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Yoga and pilates during pregnancy: can I do continue or start?

It is a well known fact that pregnancy and labour will be easier if you’re in good shape. But it is not a good idea to you to start a whole new workout routine in your first trimester. If you workout already, check with your doctor, but it’s usually okay to keep it up through your first trimester.  The best exercise for the first trimester is walking and stretching on a daily basis.

Your blood volume increases during pregnancy by 50 percent. Your heart rate, even at rest, will be higher as a result of this extra blood. The additional blood volume causes you to breathe deeper and faster. Your blood pressure may drop. You may find exercising in the first trimester more difficult.

Your cardiac output increases. It’s about 30 to 40 percent higher than it was before you got pregnant. You can safely do 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most days.  Activities that don't put any pressure on your joints, loose ligaments, or pelvic floor such as walking, swimming, riding a stationary bike and low-impact aerobics are perfect options as your pregnancy progresses. You are working out too hard and need to slow down or lower the intensity, if you can't hold a conversation while exercising.

It’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to cool down as your heart rate will be much higher than your pre-pregnant state. It may take up to 15 minutes to cool down. Never work out to the point of exhaustion. Stop when you start feeling tired.

Generally, it is safe to do yoga in pregnancy. Stay well-hydrated and avoid yoga that is performed at hot temperatures.

Pilates is a non-impact workout that focuses on your core, increasing flexibility, strength and muscle tone. Practising pilates on a regular basis can improve posture, alleviate backaches, and ultimately help with labour and delivery. Pilates will give a boost to your mood and energy level. Choose a prenatal class or let the instructor know you're pregnant so they can help you modify or skip any risky moves.

Remember, once you’re in your second trimester, you should avoid exercising on your back. Your uterus can press on the vena cava, which is the main vein that carries blood from your lower body to your heart. Compressing it can interfere with the blood flow to you and baby.

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