abdominal muscles upwards, as if “hugging and lifting your bump.”

Stay Strong with Sleepybelly

Alongside these exercises, using Sleepybelly’s pregnancy pillow can enhance your comfort during your rest and sleep. Our pillows are designed to support your body as it changes, help to keep you in an optimal sleeping position, and make every rest after an exercise session more restorative.

Exercising during pregnancy is a fantastic way to ensure a healthier and happier pregnancy experience. With these expert tips from The Mama Physio, you’re ready to take on this beautiful challenge.

Stay active, stay safe, and remember, to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen.

If you’re looking for a tailored exercise plan for pregnancy we HIGHLY recommend Move with The Mama Physio! You can get a free trial here and we’ve also got an exclusive discount where you can get 20% off the monthly and yearly memberships using “SLEEPYBELLY” at checkout.

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