So many conversations and lots of information out there around exercise in pregnancy… Is it safe? What can you do? what should you avoid? and how often should you do it?
It can be often be confusing so today, were going to debunk those myths. 😊
The biggest question of all? Is it safe to exercise in pregnancy?
YES! There is no clinical evidence to suggest that it is harmful and thankfully we have started to move away from this myth 😊 the BEST tip here is……..
Just listen to your body.
Ask your doctor/midwife first as there are a small number of conditions in which you may be advised not to exercise but otherwise, generally it’s a yes! (As part of our in-person program we send a letter to your midwife also)
Currently, UK Government guidance and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week during pregnancy. It is also advised to do strength training exercises twice per week. (Lets lift those weights to prepare ladies) 😊 …….
There are a few types of exercise that are advised against during pregnancy: ---Contact sports due to the risk of bumping your bump.
-Hot yoga, the extreme temperature, and movements.
-Prolonged lying on your back from the second trimester due to risk of aortic compression. (IF you lie on your back during the night or when resting and you are okay then something like a bridge would be okay for a short period but by listening to your body you will know what is right for you)
Most importantly JUST MOVE your body.
Moving and having physical activity during pregnancy has huge health and wellness benefits for mothers and babies. We all know exercise improves sleep and mental health. A bonus is being outside in the fresh air 😊
Exercise may also reduce the risk of pregnancy conditions such as Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Blood Pressure problems, being active and physical has also linked to reduction in pregnancy symptoms like constipation, pelvic girdle (PGP/SPD) and back pain. It is a useful tool to help to control weight gain during pregnancy but most importantly, you can improve your fitness while pregnant and gain strength.
My program on BUMP INTO FITNESS is based on Functional Strength Training in pregnancy. We use these types of movement help to prepare your body for the demands of real life during and after pregnancy to help reduce the likelihood of aches and pains during pregnancy and injury later. We strengthen your posterior chain (back of your body) to support your posture and reduce likelihood of injury postpartum, develop core strength, glute strength to help with pelvic stability (can help to manage PGP) pelvic floor control AND we have a yoga section and guided relaxations.
Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise!
As our bodies change and undergo big physiological and psychological adaptions during pregnancy, our body needs to change and manage these extra demands throughout each trimester and in the postpartum.
Changing your program to suit your trimester is a great tip.
Often, in the first trimester women may feel tired and nauseous and often any vigorous exercise feels unachievable. Blood pressure also drops in this trimester which may make you feel faint on exertion. The benefits of fresh air and gentle movement can really help to improve your symptoms. Function strength training movements using your body weight and resistance bands are ideal during these weeks.
Often, the second trimester is easier for many. Energy levels improve and so this is where it is a great chance to discover what you enjoy. For some that’s yoga, Pilates, swimming and for others that’s strength training. We would always say to do what you enjoy and try to feel what your body is doing and be guided by it 😊
Your third trimester, bump is growing larger, tiredness and feeling uncomfortable is common. I’m a massive swimming advocate as it can be really beneficial to take some of the weight off your joints but keeps you moving. In the BUMP INTO FITNESS program, we keep with the functional training but start to bring in more positions that prepare your body for labour, help to manage symptoms and hopefully 😊 help your baby to be in an optimal birthing position.
If I have not exercised before, can I start during pregnancy?
Starting in pregnancy is absolutely fine. My top tips are:
-Listen to your body.
-Do something you enjoy.
-Start slow and build up!
-If partaking in pregnancy specific training- find a qualified trainer. The investment is worth it.
As women, we need to recognise that our bodies are smart, when we tune in and listen, we will know when we need to do a little less, something different or progress 😉 and YES you are able to progress!!
What is moderate intensity? – Be guided by your sweat, ideally you want to feel like you’re sweating but be able to talk (on a scale of 1-10 try to be around a 5-7)
What is a ‘moderate intensity’ activity? We can liken this to brisk walking, dancing, cycling, swimming. For others, its lifting weights and for others its housework- it can be ANYTHING you put your mind to.
Am I allowed to do ‘vigorous intensity’ exercise in pregnancy?
The common myth is that you can’t. However, research is starting to reflect that its not only possible but welcome. The top tip for coaches is that every woman is individual and her needs should be assessed that way and the top tip for mum- to -be is…..listen to your body! If it causes pain or is uncomfortable, listen and scale back.
Overall, I am obviously a massive fan of keeping active through pregnancy. As a trainer I love meeting and seeing you each week helping you through your journey. However, my biggest thing is that you keep active however your body needs you to and you enjoy it. So, if you want more info about our course or just want to join a group with others click the link below and join our Facebook group 😊
See you next time.