How can overdoing it impact pregnancy?

The Duchess took some time out to rest during her tour of Australia [Photo: Getty]
The Duchess took some time out to rest during her tour of Australia [Photo: Getty]

With 76 engagements over 16 days, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand was always going to be busy.

But throw a pregnancy into the mix and its hardly surprising that the schedule has proven a little too hectic for the mum-to-be.

The Duchess was forced to withdraw from one of her royal engagements in Sydney on Sunday, needing time to rest after a late night at the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently part-way through their gruelling tour, with a schedule that would take it’s toll on anyone, let alone someone in their second trimester of pregnancy.

Over the weekend Meghan pulled out of appearing by Harry’s side at a cycling event at the Invictus Games.

But the former actress looked rejuvenated back by her husband’s side later on as they watched the sailing competition final from a luxury boat in the afternoon, with Harry appearing to come over all protective of his pregnant wife.

Nevertheless, it is expected that the Duchess will skip more planned outings in the coming days in order to “pace herself”.

For the most part, the news has been met with understanding and sympathy – however, a small group of critics are of the opinion that pregnancy is not an excuse to take a break from her royal duties.

But amid the criticism, others were quick to jump to the Duchess’ defence pointing out how pregnancy can affect women in different ways.

According to Liz Halliday, Deputy Head of Midwifery at Private Midwives the Duchess is right to listen to her body and slow down.

Pregnancy is a precious time for women, but it also puts demands on a woman’s body that can require a little attention,” she explains. “It’s important to listen to your body in order to maintain good health for you and for your baby.”

“Taking care of yourself can help you to feel more energised, support your mental and physical health and help the baby grow and thrive.”

The Duchess of Sussex has rejoined her husband after taking some time out to rest [Photo: Getty]
The Duchess of Sussex has rejoined her husband after taking some time out to rest [Photo: Getty]

Liz says that doing too much while pregnant can actually have an impact on your health.

“Overdoing things at this time can leave you feeling exhausted and worn out, leading to negative feelings about your pregnancy and yourself.

“Overly tired people tend to eat less nutritious food, exercise less, have interrupted sleep patterns and become anxious,” she adds.

What can happen if you do too much?

“For most women, doing too much brings on exhaustion and sometimes illness (coughs and colds) which forces them to slow down and take care of themselves,” Liz explains.

“However, in extreme cases it can have a greater physical impact and women may suffer from low or high blood pressure, low iron, mental health issues, illness and in some cases even premature labour or a small baby.

“Pregnancy is an important time in a woman’s life and she should feel supported and well,” Liz adds. “Taking some time out isn’t always possible, but a little self-care can go a long way.”

And Liz Halliday has some other tips for the mum-to-be about how to maintain her health throughout pregnancy.

“Eating well is always advisable, but in pregnancy good nutrition provides a strong foundation for your well-being and for the baby’s growth. Often women feel sick in the early months – small regular meals may help combat this, as will staying hydrated.

We already know the Duchess has been continuing to practice yoga while pregnant and Liz says that it is important to keep exercising while pregnant.

“Exercise is recommended to keep fit and provide a flow of endorphins (feel good hormones),” she explains.

“Regular exercise has been shown to reduce aches and pains in pregnancy, increase energy levels and result in a faster recovery post birth.”

Although it’s not advisable to suddenly start a demanding fitness regime in pregnancy, it is usually safe to continue any exercise you were previously doing.

“If you didn’t have a regular schedule try to add a 20 minute walk every day, a weekly swim or some yoga,” Liz adds.

Getting plenty of rest is also advised.

“Sleep is essential and although requirements increase in pregnancy some women find their sleep is disturbed by hormonal influences, pressure on the bladder or the discomfort of simply being larger. Taking naps or resting when possible is advisable.”

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