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Whilst not wanting to delve into the human physiology at full speed, there are a few considerations with regard to exercise and pregnancy.  When you are pregnant there is a huge amount of change – some might be unrecognisable at times!

Breasts

  • During the early stages they can be tender and sore, which might mean you are not comfortable when lying prone (on your tummy)
  • You might need better support bras when taking part in any activity.  Make sure you have a fitted bra (by a bra-fitting expert if you can), and make sure your regular, everyday bra’s remain comfortable.
  • During the duration of your pregnancy the size and shape of your breasts will alter a lot.  Fatty tissue is laid down, milk-producing tissue is formed – these are all normal changes.

Skin

  • The hormones again play a part in the condition of your skin; some may have quite a change, whilst others notice hardly anything.
  • You may find you get a dark line down the front of your tummy – known as ‘linea negra’.
  • These skin changes revert back after baby is born.
  • Often the facial skin pigmentation changes, known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’.
  • Stretch marks may also appear, usually on the breasts and abdomen, but can also appear on the thighs and hips.  Trying not to gain too much excess weight might help, but genetics and a bit of luck might also help!
  • One change that is important that your skin makes is that you will sweat more easily – the body is able to deal more quickly and efficiently with an increase in body temperature.  You sweat, so you dissipate unwanted heat.

Bladder and kidney changes

  • The combination of the pregnancy hormones and the growing uterus affects the latter – you might feel you need to go to the loo more often.  This is normal and you shouldn’t cut down on your fluid intake.
  • When the weather is warmer, make sure you drink enough water to keep hydrated, and only exercise at moderate levels.
  • At the later stages of your pregnancy you might notices that you naturally retain more water – your feet, ankles and legs may swell.
  • Exercise can help reduce this fluid retention (oedema) by boosting circulation.
  • If possible elevate you legs and avoid standing for long periods.  If you do stand for long periods of time you might find support stockings useful, but don’t expect to be asked out on any dates when wearing them!!!!
  • After the birth some women find that they have stress incontinence (small leaks of urine when they cough, sneeze or laugh.  The inclusion of pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy can help with that.

Insulin

  • Insulin levels also increase during pregnancy and a small number of women develop gestational diabetes (see here).
  • Symptoms include constant thirst and excessive urination.
  • If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes then you will require medical supervision and it being controlled before you are able to resume/start exercising.
  • The condition normally disappears after pregnancy.


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