Yoga is one of many exercises that are beneficial during pregnancy. 
Image accredited to lululemon athletica, on flickr

Maintaining fitness is important to improving health, improving your mood and self-image, but when pregnant there are also additional benefits.

Exercise during pregnancy can help prevent problems such a pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, as well as many other physical and mental demands of being pregnant, though choosing the best activities is a foremost concern.

Regular exercise can help you deal with many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy, including back ache, fatigue and constipation. Staying fit and healthy will also prepare you for the demands of labour and help to keep mother and baby well.

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

When pregnant, it’s best to avoid activities where you might be thrown off-balance or have a hard fall on your belly. Sports to steer clear of include horse-riding, cycling, skiing, gymnastics and water skiing.

Diving is also unsafe during pregnancy. Scuba divers must decompress as they return to the surface of the water, and developing babies may have difficulty decompressing.

Ball sports are also risky as you may be hit in the stomach.

Exercises for a healthy pregnancy

Don’t overdo it when you’re pregnant, but aim to exercise for about 30 minutes, 3 times a week. As a rule, you should be able to hold a normal conversation while you’re exercising.

Exercising too often may make you more likely to give birth to a small baby, while high-impact workouts may put too much stress on your joints and pelvic floor muscles.

Great pregnancy exercises include yoga, walking, spinning and going to the gym. Water based sports such as swimming and water aerobics are also suitable and enjoyable.

Getting out in the countryside to go some activities in the fresh air is also beneficial for pregnancy, so if you fancy some adventure, go for a short hike or enjoy some kayaking.

Running during pregnancy tends to lead to leaner babies and shorter labour. Although jogging is fine for part of your pregnancy, your health care provider will probably advise you to stop jogging if you are experiencing any pregnancy complications.

If there is anything you’re unsure about, check with your health care provider for specific recommendations.

Keeping to an exercise regime and maintaining a healthy pregnancy will make it easier to control weight gain, so that reaching your ideal figure after giving birth is not as tough as you might think.

What are your favourite pregnancy exercises?