Pregnancy is a very special time, when your body is growing and nurturing a new life inside you. Many pregnant women want to continue to exercise throughout their pregnancy to maintain their fitness, prepare for the birth and aid a quicker recovery.
As a Personal Trainer and Exercise Specialist in Women’s Health at Southcote Proactive Healthcare in Maidstone, I am passionate that women exercise during their pregnancy and post natally. But it’s essential exercise is done in a safe gradual way, and with a suitably qualified, adequately insured pre/post natal instructor (whether that be fitness, yoga or Pilates).
There is too much pressure on women today to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight quickly, sometimes with little regard for the safety of mother and baby.
My aim is to educate mums-to-be on the adaptations that are needed to support their changing body and developing baby. The focus must definitely change, it is no longer about how many reps you can do or how far you can run. But instead you should concentrate on maintaining current fitness and working on areas that will become weaker as the pregnancy progresses.
Regular cardio-vascular exercise can help to maintain fitness and therefore help you to cope with the demands of labour, but it is important to choose safe exercises that don’t put a strain on your growing bump, so give aerobics, Zumba and jogging a miss and instead opt for pregnancy specific classes.
After the birth:
In the first few weeks, restrict your exercise to walking and pelvic floor exercises. Once you’ve had your GP check (at 6-8 weeks, or 10 if you had a c-section) you’ll be ready to start increasing the exercise
Take it slow; focus on strengthening your back and core and practicing good posture with lifting and carrying techniques.
Whether breast or bottle feeding you will find yourself being pulled forward, practice exercises that make your shoulders draw back and down and lift your chest.
Correct buggy posture is essential to ensure you are using the large muscle groups of your legs and buttocks, rather than placing undue pressure on your back.
Most importantly, take your time, it took 9 months for your baby weight to go on, allow the same amount of time for the weight to come off. Incorrect choices such as sit-ups and anything high impact will put you at risk of injury.