Pregnancy should be a joyous time in your life as you prepare to welcome the newest member into your now expanding family. However, for pregnant women, the year 2020 has yet to feel joyous as the anxiety and stress of the coronavirus comes to the forefront of every pregnant woman’s mind. Exercises during pregnancy should be a key part of your week.
Now that the United Kingdom has lockdown the country, pregnant woman all over must come up with creative ways to stay active during social isolation. For most, this is the last thing they would have ever dreamed to have to deal with during pregnancy!
Doctors often recommend pregnant women should accumulate about 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.1 These 30 minutes can be accumulated throughout the day, in short bursts of say 10-15 minutes each, rather than a continuous 30-minute cycle of exercise. Some of the benefits of 30 minutes of exercise include: reducing back and pelvic pain, reducing constipation/bloating/swelling, preventing excessive weight gain, lowering risk of gestational diabetes, and even shortening labor time; however most importantly, in times of self-isolation, exercise provides very important psychological benefits like reducing fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression.1,2 In times like these, exercise is critical for the maintenance of good prenatal health, and let’s be real – critical for your sanity.
So, what can we do TODAY at home, to start to combat the rising tides of stress and anxiety?
Why not throw a dance party! Dancing is a wonderful way to aerobically exercise and raise the heart rate. You can either dance alone while making dinner, while folding laundry, or even while group chatting with other fellow pregnant friends. All you need is your phone and some of your favourite music cranked up.
Walking is another important form of exercise that is still allowed during self-isolation. However, make sure you follow all necessary UK governmental information regarding lockdown procedures and protocols in your area.
Getting outside of the house, stepping into the sun and smelling the flowers can do wonders for your health and mental well-being. You don’t have to go far from your home, but just remember, stay at least 2 meters away from others (think length of the average twin size bed) and wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water immediately upon returning home.
Lastly, here are some pregnancy safe exercises that can be performed by any pregnant women in any stage of their pregnancy, whether that may be their first, second, or third semester.
As a musculoskeletal/women’s health physiotherapist and a clinical Pilates instructor, whom is also conveniently pregnant during these crazy times, my heart goes out to all my other fellow pregnant women. However, here is to all pregnant women coming together to get through all of this. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me Holly Sandelands at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Artal, R. and O’toole, M., 2003. Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. British journal of sports medicine, 37(1), pp.6-12.
- Evenson, K.R., Barakat, R., Brown, W.J., Dargent-Molina, P., Haruna, M., Mikkelsen, E.M., Mottola, M.F., Owe, K.M., Rousham, E.K. and Yeo, S., 2014. Guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy: comparisons from around the world. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 8(2), pp.102-121.
- Irion, J.M., Irion, G.L., Lewis, K. and Giglio, M., 2012. Current trends of physical therapy interventions for high-risk pregnancies. Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, 36(3), pp.143-157.