Preparing your body for baby and motherhood

Pregnancy is an interesting phase of a woman’s life. There are major changes happening in your body, but all the focus is on the new little being growing inside.

All the preparation is about making baby’s environment as comfortable and nourishing as possible. Whether it’s about what food you should and shouldn’t eat, or what colour the nursery should be and which pram is the best to buy.

But what about you – the mom-to-be? Your body is undergoing so many changes at this time. Apart from the obvious ones such as your ever-growing belly and breasts, your body is changing on every level. Your heart, lungs, blood, ligaments, hormone system and metabolism are all changing to support the growth of a new life inside. With these changes come some unwelcome guests…back pain, weight gain and exhaustion.

Worry not! These visitors can all be sent packing if you just exercise during your pregnancy. Exercise in pregnancy has been shown to help you control your weight gain; it lowers the incidence of pregnancy related back pain and improves your energy and mood. Weight training is also important in pregnancy, not only because you it makes your stronger, but also because it helps improve your bone density. During pregnancy, Calcium is drawn from your body to baby’s which makes your bones that bit more brittle. By doing weight-bearing exercises such as squats and lunges, you help maintain the necessary activity in your bones which in turn maintains your bone integrity.

Exercising in your pregnancy helps you prepare for the physical demands of labour. Your endurance is improved and results in an easier, shorter and less complicated labour. Your body is able to build it’s cardiovascular reserve – this means that your body is able to respond quicker and better to a situation where there is unexpected blood loss. Your recovery rate is also faster regardless of whether you delivered vaginally or by Caesarian section.

There are instances where exercise in pregnancy is not allowed such as severe anaemia, incompetent cervix and if you have a cervical stitch in place. However, if you are training with a program that screens you prior to joining, such as Preggi Bellies, then we are able to assess if you can train or not.

Support your body as it goes through this life changing event ( it’s the only body you have! ) and will help make you be a fit, strong mom in more ways than one!

By Dr Etti Barsky (MBBCh, MSC Sports Science), the training director of Preggi Bellies SA.

Contact Preggi Bellies by visiting www.preggibellies.co.za