Training Whilst Pregnant

To Lift or Not to Lift

Do a quick search online and you will quickly discover it’s a landmine of advice that contradicts itself; you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than your purse (good luck with picking your toddler up then), only do Prenatal Yoga, stop all abdominal exercise and don’t train AT ALL!

There is a shortage of quality information on weight training during pregnancy, that you’re within your right to worry and stop everything

So what do you do?

Through fear, you stop working out. You don’t even lift your purse (after all that’s what the other half is there for!)

You end up feeling crappy, cranky and out of control

Over the years, we’ve trained many pre and post-natal clients with great success, as well as so many other coaches and ladies out there. Yes, I’ve never been through pregnancy myself but I love seeing the transition these ladies go through, giving them a sense of control whilst growing a lil person.

You need to support your body through pregnancy and get it prepared for labour and thereafter. Sitting on the couch doesn’t exactly help your body get ready…

Strength training will keep your changing body as strong, stable and comfortable as possible. Even better is that prenatal exercise helps you recover postpartum, helping you feel strong and powerful once again!

#1 Is Lifting Weights Dangerous for You and Your Baby?

Research shows that fitter mums have shorter labours, less chance of preterm labour, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays…this is research from those going through labour, not from lab rats!

So it would seem that mothers and babies have a better experience when they take part in prenatal exercise

#2 Don’t Train those Abs or You’ll Separate Your Abdominals

If you want to be terribly uncomfortable and have debilitating back pain, then yes, this is sound advice. Not what we’re going for though, is it?

Correct abdominal training is really important during pregnancy due to your changes in posture and weight being on the front of your body.

Abdominal separation, or Diastasis Recti (DR) as it’s known, is a real thing that many women in pregnancy experience and happens because that little person is pressing on them. This can cause the tissue connecting the abs to get very soft and thin.

The plus is that having a stronger core can help reduce DR and help speed up recovery postpartum.

There are specific exercises that you should not do that can increase the DR, for example sit-ups, crunches and front planks.

What can you do? Pallof pressing, dead bugs, farmers walk, diaphragmatic breathing exercises, and of course pelvic floor exercises (YES…. ladies you SHOULD DO THEM)

#3 You’ll Increase Your Risk of Injury Because You’re Unstable

Okay, yes your body is indeed going to be unstable…it’s like a chemistry explosion in your body with hormone changes going on, one of which is an increase in the hormone Relaxin. As you can imagine, Relaxin makes your tendons and ligaments more flexible which is essential for carrying your baby and getting through labour!

Strength Training improves stability so it makes sense to partake in it prenatal. Having a tailored strength training program will help alleviate those aches and pains such as the lower/upper back.

Whats more, if you are new to strength training you can certainly start during pregnancy!

Start with doing the basics, and doing them well; Squat, hinge, push and pull. This is where a GOOD coach is a huge plus.

Exercises like squatting, glute bridges, and hip thrusts can be excellent for encouraging movement through the pelvis, while helping to increase the stability through your lower back. Win, win.

*Disclaimer: Know that your doctor’s permission for exercise is essential, as there can be contraindications to exercise during pregnancy. Additionally, the most important thing you can do is listen to your body and give yourself some grace. Be aware of what your body is telling you—does that exercise feel good? Keep it up. Doesn’t feel so good? Probably best to stop and adjust.

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