Getting Mum Fit – Exercising Whilst Pregnant

So as you may have noticed from my recent posts, I’m pregnant with our second son.  I was determined from the start of my pregnancy that I was going to stay fit and healthy throughout and keep going with my personal training sessions with Matt.  Now to be totally transparent, that hasn’t been quite how the plan has gone.  Instead, I developed SPD about a month and a half ago and so I’ve had to stop my PT sessions which I’m honestly really upset about.  I never ever thought I’d be that person who would feel sad that they couldn’t be tortured every week but turns out once I’ve got going with this whole exercise thing, I’m actually loving it.

Anyway, before the SPD kicked in I asked Matt to write me a little post all about exercising during pregnancy as I know when I found out I was pregnant again I was really worried about harming the baby.  As usual, he has written a fab little post for you all explaining the do’s and don’t of pre-natal exercise.   Here it is…

Eating for two, having less energy and watching the scales creep up all could mean you may not want to be exercising.  Not only that but a question a lot of pregnant ladies may ask is “is exercise even safe?  Will it harm me or my baby?”

I’m Matt, Franki’s personal trainer. I’m qualified in pre and post-natal exercise and my answer is,

exercise is not harmful if you do it right

In fact, it has a lot of benefits and so I have written this short guide so that you can do it right.

It’s simple, safe and it’s actually good for both baby and you.  And, as a little extra, it can help you cut down the excess weight gain and speed up the return to your pre-baby body after you give birth.

Generally, people ditch their old exercise routines once they become pregnant even though what they were doing before they can probably continue to do whilst pregnant.  Exercise only provides benefits to you and your baby, so we need to keep it up.

Exercise can help:

  • Fight morning sickness
  • Give you more energy
  • Strengthen muscles needed for labour
  • Help your baby have a better birth weight
  • Gives baby more brain power

But first things first.

Before you start exercising at all, consult your doctor.  Make sure if you are having any problems let them know and they have the final word on whether you are safe to exercise or not.  If you have any unusual pains, bleeding or dizziness you shouldn’t be exercising. Again, talk to your doctor about this.

Otherwise here is what we should be doing and not doing.

What can you do?

Most exercise is safe to do and you can usually carry on whatever you were doing pre-pregnancy.

However, if you are completely new to exercise, start off at a low intensity for no more than 15 minutes, three times a week.  Doing things like swimming, walking or aerobics is great and should get you out of breath. Just make sure not to exhaust yourself too much.

Make sure you always warm up (start off slow and gradually build up the intensity/speed) and cool down (gradually reduce the intensity/speed, don’t just stop) before each workout.

Believe it or not, even weight lifting is fine when you’re having a baby.  You may have to reduce the weights you use and change up some of the exercises since your bump may now be in the way, but otherwise, it is safe and effective to lift weights during pregnancy.

Make sure, however, to avoid holding your breath when exercising. Make sure you breathe normally throughout all exercises.

What should you avoid?

Although most exercise and activities are safe during pregnancy, there are some things we should avoid doing and minimize if you can.  Such as exercises that involve lying on your back (especially after the 16-week point) should be avoided.  But this doesn’t mean you have to stop doing certain exercises, you just need to adapt them.

For example:

– Bench Press can be replaced with seated chest press

– Most lying ab exercises can be done on a chair instead

Also, avoid any exercises where you lie on your front for obvious reasons.

Avoid any exercise that has a risk of falling. Now your pregnant and your centre of gravity is changing it may not be the time to start gymnastics on a balance beam.

Jumping and any exercise which includes high impact or physical contact should also be given a miss as your joints are weaker than usual due to your hormones. This also means you shouldn’t stretch too far either after your cool down. Just take it to a point of mild tension.

Unless you’re suddenly hungry for adventure when you are pregnant these are probably unlikely, but also avoid scuba diving and exercising at an altitude over 2500m.

You can still do it

So as you can see, most of the exercise you already could have been doing you can still do.  There are maybe a few exercises you might have to adapt so you are not lying on your back, but apart from that, there isn’t too much you can’t do.  As long as you feel comfortable exercising and your doctor says it is safe to do so, then you’ll have no problem staying fit and improving your baby’s health by exercising regularly.

 

So there you have it, it’s perfectly safe to keep active and exercise during pregnancy unless you have been advised otherwise by your doctor and in fact, it’s beneficial for both mum and baby to be trying to keep fit during those 9 months of growing a human.  So I’d love to know if you keep to your fitness regime during your pregnancy or if you’ve been inspired to start keeping fit now your pregnant.

 

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