Pregnancy and Exercise TrainingFeb 24, 2021
Pregnancy is a life changing experience for women. Many women want to stay active and healthy throughout their pregnancy but there’s a lot of conflicting information about the do’s and don’ts - especially when it comes to exercise and lifting.
I’m sure many pregnant women can relate to receiving well-intended “advice” and opinions on what we should or shouldn’t be doing during pregnancy. As much as this advice can seem genuine with care and concern for the health of mother and baby, it can also be incorrect or inaccurate.
Pregnancy doesn't mean you can’t do any physical activity proceed with caution. The desire to have an active and fit pregnancy is doable - with the caveat that you are staying within the lines of appropriate fitness for your body and your fitness history.
There’s an important level to be aware of when it comes to health during pregnancy from nutrition and fitness. Pregnancy isn't free for all and it’s also not a time of restriction or limitation. It’s not the time to lounge on the couch day after day, eating all the sweets in your path, and it’s also not the time to be chasing PR’s for weight lifting, aggressively training for a fitness competition.
Pregnancy is your time to GLOW and SHINE as a mother to be.
At Inside Out Strength and Performance I’ve had the honor to train several women through their pregnancy and it has been a joy, a challenge and a blessing. Now some days were not very exciting with what we did for training, but it was what was needed and appropriate for how the mother was feeling on a particular day. The focus was placed on choosing the best movements, activities, nourishing foods and environments to promote a healthy mother and healthy baby. I get it, you probably are asking yourself when it comes to training, what’s safe? How much? What to avoid? Where do you begin?
Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all “what to expect when you’re expecting” training plan because we are all unique individuals with different fitness history, health history and varying environments.
I’d recommend having open communication with your doctor and informing them of your activity level prior to pregnancy and your plans for during pregnancy. Also, I’d recommend asking questions and observing if there are any biases regarding physical activity and exercise. Your healthcare team should educate and empower you! According to the guideline of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women can and should exercise during pregnancy, unless there are medical reasons to avoid it. To learn more about specific Prenatal Fitness Guidelines you can check out our blog HERE.
So, where to begin? Let’s start with some basics of movement, training and exercise and how that may look during pregnancy.
Stability & Mobility
Our bodies are created to have joints that require more stability and others that require more mobility. As your pregnancy progresses continuing to work on stability is important as the soft tissue structures continue to experience more relaxing properties. Stability is the ability to maintain posture and control motion. Flexibility is also important throughout a pregnancy to maintain appropriate range of motion without pushing into end ranges. Mobility is very important to keep the functioning at an efficient and optimal level - even with the physiological changes occurring throughout pregnancy.
Strength is KEY. As a mother you want to feel strong, not to mention your body benefits from building strength before and during pregnancy, for labor, delivery and postpartum. As you master the stabilization exercises, the strength and power exercises are a natural progression for any mother to build strength from the inside out.
Maintaining your endurance throughout pregnancy is a great strategy to keep energy levels stable and promote movement to reduce stiffness as well as promote baby’s health in the process. Did you know your endurance conditioning is another great way to help you with labor but also for having stamina and energy to pull from during the postpartum period and adjusting to life as a mother and the responsibilities along with raising a child.
- Pivot. Your workouts will most likely need to modify depending on how you feel, how your body adapts with the growing baby. It’s okay if your workouts look different and pivot from your previous training style. Like we said earlier this is the time to experience the changes occurring in your body and celebrate what your body can do - while keeping the baby healthy and safe.
- Connect and Communicate. Create a team of health care professionals and supportive individuals to regularly communicate with and help you navigate your training effectively and safely as your pregnancy progresses. Think of your OBGYN, midwife, pelvic health physical therapist, trainers, nutritionists, family and friends etc. This season is for connection with care providers that are in your corner to help support and guide you when you’re unsure of what to do next, make adjustments to your training plan as you continue on this adventure!
- Positivity & Stay Active. Keeping a positive attitude around your training and movement plan can be a great way to enjoy and embrace the transformation happening in your pregnancy. Some days may be more challenging and straight up tough, but keeping a positive outlook that you “GET TO” do some exercises and movement can be a wonderful way to live out your pregnancy.
- Listen to your body and use common sense. Many of us have heard this phrase to “listen to your body” which can be a helpful guideline at times. If something feels off or not right, might be a good time to rest, stop the exercise and see if there’s something you can do instead. For those of you go-getters and Type A super mom’s this is something to really be aware of that even if it’s something you’ve done before pregnancy or even in a previous pregnancy, you must be aware that things change and our bodies can respond differently with varying sleep quality, nutrition, hydration and stress levels.
Are you pregnant or looking to get pregnant in the near future? Interested in personalized programming during your pregnancy or in the postpartum season? Email us at [email protected] to get connected with our team to learn more about our options for building movement confidence for new moms, from bump through postpartum. For the woman seeking to live her life strong.
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