Keep fit in pregnancy safely and take inspiration from the UK’s top sporting new mums.
It’s been a fantastic year and a bit for women’s sport, from the England football team coming 3rd in the World Cup in Canada to Laura Trott taking her gold medal tally up to four to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian in Rio.
Athletes are proving motherhood is no barrier to success. Dame Sarah Storey won three cycling gold medals at Rio to make her Britain’s most successful Paralympian of the modern era with 14 golds to her name. And Jessica Ennis-Hill won silver in the heptathlon at the Olympics.
Today marks the beginning of Women In Sport Week (October 3-9) celebrating and showcasing women’s sport at every level from grassroots to the very top. There are events taking place across the country aiming to get more women and girls involved in sport.
David Evennett, Minister for Sport said: “Women’s Sport Week highlights the fantastic contribution women have made to sport and celebrates their achievements, from the grass roots to the elite.”
“We’ve already seen over 260,000 more women playing sport regularly this year and Women’s Sport Week will help encourage more women to get out there and be active.”
Pregnancy doesn’t mean having to give up the sport you love, although the NHS advises against contact sports where there is a risk of being hit or ones where you are at risk of falls such as horse riding, gymnastics and downhill skiing.
If you’re already a runner, for instance, you can carry on for as long as you feel comfortable. If you’re starting an aerobic exercise class, let the instructor know you are pregnant and start off with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times a week. You can then gradually increase this. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising.
If you’re not already doing strenuous exercise you shouldn’t suddenly take it up. Walking for half an hour a day is enough to be beneficial. The NCT website has a Pregnancy Exercise Checklist and you can also get guidance on exercise in pregnancy from the NHS.
Once you’ve had your baby you can start gentle exercise when you feel ready. You may want to wait until after your 6 week check before you do anything strenuous and be aware your core muscles will be weaker. Look out for postnatal exercise classes where you can take your baby along.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dame Sarah told how she gradually got her fitness back following the birth of her baby, starting with 20 minute cycle rides to work on her core muscles.
For more information about Women In Sport Week, go to the website