How to navigate a fear of exercise while pregnant and why Pilates can help

Cutting through the confusion and fear around exercising while pregnant.
Written by
Ashleigh Ormond
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Last updated on
October 10, 2023
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It can be difficult to know how to approach exercise when you’re pregnant — especially when your body is changing quickly and your baby’s safety is front of mind.

But, we also know how important movement is for the health of your body and mind. So, to help cut through the confusion and fear around exercising while pregnant, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Keep it Cleaner.

And, with the help of their expert physiotherapist, Ashleigh Ormond, have created a list of tips that can help make it easier to navigate moving your body while pregnant. 

Exercise is beneficial for both you and bub

Try to remember that exercise is great for you and your unborn baby.

In fact, the current research from the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (RANZCOG) says that exercising during is pregnancy is not only safe, but it can help promote muscle strength, positively impact your mood and energy, assist with sleep quality, and help with common aches and pains related to pregnancy. 

Remember movement recommendations 

It’s recommended that you aim to be physically active on most days of the week. If you’re working out with KICBUMP, we recommend aiming to engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week — this works out to be around 30 minutes per day.

Try aiming for two strengthening exercises per week on non-consecutive days but be sure to have medical clearance from your doctor. 

Try guided exercises 

If you’re not sure where to start, guided exercise classes are the best way to get moving — whether it’s online or in person.

If you’re keen to workout from the comfort of your own home, KICBUMP is here for you. And, KIC’s Pilates instructor, Christina Traychevska, was pregnant at the time of recording the KICBUMP program, which means you’ll be working out alongside another mama. 

Listen to your body 

It’s important to stay in tune with what your body needs and wants during pregnancy. If you’re feeling a little low on energy, try going for a walk or doing a gentle pregnancy yoga practice.

When your energy levels are at their peak, try something that pushes you a little more. There’s no need to stick to a firm schedule when it comes to exercise during pregnancy — simply go with how you’re feeling and adapt the movement to suit your mood. 

Try Pilates for body and mind benefits

Prenatal Pilates is a great way to move your body during pregnancy as it allows you to reap all of the benefits of a typical Pilates session but also has a focus on movements that are safe for pregnancy and that support your growing bump.

Prenatal Pilates classes are often a little slower and have an emphasis on activating your pelvic floor muscles and working on your posture.

This is why the Keep it Cleaner team created the KICBUMP prenatal Pilates program — to help expectant mums strengthen their lower body, upper body and glutes with pregnancy-safe exercises that will leave you feeling your best. 

Some of the many benefits of prenatal Pilates include:

  • Core and pelvic floor strengthening: Changes in your posture and hormones, coupled with the weight of your growing baby, can impact your pelvic floor muscles. Pilates workouts can help strengthen these muscles, which in turn can help prepare you for a smoother recovery in the postpartum period. 
  • Lower body and glute strengthening: Maintaining strength in your lower body during pregnancy is important, especially as you begin to support more weight from the baby and placenta. Prenatal Pilates focuses on keeping these muscles strong and helps to stabilise the pelvis, which is important given that the ligaments that support our joints can become more flexible and therefore offer less support than usual.
  • Posture improvements: Your posture can change significantly during pregnancy as your body accommodates for your growing bump. The movements in prenatal Pilates can help support this change by maintaining strength in the upper and middle back as well as the core and lower body. 

Each person’s pregnancy journey will be different, which is why you need to listen to your body when it comes to exercising while pregnant. It’s completely understandable if you have some fear related to exercising during pregnancy but know that it’s not only recommended but can have major benefits to your body and mind (hello endorphins!). 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that only you know your body and what feels good. If walking or gentle exercise is all you feel like doing while pregnant, go with it! Be sure to check in with your healthcare provider and get medical clearance before commencing any prenatal exercise programs like KICBUMP.

For workouts, exercise tips and healthy recipes, head over to our friends at KIC

Photo credit: Getty Images

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