Weight Management During Pregnancy - Why Our Opinion Counts
Leading Fitness Expert Jane Wake Comments on the NICE guidelines on Weight Management during Pregnancy...
As stakeholders in this guidance, we were able to comment on specific detail on the guidance draft and are very happy to say that all of our comments were taken on board! Thanks to all parties and associates of Body A-Wake Ltd who supported me to bring these comments to NICE.
We are therefore very much behind this guidance and believe this to be a positive step towards encouraging women to be healthier during the pre-conception, pregnancy and postnatal period. At last we finally have the full support of influential leaders when it comes to exercising during pregnancy. No more should women be stared at in the gym, or seen as an oddity when exercising in the park. Finally we can do away with the scare mongering tactics of the tabloid press who paint a negative picture of women who exercise during pregnancy – labelling us as fanatics who are desperate to stay in shape and not pile on too many pounds. This guidance reinforces our philosophy on encouraging women to partake in healthy forms of moderate to lightly vigorous exercise. And if you don’t want to read the full guidance, written below are my top tips to help you stay in shape. For further information go to Baby A-Wake Complete Antenatal and Postnatal Exercise and Wellbeing DVD.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
-Exercise moderately - where you can comfortably talk, for at least 30 minutes daily. Try to make this continuous and if you are new to exercise, start off with 10 minutes, adding 1 - 2 minutes each week. Walking, swimming and antenatal programmes are ideal.
- Do pelvic floor exercises - your pelvic floor lies between your pubic bone and your tail bone – imagine you could pull those two points together and lift them up inside you - pull up slowly and release x 10, 3 times, daily.
- Watch your posture and use your tummy muscles to support your back and help you get back into shape more quickly after birth - imagine your belly button is a lift going back horizontally with 5 floors. Lift back towards your baby, 5th floor being as far as you can pull in. Release and repeat, 10 times, 3 times daily.
- When active use your pelvic floor and tummy muscles to support your back and make you feel more comfortable - see tips above but think about pulling up to just 2nd floor with your tummy whilst you move around.
- Take time to relax and breathe, deeply and slowly - breathing can be the biggest helper to you in childbirth and understanding how to use slow deep breaths and gentle movement during childbirth is a great way to relieve pain.
- Don't exercise to extremes, research shows that little and often gives better results than harder, less frequent exercise.
- Don't do any exercise after the first trimester that could result in abdominal trauma - Ball sports (tennis, netball, football etc), horse riding and skiing are out, instead think of exercising in safe environments where you can control what goes on - be wary of cycling.
- Don't train for a sports event - switch your focus to exercising for YOU and YOUR baby.
- Don't do ab crunches - these can course excessive strain to your torso during pregnancy and could make your abs less flat after birth.
- Don't scuba dive or go to high altitudes (6000 ft)
- You are currently advised to not exercise lying on your back after the first trimester.
- Don't continue to exercise if you have any of the following symptoms. Stop immediately and seek medical attention - Dizziness or fainting, vaginal bleeding, sudden water discharge, signs of Labour, headaches, decreased fetal movement, chest pain, calf pain or swelling
- Don't exercise if you feel any pain, STOP immediately, change what you are doing and if the pain persists, seek professional help.
- Don't over stretch or push too hard - your joints are less stable and more vulnerable due to hormones. Take care in what you do.
-Check with your GP or midwife before you start exercising.
-Drink plenty of water daily – 2 – 3 litres.
-Stay cool and wear comfortable clothing.
-Go to specific antenatal exercise programmes where the instructors are specifically trained to help you.
-Keep it simple and easy to follow.
-Get plenty of sleep.
-Eat healthily and regularly, you only need around 300 additional calories daily but you want to make sure these are from good healthy sources.
-Exercise with other pregnant mums, sharing your thoughts and feelings with other new mums is as important as the exercise itself.
-Listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, STOP.
TOP 5 BENEFITS TO EXERCISING MUMS AND BABIES
-Exercising mums feel less tired and can cope with the pains of pregnancy (nausea, back pain etc) more easily.
-Likely to have a shorter labour so less stressful and harmful to both mother and baby.
-Exercising mums regain their pre pregnancy figures in half the time.
-Babies are born, leaner, healthier - i.e. have a more ideal body fat weight at birth.
-Research is starting to show that babies of exercising Mums tend to be less colicky, calmer more relaxed babies and even show greater levels of intelligence.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR EXERCISING POST BABY
-As soon as you feel able, start doing pelvic floor and gentle tummy exercises as given in our top 5 pregnancy exercise tips. Your midwife will let you know when it’s ok to start these.
-Start with gentle walks before doing any vigorous activity - walking with the pram daily for 10 minutes and building up 3 - 5 minutes each week is ideal.
-As soon as your midwife/gp says it's ok (usually after your 6 week check), start to resume more vigorous activity, such as swimming, cycling walking and running etc. Your prenatal programme is ideal to start with or try a specific postnatal programme such as the Baby A-Wake DVD Baby A-Wake Complete Antenatal and Postnatal Exercise and Wellbeing DVD.
- Focus on hollowing abdominal exercises NOT ab crunches - lie on your back, knees bent, tailbone on the floor , little hollow in your lower back, take deep breathes and try to connect to your pelvic floor and deep tummy muscles by pulling up inside you and drawing your belly button back to your spine. Keep your spine still (place your fingers under your lower back to check it doesn’t move) repeat 10 - 20 times daily.
- If you are breast feeding, research shows that exercise will not affect your milk supply. Not drinking enough or eating healthy however will. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy whole grain starches such as brown rice and brown bread. Eat lean protein such as chicken and fish and drink lots of water, more when exercising (2 - 3 litres daily).