Exercise During Pregnancy – Just What CAN You Do?

We have so much information about the pregnancy, the birth and after, but rarely do you get a sense of security in knowing what and how to workout during your pregnancy, especially if you have been quite active and fit prior to getting pregnant.

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What exercise type and intensity can or can’t you do during your pregnancy?

What exercise can you do that keeps baby happy and healthy as well as your body strong and pain free?

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There are many pregnancy bump classes that can give you this support, but sometimes what we need during our pregnancy is to feel normal, and feel like we have some control over our body – and sometimes this means we want to workout and feel our body moving more than on a swiss ball!

For those who have been very fit and active prior to getting pregnant you can almost feel like you aren’t able to continue with your fitness class or program because you have to ‘dampen down’ the level or miss out on a few of your favourite exercises. You should be able to workout knowing what exercising to avoid, and where to stop in terms of intensity. So this is where this blog can help.

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But, first off…a few myths that we have all heard but aren’t true…

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  1. You cannot get sweaty during your workouts, and vigorous exercise during pregnancy was seen as dangerous to the baby. This is untrue. The truth is, you CAN get sweaty during your workouts, and training your body is individual to each pregnancy, therefore keep note or how you are feeling, keep being able to talk during your workout and enjoy it!
  2. Keep your heart rates below 140 beats per minute. There is no evidence to support this therefore these guidelines have been dropped and doctor’s groups are increasingly pushing pregnant women to get moving. Also, we once did a test with a pregnant woman where we put a heart rate monitor on her, and asked her to squat (just her bodyweight) and after a minute her heart rate went up over 140! You do ore than that putting your shopping on the top shelf!
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Why you should exercise during your pregnancy:
  1. It helps to reduces backache and constipation
  2. It can improves your mood, energy and sleep (we all love these)
  3. Higher fitness levels can help women endure and recover better from labour. It can also help with swelling and fluid retention and improve muscle tone, strength and endurance.
  4. It is known to reduce the incidence of depression
  5. Avoid excess weight gain and reduce the frequency of diabetes of pregnancy
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Exercises to avoid:
  1. Running. You CAN run if you want to, however we do need to look after our pelvic floor! The pregnancy puts a strain on your pelvic floor, which is such a crucial core muscle. Love it and it will love you back!!
  2. Sit ups; these put too much of the wrong pressure into your core unit
  3. Planks. Some would argue that you CAN do these during your pregnancy and yes you can, but as you get bigger your core unit expands to allow your baby to grow, and a part of your core unit called your linea alba stretches. Planking puts extra pressure on this and can sometimes increase the likelihood of diastasis or umbilical hernias.
  4. Heavy twisting. You can twist, that is beneficial to keep your body functional, but we advise to lessen off the heavy weights when twisting.
  5. Jumping. During your pregnancy it is about maintaining your fitness and supporting your body, mind and muscles in the correct way. Jumping has no benefits to your during your pregnancy other than putting increase pressure on your pelvic floor. Also, your body produces more of the hormone Relaxin which makes your joints and ligaments a little more flexible than normal. Jumping around can put extra strain on these not to mention the extra weight with your bump! There are plenty of much more effective exercises to do during your pregnancy that will give you all the benefits and less of the cons.

As with many aspects of pregnancy – it is a good idea to let your body be your guide on the subject of exercise and intensity. What normally is asked is that you don’t increase your fitness output but actually stay on the same level that you were on prior to getting pregnant. If you have been doing kettlebells and body weight exercises, keep doing them!

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What to focus on in exercise:
  1. Drink enough water
  2. Eat enough calories to cover your extra activity (make sure it is nutrient dense!)
  3. Avoid overheating too much
  4. Stop if you feel any concerning symptoms – and just sit and relax for a little bit. Sometimes it may be excess tension.
  5. Many experts advise a level of exertion that still allows you to hold a conversation – don’t go getting yourself so puffed out that you can’t talk very much!

At Beattitude We Can Help you Build Your Pre and Post Natal Fitness Plan.

We have classes that are not just ‘bump’ classes.

Give us a call or email and we would be happy to give you more insight into how our series of class programs can keep your feeling in control and training at a level that makes you feel good.