Pregnancy
13 weeks and 1 day pregnant

It’s easy to see where your baby’s bones are on an ultrasound as they show up as brighter areas. Other features may be harder to see. If you have a scan and are unsure what you are looking at, ask your doctor or midwife to interpret it for you.

Relief, excitement, apprehension... it’s normal to feel all this and more at this stage of your pregnancy.

While you’re undoubtedly feeling better physically, and probably have lots more energy, you may still be up and down emotionally. This is completely normal.

This stage of pregnancy can be a very emotional time: reaching the second trimester is a pregnancy milestone and coincides with seeing your baby on the scan. You know that, with the chances of miscarrying now being so minimal, you’re really going to have a baby. However, like many pregnant women, you may find that the feeling of relief at reaching this stage is followed by occasional anxieties.

One good outlet for all this emotional energy is exercising, which you may find easier now you’re over the first trimester fatigue. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, and so can improve your emotional as well as physical wellbeing, but always exercise safely.

Check with your midwife or doctor whether there’s any reason why you shouldn’t be exercising; there are certain pregnancy conditions, such as placenta praevia and the risk of premature labour, that may preclude you from exercising.

When exercising during pregnancy, always use your common sense and look out for symptoms that may indicate you are exercising too hard. Aerobic exercise is often tracked by measuring the heart rate, but this is difficult during pregnancy as there is a natural increase in your heart rate, even at rest. So the most effective way to keep your exercise at a safe level is the talk test: you should be able to carry out a conversation while exercising. This will indicate that you are not exercising to exhaustion and potentially restricting the oxygen flow to your baby.

There are other symptoms that indicate you’re exercising too hard or should not be exercising at all:

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Dizziness and headaches

  • Chest pain

  • Extreme and sudden muscle weakness

  • Calf pain and leg swelling

  • Leakage of amniotic fluid.

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, even momentarily, stop exercising and seek medical advice.

Exercising may reduce the time you are in labour.

Research has shown that women who exercise at a moderate to high intensity can cut their time in labour by up to three hours, and they tend to have less complicated deliveries than those who don’t exercise.

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Rather than taking a gentle stroll, try walking at a brisk pace, but make sure you can still talk. This will ensure you’re exercising at a moderate aerobic level.

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