PREGNANCY

Physical activity during the pregnancy

Fysisk aktivitet under graviditeten - engelskaThe content concerns Jönköpings län

It is good to exercise and stay active when you are pregnant. It makes you feel better. It can also prevent and help with certain pregnancy symptoms. Physical activity is also a good way to prepare the body for the delivery. You will also get back into shape more easily after the pregnancy.

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This text is about how you should move during the pregnancy, what you should think about and what you should avoid.

The body changes - Kroppen förändras

During pregnancy, your body changes quickly. You are affected by hormones and you gain weight. You have more blood in your body and a greater need of oxygen. Your metabolism changes and your body temperature is affected. Your centre of gravity changes and your abdominal muscles are stretched out.

The body can handle these changes better if you stay active and mobile.

What is meant by physical activity? - Vad menas med fysisk aktivitet?

Physical activity is any activity where several of your large muscle groups get to work at the same time.

Physical activity can be sports and exercise, such as football or weightlifting.

It can also be everyday activities such as walks, outdoor life, gardening and cycling.

What activities are good during the pregnancy? - Vilka aktiviteter är bra under graviditeten?

Choose a physical activity that you enjoy and that suits you.

Other than moving and staying active in your daily life, it is also good to exercise. Each exercise session should begin with a warmup and end with cooling down.

Fitness training

You can do fitness training in the same way as before you were pregnant. Fitness training means exercise that makes you breathe harder. However, in the first three months of the pregnancy, you must avoid getting too warm. Dress in thin, light clothing. Drink plenty of fluids both during and after exercising.

Remember that your heart beats a little faster during pregnancy. This means that your pulse is not the same as usual during exercise. It can be difficult to measure the intensity of the training with the help of your pulse.

Strength training

It is good to exercise the muscles of the pelvic floor. Exercising these muscles can help prevent urine leakages. Contact a physiotherapist if you need help with training exercises.

It is good to exercise your back and abdominal muscles, but also legs and arms. Remember not to lift anything too heavy. It is better to do more repetitions with lighter weights.

Mobility training

After you have completed fitness or strength training, it is good to stretch your muscles. When you are pregnant, your muscles and joints are more flexible. You should therefore be careful when you stretch and bend.

Relaxation

When you are pregnant, physical exercise is not the only important thing. Relaxation is also important. Meditation, yoga or qui gong are examples of ways to relax. You can also practice relaxation at home:

  • Lie down comfortably on the floor.
  • Use pillows for support if you want.
  • Breathe calmly and allow every little muscle in your body to relax.
  • Then tighten the muscles and note the difference between tension and relaxation.
  • Listen to calming music that helps you find the right mindset.

How much should I exercise? - Hur mycket ska jag röra på mig?

You should do physical exercise at least 2.5 hours per week. The activity should be spread out, so that you exercise at least 3 times per week.

If you have never exercised before

Start with a short exercise session or a lighter activity. You can start with an exercise session of 10–15 minutes. Exercise 1–3 times per week at first. The goal is 3 times per week.

If you feel good, you can increase the time so that you exercise 30–45 minutes 3 times per week. Try to add more physical activity, so that you activate your body at least 2.5 hours per week. Remember that a little activity is better than none.

If you are used to frequent exercise

If you are an elite athlete or have been very active before you were pregnant, you can usually continue exercising. Your performance will decrease as your belly grows. Pregnancy is not the right state for top performance, and you will need to decrease the activity as your body changes. Consult your doctor, midwife or physiotherapist about how to continue exercising.

Physical activity helps with pregnancy symptoms - Fysisk aktivitet hjälper mot gravidbesvär

Physical activity helps you to feel better during your pregnancy. It is also a good way to prepare the body for childbirth.

It can also prevent and help with certain pregnancy issues. Physical activity can be effective against:

  • back pain and pelvic pain
  • overweight and obesity
  • stress
  • anxiety and depression
  • insomnia
  • tiredness
  • swelling and varicose veins
  • gestational diabetes
  • stretched and weakened abdominal muscles, diastasis recti
  • prolapse
  • urinary and faecal incontinence
  • pre-eclampsia.

Physical activity on prescription - Fysisk aktivitet på recept

You can always contact a physiotherapist, a midwife or a doctor if you have questions about exercise or physical activity during the pregnancy.

You can also discuss with them whether a prescription for physical activity might be right for you. Physical activity by prescription means that you are prescribed physical activity in the same way as a medicine. You will also have help following up on goals and results.

Avoid sitting still - Undvik stillasittande

Don’t sit still for long periods of time. Take short breaks, get up and move around from time to time. It makes a great difference for your body if you can stand up parts of the day instead of sitting.

Is there any form of exercise that I should avoid? - Vad ska jag inte träna?

Avoid activities where there is a risk of you falling and injuring your belly. Remember that you can have trouble with your balance when you are pregnant.

Around half way through your pregnancy, you may need to avoid or be more cautious when it comes to certain activities:

  • Be careful with contact sports. Contact sports mean sports that may involve rough play, such as football or ice hockey.
  • Be careful of sports where you risk falling an injuring your belly, such as downhill skiing, ice-skiting, gymnastics or riding.
  • Avoid diving.
  • Be careful with physical exercise at high altitude, more than 2,500 metres above sea level. There is a risk of the foetus not getting enough oxygen if you exercise at high altitude, and you are not accustomed to this.
  • Avoid lying on your back during exercise. The uterus can put pressure on large blood vessels and cause a blood pressure drop. This means that it is better to sit, stand or lie on your side. You can lie on your back when you are not exercising, as long as you feel comfortable.

When is it not recommended to exercise? - När är det olämpligt att träna?

You may need to consult a doctor or midwife on how to exercise if you are experiencing one or more of the following: 

  • heart trouble or heart disease
  • chronic bronchitis or lung disease
  • high blood pressure
  • eating disorder
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • overweight and obesity
  • anaemia
  • bleeding late in the pregnancy
  • pre-eclampsia.

After pregnancy - Efter graviditeten

It is good to continue the physical activity after giving birth. It makes you feel better. You can always involve the baby in your activities. It is good for your attachment to do things together. 

You can continue right after the birth with walking, pelvic floor exercises and stretching. After your check-up around 6–8 weeks after the birth, it may be a good time to increase the level of activity.

Discuss with a physiotherapist, midwife or doctor what type of activity is best suited if you had complications during the pregnancy or birth.

Don’t forget to eat and drink properly in conjunction with physical activity, especially if you are breastfeeding.

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