by Emily Pointer
@on_ point _ training
Congratulations! You’re pregnant.
However, if you were exercising before, there’s a chance you’ve completely stopped for fear of doing the wrong things, or if you didn’t exercise, where do you start? Or more likely you’re asking yourself, “can you even start exercising?!”
Even as personal trainers, we have to be cautious at this time as we’re working with a body that no longer feels like our own so it’s about finding what feels right for us.
Even though we know what we can and can’t do.
So, how do you start being active during your pregnancy if you’re new to exercise?
The old adage of you can’t exercise when pregnant if you didn’t do it before you got pregnant should hopefully have died a death with those waist training machines of the 1950s (Google them if you don’t know what I’m on about), however if you’ve been a mum-to-be in the gym lifting weights heavier than 5kg, the likelihood is you would have have some discerning looks…
Provided you can maintain a conversation while exercising (aka you’re getting enough breath), you’re not sweating bucket loads (temperature is okay) and nothing feels odd: there’s no pulling in your abdomen, heaviness or dragging in your pelvic floor etc, you are okay.
Guidelines state that all women without contraindications should be physically active throughout their pregnancy. The recommendation is to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity over at least 3 days every week.
BUT… You’re probably asking yourself how on earth do you start exercising when pregnant?
Well, read on…
Warm up before a workout and cool down following a workout. Your growing bump can cause all sorts of postural changes so you’ll want to stretch out the tight areas and start focusing on the areas that are slacking [click here for a mobilising routine I created for during your pregnancy]
Start the session with some diaphragmatic breathing. If you’re not breathing into your diaphragm, you’re not fully engaging with your core which includes your pelvic floor and this is so important to help with your growing bump.
Begin gradually at a lower intensity, increasing duration and/or intensity as your pregnancy progresses (N.B. intensity shouldn’t go over 7/10)
Find a local ante-natal class or an instructor who knows how to adapt to your needs: a lot of client add in yoga or pilates to their regime throughout pregnancy as it helps with the breath for your core and pelvic floor connection.
Invest in a PT for additional support/guidance and confidence in knowing what you’re doing (even a few sessions to make sure your form is on point)
Get yourself a decent pregnancy exercise guide, the Bumps & Burpees eBooks or the Mind Body Bump book are both great!
Follow Pre/Post Natal QUALIFIED trainers for exercises you can do at home/in the gym. Other than me (*wink*), Bumps & Burpees is obviously the first port of call, plus the founder, Charlie is always posting workouts you can do throughout your pregnancy.
Take a walk. Walking is SO underrated and it’s a great exercise.
Click here to watch a video with some useful early pregnancy exercises to try at home.
N.B. IF YOU ARE EXERCISING FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOUR BODY AWARENESS MAY BE LOW. IF YOU’RE GOING IT ALONE, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ANY WEIRD FEELINGS/NIGGLES AND IF YOU CAN, ASK A PT IN YOUR GYM TO CHECK YOUR FORM AT THE VERY LEAST.