What are the benefits of exercise in early pregnancy?
Exercise is good for you throughout pregnancy, as long as you do not overdo things. It will give you more energy and will keep you strong and supple, which will help you through pregnancy and during labour and birth.
If you are a regular exerciser, you will already be more toned and have greater endurance, and this too will help you later on. Your blood volume increases if you exercise and you boost circulation and oxygen levels, and this helps to promote fetal growth.
In addition, exercise helps make you feel more positive and prevents depression as natural mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins are released in the brain.
Since I discovered I was pregnant, I've been feeling very anxious and stressed at work. What can I do to make things better pregnancy?
You are probably feeling a little overwhelmed by everything and this is not uncommon, particularly as you make adjustments to your life in the early stages of pregnancy.
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Build time into each day for relaxation and breathing exercises and make going to bed early a priority. This will help you to regain a sense of control. If you feel up to it, light exercise can also help to relieve stress and tension – try to make sure you leave the office at lunchtime and go for a walk.
Carol has just reached the end of the first trimester of her first pregnancy. She became pregnant after trying to conceive for 14 months.
Carol I wasn't expecting to feel anxious when my pregnancy test proved positive – I had always assumed I would just be ecstatically happy when that happened. But after the initial excitement wore off I found I began to worry and I became very aware of every twinge, ache, and pain I felt.
I then started to have some spotting, which totally panicked me.
My job is very busy and involves a lot of driving, but I didn't want to have to tell my boss I was pregnant because it was still very early days. I was so relieved when I could go and see Anita O'Neill at the Zita West Clinic for an early pregnancy consultation. She helped me to work out a plan of action and that helped me to feel more in control. She also arranged an early scan and this reassured me that all was well. I started to relax a little.
After the scan, I had a chat with my boss and we agreed I should cut back on the amount of driving I was doing. I have also been learning some breathing techniques, which help me to cope when I feel worried. At last, I feel I am really beginning to connect with my baby.
I have now passed the all-important 12-week milestone and have started to tell my family, friends, and more of my colleagues. It's been a long journey and I still have some way to go but I'm beginning to believe that I am going to be a mum.
When pregnancy finally happens it can be very scary. Seek reassurance and do all you can to make sure you stay relaxed and enjoy each stage.