Exercising During Pregnancy Part 1: Getting Started

I love training pregnant women. The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are just so frigging fantastic, it’s a joy to work with women to help them feel strong, stable, and powerful as they head towards one of the most amazing days of their life.

One o f the big reasons I love working with pregnant women is that it  forces them to take some essential “me time”. So much of the focus on glowing goddess mums to be is on the baby, and their relationship with it-  which is totally cool, but it’s just as important to take some time out for self care.

Provided you make a few sensible adjustments to your regime, and follow the advice of your healthcare provider, there are some great benefits to exercise during your pregnancy including: reduced back and pelvic pain, greater awareness of your pelvic floor (and believe me, you’ll appreciate this!) improved feelings of well being and mental health.

Furthermore, we’re getting technical, training during your pregnancy can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, improve birth outcomes, and improve recovery after your pregnancy (1)

Over the next few articles, we’ll be looking at great workouts for pregnancy, with a focus on things you can do at home with minimal equipment and space.

Are there any reasons NOT to exercise during your pregnancy?

Yep. While exercise is safe and recommended for most pregnant women there are a few situations where you really shouldn’t be exercising. The American College of Gynaecologists makes a list of absolute reasons not to exercise during pregnancy. These include:

  • Unstable Blood Pressure,
  • Restrictive Lung disease,
  • Incompetent cervix and or a cervical stitch,
  • Persistence 3rd trimester bleeding,
  • Placenta previa (after 26 weeks) ,
  • Premature labour,
  • Ruptured membrane,
  • Pre-eclampsia,
  • And pregnancy induced hypo-tension,

Furthermore, these contraindications should be approached with caution under the direction of a health care provider.

  • Severe anaemia
  • Maternal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
  • Extreme obesity
  • Underweight
  • Heavy smoking.

A good rule of thumb, speak to your midwife or obstetrician before engaging in any exercise program, particularly if you’ve not been active prior to pregnancy.

Even if you were sedentary prior to pregnancy, a gradual build up in approach to exercise has been shown to be beneficial, infact the American College of Gynaecologists suggests pregnancy is a great time to make lifestyle changes.

Ensure you stay hydrated, have had something to eat before exercising, and can maintain a conversation throughout your workout.

Staying Safe.

Following these tips will help you exercise safely during your pregnancy:

  • Get medical clearance from your doctor,
  • If you’re experiencing pelvic or back pain, speak to a pelvic health specialising physiotherapist about support and strengthening exercises to help you,
  • Exercise in a climate controlled environment – no overheating, please!
  • Aqua exercise is considered to be safe for most pregnant women  -and is well worth investigating,
  • Listen to your body, never push through pain and if it doesn’t feel right it’s probably not,
  • Excercise at an intensity that allows you to maintain a conversation,
  • Eat a good meal before exercising and stay well hydrated,
  • Don’t spend long periods of time lying on your back
  • Avoid exercises that push out on your abdomen (pushups, crunches, front planks etc)

 

References

http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Physical-Activity-and-Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period accessed 20/1/2017

 

 

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