I don’t know about you but I spent many years thinking that I’d let pregnancy become an opportunity to gorge myself on treats and put my feet up as much as possible and then I became pregnant and the reality hit me that whatever junk I was putting into my body was actually going straight to my little person growing inside and all of those rather nasty ingredients in those VERY tasty treats could actually be doing the baby harm. In recent years gestational diabetes has become more and more commonplace and that is not a condition that you want to be faced with when you are already dealing with a surge in hormones, a growing baby inside, nausea, tiredness, swollen limbs….all the things they don’t tell you at school!!!!
So, I have taken the very sensible decision to be a healthy and active expectant mother. For the sake of mine and my baby’s health, I am going to catalogue my activity chart and the healthy eating choices that I have made in order to help other mum’s out that want to stay on the path to fitness despite their growing bump.
Exercise is actively encouraged during pregnancy and with some very simple modifications, you can keep up your regular routine or even start to exercise throughout your pregnancy. There are a number of very important guidelines that you need to follow but most importantly, you need to listen to your body. If it is saying “this doesn’t feel right” then you must stop and take it easy. Pregnancy is not the time to start training for optimum times in a marathon, it is the time to maintain good cardiovascular and muscular fitness and endurance ready for that big day when you and your small person get to meet! Regular exercise has been proven to aid in reducing labour times and generally prepare the muscles and the lungs for a very gruelling experience.
I’m Abbi. I am a REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer with a specialism in ante and post natal fitness (how handy!) and most importantly I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my first baby….a boy due in December. Exercise is a huge part of my life and I’m very happy to be able to share with you my hints and tips on how to keep in good fitness and keep a good healthy shape whilst you are pregnant.
My first trimester was a bit horrid as the nausea really knocked me for six and the only thing that helped me was gentle exercise. I took to walking a lot as I couldn’t face the tube or bus for fear of any “accidents” but in fact, walking offered me a great chance to keep fit and generally get to see new parts of London! For those of you that don’t consider walking exercise, you are very wrong! I can safely say that the uneven surfaces and the regular motion of purposeful strides create a great workout and you’d be surprised to hear that you can burn some serious calories if you get a pace on!
Important Exercise Guidelines:
1– Get clearance from your Doctor that you are OK to exercise
2– During the first trimester in particular (but this is relevant to all three trimesters), ensure that your body temperature does not get too elevated. Wear layers so that you can strip off as you get too warm
3– Stay hydrated: keep a bottle of water with you to sip regularly and make sure you drink water before and after working out
4– You should be able to speak throughout your workout. If you are breathless to the point that you cannot speak then you are working too hard, so STOP!
5– If you are new to exercise, always speak to a professional first to get some a detailed workout plan that is safe for you to do in your pregnant state
6– If you were exercising regularly before getting pregnant then carry on with your routine but reduce the intensity and if you were using heavy weights, reduce the weight but increase the reps if you feel you need a challenge
7– Do not let your heart rate get too high. If you feel dizzy or sick, this is your body telling you to STOP!
8– Enjoy your workout! This is your time to feel good and do something for yourself!
9– The warm up and cool down are both very important so make sure that you warm up slowly for at least 5 mins and same goes for the cool down again for 5 mins
10– Do not lie on your back to exercise after 13 weeks
11– Relaxin is a hormone present throughout pregnancy and beyond, it affects your muscle elasticity and makes them more malleable which means that you can be more prone to injury so don’t go over-stretching!!!
1 rep max = this is the absolute heaviest weight a healthy person can lift in one repetition
MHR = Maximum Heart Rate
Interval training: increasing and then decreasing the intensity of exercises and then repeating this for a set duration