Staying Fit During Pregnancy True Or False?
Fitness and pregnancy don’t seem like they go hand in hand, but you’d be surprised how many women stay in great shape during their pregnancy. Thanks to social media, today we can even follow the day to day life of famous and popular fitness influencers who show their pregnancy day to day, such as YouTuber and Instagram online trainer Hanna Oeberg, or Paige Hathaway.
These incredible women have shown that yes you can stay in great shape during pregnancy, not only that but how to get back in shape quickly after giving birth. So today, we decided to delve into a few tips you can follow to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy, how to safely train, and why it’s important to keep being active during your pregnancy.
The questions we often need to deal with are what exercises are good, what should be avoided and, can you continue running?
No question there are changes that will impact your routines, from the extra weight to the changes in hormones.
There are limitations we should learn to embrace, while still keeping our body healthy.
More Than Just Staying Fit
The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier, relatively to yourself it will be for you to adapt to your changes.
Having a strong body is the best way to get a toned and fit pelvic floor, which is one of the main factors when it comes to having a healthy pregnancy and being able to give birth without complications. Not only will having a stringer pelvic floor, allow you to suffer less pain during pregnancy, but it can also be extremely beneficial at the time of delivery.
A strong pelvic floor will allow delivering the baby with less effort and less pain and complications. So yes, all those squats and leg exercises are a must! No need to say goodbye to your booty workouts during pregnancy. On the contrary, get ready for it!
How to work the pelvic floor during pregnancy?
Besides from the all-time famous Kegel exercises which consist of tightening the pelvic floor muscles and hold tight and count 3 to 5 seconds, before releasing and repeating the exercise.
It is also important to work the transverse abdominal, which acts as a natural corset, keeping everything in its place. This muscle is located in the inner abdomen that surrounds our core, protecting our belly and back.
How To Train During Pregnancy
Your training during pregnancy will not always look the same, as the baby grows, your workouts will keep adapting, so we have separated this into the three trimesters. It’s worth mentioning that before starting any physical activity during your pregnancy, you must have the authorization of your personal obstetrician. That way you can ensure you’re good to go, without putting your health and your baby’s at risk. Always consult with your doctor first, and always make sure to train with a coach if you are pregnant.
Otherwise, make sure to ask your gym’s staff before proceeding with the workouts. Here are some of the exercises you can do during your pregnancy, along with those that you should avoid at all.
During the first trimester, most women can continue their exercise routine at moderate intensities as they progress through the pregnancy. Here you can still perform all the exercises you normally do. However, normally don’t push to higher loads, crunches and plank exercises should be more controlled.
During the second trimester is when women experience the most noticeable physiological changes. During this trimester, prone and supine exercises should be avoided and can be replaced with incline exercises. Alternatively, exercise with four points of support. For instance, a horizontal bench press should be modified to an incline bench press, and exercises like supermans can be substituted for a bird-dog. Additionally, core flexion and rotation exercises should be eliminated.
In the third trimester, the weight of the tummy and the fetus, creates greater stress on the muscles of the pelvic area, lower back, buttocks, and hip flexors. For this reason, barbell squats should not be performed, instead, a dumbbell would be a better choice.
Exercises to avoid during pregnancy
The closer you get to your due date, the safer will be to avoid jumping movements. Due to possible stress on the pelvic and due to the unbalance of the body when having relatively larger weight. Additionally, exercises performed in hot or humid environments, such as hot yoga, should be avoided as they can put the baby at risk.
Other exercises that are not recommended are those that may have a risk of falling or getting an injury in the abdominal area. For instance: skiing, martial arts, horse riding, skating, diving, squash, and boxing should be avoided.
Additionally, we should also consider those exercises that can damage the pelvic floor such as impact sports and exercises. This is the case of running and jumping the rope. You also have to be very careful with the practice of traditional abdominal crunches. It’s best to avoid them at all times.
150 minutes of physical activity per week, of moderate-intensity, is a recommended amount to stay healthy. Besides workouts, you can, of course, walk and swim all you want, only avoid running or jogging.
Running during pregnancy
This is a topic by itself as it includes a continuous bumping, usually a higher heart rate than regular gym or home workouts and uncontrolled surface. Is it harmful?
So the answer is, it is ok to run, but you need to accept that your running will change and that in the third trimester you will need to stop. In any case, you should consult your doctor for any activity.
You have to be aware of the limitations to do so only within relatively safe margin. It is easier at start, harder and riskier closer to due date, and harder to keep your balance. Watch your steps and run on flat and predicted surfaces. It is important to follow your initial capabilities and to adjust.
Regarding heart rate. This will go higher during pregnancy, yes, even as 30% higher for the resting rate. These days it is a parameter you can easily monitor with all the smart watches out there. Some sports watches also have pregnancy mode.
But you don’t necessarily need to watch that close your heart rate. Your awareness, and how you can speak during your exercise are usually enough to indicate you are in the safe zone.
An additional aspect is the hormonal changes and running. One of the things that happen during pregnancy is the production of the hormone relaxin, which loosens ligaments to ease the release of the baby. But it happens in all ligaments which can cause some pain and you will be more prone to injury.
Pregnancy is a rare period in physical terms for a woman. When trying to stay in shape during pregnancy, it is important to consider the exercises that are appropriate for our ever-changing bodies. You should understand and make the appropriate exercise modifications each trimester. It is advisable to work with a professional or a personal trainer to optimize the health benefits of exercise, while helping to prevent negative health effects.
By doing so, you will not only stay active during this exceptional period, but hopefully after. And if you have not been physically active before the pregnancy and want to get started, you still can, and should! Pregnancy is an optimal time for women to make positive changes in their lifestyle. Formerly sedentary women can begin an exercise program with low-intensity, and low-impact exercises, such as walking or water training.
You have to be aware of the limitations to do so only within a relatively safe margin. It is easier at the start, harder and riskier closer to the due date, and harder to keep your balance. It is important to follow your initial capabilities and to adjust.
Nutrition, Macros, and micros are even more important topics for the pregnant woman, and of course, while trying to stay fit during this time. Make sure to support your training and in general, with the required nutrition. Consult your doctor as well.
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