When it comes to exercise and pregnancy, many new moms are a bit weary. We chat to Lauren Rolfe, qualified Personal Trainer to help moms gain a better understanding of what can be done and when – by Daniela Sperotto
Pregnancy is a wonderful time for a woman to experience a very unique and special event. Unfortunately many moms feel rather intimidated when it comes to if they can exercise and when they should stop. Lauren explains that during pregnancy, your body undergoes quite a significant change and thus acknowledging what is happening is key to your fitness success. While exercise is important when pregnant, there are a few safety concerns moms have to take into consideration in order to avoid unnecessary strain and overexertion.
Do the checks
If you are unsure about anything, consulting with your doctor about your personal abilities is the perfect start to any fitness regime and healthy pregnancy. Generally, if you were exercising before you fell pregnant your body would have already adapted to the exercises and therefore you should be able to continue working-out as normal. For those who are looking to start from scratch, consulting a doctor first is a must and from there either go to a personal trainer or a preggie class. They will be able to give the best advice on how to move forward while keeping you and your baby in mind at all times.
Keep your beats low
When you are ready to start exercising, the most essential thing to remember at all times is to keep your heart rate below 140bpm. This is best for mom and baby and will minimise any risk of overexertion and strain. It is highly recommended that you invest in a heart rate monitor if you are planning to train throughout your pregnancy. This will make the task of monitoring your heart rate and keeping your exercise in an aerobic state easy.
Easy does it
The ability to exercise differs between each person as well as during each trimester, so when in doubt just listen to your body. If you feel tired, especially in the first and third trimester take it easy. In the third trimester you might want to do shorter sessions, at this stage the body is working overtime and it is perfectly normal. If you are feeling tired, take a break or a few days off and start again when you are feeling better.
When it comes to what exercise to do, again your body will let you know. You can basically do any exercise until it becomes uncomfortable. Most women find that in the first trimester they can do most exercises and generally taper off as they head into the third trimester. But keep in mind you don’t want to do any high intensity anaerobic exercises. When stretching, be sure not to over stretch. When pregnant you joints are more prone to move and one must be careful not to strain any muscles right at the end of a workout.
Most of all just enjoy it. It is a wonderful time and beautiful experience to go through and a healthy mom means a healthy baby.
Lauren’s trimester exercise check list:
Trimester 1 (0-3 months)
Any exercise can be done depending on the person and their fitness.
- Keep heart rate below 140bpm.
- Listen to your body and rest if necessary.
- Consult with your doctor if you are unsure about anything.
Trimester 2 (3-6months)
This is generally the great phase of pregnancy, the nausea and tiredness generally stop and you feel a lot better.
- Again keep heart rate below 140bpm.
- Stop stomach crunches as they generally are uncomfortable.
- Start making exercises easier/ lighter
- Good exercises: lighter weights, aqua aerobics, Pilates and yoga.
- Start doing Kegel exercises as they help with the pelvic floor.
Trimester 3 (6-9months)
You will start to feel a little heavier and will be taking things a lot easier.
- Good Exercises: walking, swimming, aqua aerobics, Pilates and possibly preggie bellies.
- I would suggest sitting on a ball as well, as it will help with the core.
- Continue your Kegel exercises.
With thanks to Lauren Rolfe, qualified Personal Trainer.