This article will highlight considerations and advantages when training while
How hard should I train? Is a question I get all the time as a personal trainer who
specialises in pre and post natal exercise. Most people or your trusty next door
neighbor will probably tell you to relax, put your feet up and have a cuppa, and your
partner who are about to be dads can be very over protective when it comes to
pregnancy and exercise. So what should you do?
The important point is you can train during pregnancy and achieve positive results.
Research shows women who exercise regularly while pregnant have easier labours,
deliveries and recoveries, you to be careful you don't do too much. You should always
be able to hold a conversation, if you can't you need to slow down! (How often will
you hear that from a personal trainer!) If at any point you discover bleeding, back or
abdominal pain you should see you GP or midwife immediately. While pregnant you
will be able to train most days of the week but at a moderate intensity and when
lifting weights you should be lifting light to medium weights (40-60% of your one rep
max). REMEMBER always consider your technique which should be smooth.
What are the advantages? There are a number of physical and psychological benefits
from exercising while pregnant. It has been found that active women suffer from less
amounts of insomnia, less bouts of stress, anxiety and depression as feel good
endomorphins are released when exercising which promote the feeling of well being
and help to reduce fat storage.
There is also evidence which suggests that carrying out weight bearing exercises
reduces the length of labour and limits complications during delivery. Not exercising
during pregnancy leads to the waste of muscle and strength loss, decrease in CV
fitness and weight gain which can increase the chances of diabetes.
One of the obvious problems that can occur during pregnancy is lower back pain due
to the load that you are or will be carrying. There is strong evidence concerning this
topic, which is that strengthening the back can have a number of advantages during
pregnancy such as making mobility and day to day movements a lot easier.
Babies born to fit mothers are likely to be fitter, leaner and healthier. Babies born to
fit mothers are also likely to be sportier later on in life, therefore leading healthier
styles. It is true what people say, children are likely to pick up habits off their parents
and take after their parents genetically.
What can't you do? When pregnant I advise you not to over stretch, as your body
prepares for pregnancy the body will promote the levels of the hormone relaxin. This
hormone can increase flexibility at a joint and increase the damage to ligaments,
tendons and cartilage around the joint. With this in mind dynamic exercise and
movements should be avoided as due to the increase in flexibility you are at greater
risks of falls that can cause serious injury. So I recommend that you avoid contact
sports at all costs.