Twin Pregnancy Exercise: ‘Reduce your intensity and adapt your routine’ Mum of twins and pre and postnatal health expert Shakira Akabusi reveals her top tips on exercising for twin-mums-to-be
For years, women have been told to cut back on exercise during pregnancy – while those expecting twins were once advised to stop altogether. We all know that exercise has incredibly positive effects on body and mind. And that exercising during pregnancy is safe and can reduce the risk for several conditions including excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. So how much exercise is actually ok in a twin pregnancy? And what workouts are recommended?
Many women believe that it is dangerous to exercise when pregnant with twins, pre and postnatal health expert Shakira Akabusi, who who is a mum of four, including twins, says that this is wrong. Here are her top tips for exercising safely while pregnant with twins.
Reduce your intensity when exercising with twins
“With my twin pregnancy I definitely had to reduce the intensity of my exercise much earlier on in my third trimester compared to my other two pregnancies. I think, mainly just due to the size of my bump and the effect that it had on my pelvis – plus the shift in my core. But I was still able to exercise, right up until a week before they were delivered.”
Women who are pregnant with twins can still run (if they were already runners)
“There are a lot of misconceptions about what can and can’t be done safely during pregnancy that do not apply to everyone. Any impact exercise, like running, increases the pressure on the pelvic floor and with a multiple pregnancy you may find that this is greater than with a singleton pregnancy. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy impact exercise, but it really does depend on each individual woman and how supported your core is – plus, your previous experience with running, whether it’s the first pregnancy or if you’ve had pelvic floor dysfunction before. Of course, do seek medical advice.”
Don’t forget about your pelvic floor
“It’s so important to make sure that you work the pelvic floor – not just strengthening the pelvic floor, but also working on relaxing those muscles – because, particularly in the run up to labour, you need to make sure that your pelvic floor can also relax and release in order to allow baby to descend efficiently down the birth canal.”
Adapt your routine
“Focus on exercises that will help you to manage any postural changes – for example, pelvic stability exercises, core support exercises, glute exercises and things that are going to help you to have an active labour.”
Listen to your body
“Certain exercise positions that are considered safe, can start to become uncomfortable. For example, I found towards the end of the third trimester, as my uterus expanded and the weight increased, the four-point kneeling position became uncomfortable because it placed too much pressure on the front of my abdomen. So you need to listen to your body - and if you find similar, elevate your upper body in some movements to reduce the pressure on your core.
Don't be afraid of exercising with twins
“Find a credible source. There's so much information out there, so just make sure the advice you’re following is from someone trained and credible. Exercising during all pregnancies can be so beneficial, and certainly for me and during my twin pregnancy it really helped to keep my body mobile. It just helped me feel better physically and mentally throughout the whole pregnancy.”
For more information about Shakira and to listen to her podcast visit www.stronglikemum.com
For more information on having multiple births visit The Twins Trust