Exercising during pregnancy brings about a range of emotions. While we know it’s best to try to maintain fitness so we are fit for delivery and post-partum recovery, there is also the lingering thought of harming your internal passenger. If you feel overwhelmed by what you can and can’t do while pregnant you are not alone with each pregnancy also bringing about its own unique circumstances.
Let’s start with the facts of what changes in your body while you are pregnant, this will help you understand why your workouts should be modified along with the bodily changes that are affected during pregnancy.
We heat up easier.
“You don’t want to cook the baby”, as crazy as it sounds, is something we are told to consider on hot days. Whilst we are pregnant, we sweat faster to maintain a stable core temperature for our baby, so the thing to remember is to keep topping up with hydration during and after exercise and refrain from super-hot spin classrooms, excessively hot days or heated spas/pools.
Our backs get curvy.
To assist in gravity forces and posture while carrying a baby our lower backs create a curve. Swimming can help relieve pain caused by this and help keep our joints loose while making it a great low impact choice, especially towards the 3rd trimester.
Our aerobic zone changes.
With an increase in heart rate and blood volume, you will find that it will take less effort to feel short on breath. It’s recommended you stay within an aerobic training zone (talking pace) and not stress the body by spending a lot of time in the anaerobic zone (huffy puffy)
Limbs swell, feet grow and flatten.
Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it. Our balance goes off-kilter and tendons/ligaments have greater elasticity due to hormones.
So, with these things in mind, here are some tips for exercising during pregnancy.
+ Maintain an aerobic level while exercising with walking, spin bike, swimming, and yoga.
+ Play it safe and stick to level roads where there is less risk of you twisting an ankle or stacking it on your bike.
+ Keep weights light and towards the end of your pregnancy refrain from lifting anything heavy overhead. High reps of 20 – 30 x 2- 3 sets will maintain overall muscle strength.
+ Don’t do any exercises that require you to lie flat – mainly from your first trimester onwards as the weight of your baby will place pressure on your organs and arteries that supply blood to the foetus.
+ Go easy on the abdominals – there is a big chance your growing baby is separating your abdominal wall (diastasis recti) so to prevent this from premature separation avoid all frontal planks on a swiss ball or laying on the floor. Full or kneeling press-ups should be avoided during the second and third trimesters.
+ Listen to your body – now is not the time to get hard-core with weight-loss goals. It’s about maintaining a level of fitness to see you through your pregnancy.
There are so many good things that come with keeping your body moving during pregnancy. Apart from the obvious health benefits, your mood will be elevated, joints will remain lubricated, and constipation (joy oh joy) may be relieved. Stretching will also help you alleviate back pain and stiffness.
Remember each pregnancy takes a unique direction and there will be time to regain fitness after your baby is born… I promise.