About a year a go I became quite a good little runner, by that I mean I could maintain a decent pace for a decent amount of time. I claim only the last year as before that I would typically go “running” which meant a leisurely stroll taking in the surrounding views and maybe a stop at somewhere for a coffee / snack!
Yesterday morning I decided to go for a little jog, blow the cobwebs away- What I found out was that within 90 seconds of maintaining a good pace of jogging I was so breathless I had to take a moment to catch-up – I power walked the rest of the way but I have to say I felt quite cheated – exactly what was going on with my body to make me so out of breath? …
Well – here is the low down…
Breathlessness is very common in pregnancy. About three quarters of pregnant women who’ve never felt breathless before feel short of breath at some point. – That is nice, but why?
The pregnancy hormone progesterone makes your body change the way it absorbs oxygen in your bloodstream via your lungs . As a result, your body becomes much more sensitive to the levels of carbon dioxide that you breathe out.These changes mean that your body does a better job of processing oxygen and carbon dioxide. You’re breathing at the same rate as you did before you conceived, but much more deeply each time, which may be why you feel breathless.
Ways to conquer breathlessness:
- Create a new routine, try to get get some kind of low-impact exercise in each day. This could be something as simple as taking a brisk walk (walk to work or nursery, taking the stairs rather than the elevator).0. Aerobic exercise keeps your lungs and heart in good condition and can help them run more smoothly. However, if you’re not used to exercising, don’t go racing around the block your first time out.
- Try for 30 minutes of exercise each day, if you have a busy lifestyle break that into three lots of 10.
- Make your exercise lighter than before (if you previously exercised -Gentle exercise means still being able to hold a conversation while exercising, without getting out of breath.
- If you weren’t exercising before take it easy, don’t push yourself hard now as your body is already working. Take a swift walk to get your heartbeat up, or a bike ride. But if you get breathless, take as many rests as you need.
- Try to drink plenty of water before you begin exercising. Take a bottle of water with you when you exercise, and take frequent sips from it. This will help to regulate your temperature and prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
- When you sit, don’t slump. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back. This will give your lungs more room to expand. If you still feel short of breath, stand up. Standing can relieve some of the pressure on your diaphragm and lungs.
- Here’s a good exercise to get your body well-oxygenated. Stand up; inhale as you raise your arms up and out to the sides, bringing your head up at the same time. Exhale slowly as you lower your arms and head. Focus on expanding your rib cage — rather than your stomach — as you inhale.
- Take slow, deep, relaxed breaths. (This is good practice for the type of breathing you’ll probably be doing in the delivery room.)
Fun exercises I enjoy:
It’s safe to continue with most types of exercise, if you’re used to doing them. However, you should talk to your doctor, midwife or exercise instructor beforehand, just to check.
Aerobic exercise, such as swimming, brisk walking and aquanatal classes, are great.I have also quite taken to bike riding, it means I can rest if I want but can go as far as I feel I want and the speed I desire, it’s also fun to do with friends/ family for a group activity.
You can also do some types of muscle-strengthening exercises, such as pregnancy yoga and pilates, although please make sure that your instructor is qualified and experienced in teaching pregnant women.
And not to worry:
Your baby will get plenty of oxygen while you work out because of the pregnancy changes your body has gone through.