Historically exercising during pregnancy has been frowned upon as childbirth is considered to be a high-risk time in terms of health. For centuries women have been told to rest during pregnancy.
However, experts are now concerned that too much rest during pregnancy may not, in fact, be such a good idea.
Historically, you may have heard the term ‘lying in’ used which involves limiting movement by remaining in bed or seated for the majority of the day. For centuries, doctors routinely advised limiting movement in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy or postpartum complications. However, this stationary effect can potentially cause harm.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
During pregnancy, blood plasma can increase by up to 40-50% along with changes to clotting ability. These changes help to provide nutrients for the foetus and also help to safeguard against excessive bleeding during labour. However, prolonged periods of immobility significantly increase the chances of developing clotting issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
A DVT is a serious condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein within the body, commonly the leg. The symptoms of a blood clot can include pain, swelling and tenderness in the area along with a heavy ache and warm, inflamed skin.
This condition is very serious and requires emergency treatment.
The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy can bring with it many benefits both physically and for mental well being. There is evidence to suggest that active women are less likely to experience issues in later pregnancy and in labour.
Building a regular exercise habit can help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression whilst also increasing self-confidence and mood.
If you do choose to exercise during pregnancy then you should aim to still be able to carry out a conversation. If you become breathless, then you are pushing too hard and will need to slow down to a safer level. Exercise does not need to be strenuous to still be beneficial.
Questions About Rest During Pregnancy
If you are unsure how much you should exercise, or rest during pregnancy, or if you have any other concerns, then please get in touch with our friendly team. We can give you advice and organise an appointment with one of our Pregnancy Service consultant gynaecologists.