Adrianna on: Working Out During Pregnancy

As a mother of 2 (beautiful, healthy kiddies) and a fitness coach, I’ve been asked numerous times if I worked out during pregnancy, is it safe and what type of exercise is allowed.

Let me start by saying that each woman’s pregnancy is different and even my first pregnancy was different than my second. This is a very unique occasion and even during a healthy pregnancy (if it’s your first especially) you question everything you do, eat and drink.

There seems to be a lack of quality information regarding weight training during pregnancy and what’s worse, plenty of conflicting information that causes confusion.

Talking from my own experience, I believe that keeping myself in shape during pregnancy helped me with my mood (I gained only 10 kg with my first and 12 kg with my second child) during and post pregnancy and definitely with delivery (both natural – no pain relief).

In my opinion, if you have not exercised prior to getting pregnant this is definitely not the time to start, unless it’s pilates or yoga designed for pregnant women. I love weight training and it had lots of benefits before, during and post pregnancy. I kept doing weight training throughout both pregnancies with some alterations depending on the trimester.

I was crazy enough to teach cycling (spinning) classes  until 7 and a half months pregnant. None of it was new to me nor my body. I was aware that at some point I needed to slow down (e.g. in the 3rd trimester you are much heavier). It’s very important to listen to your body and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.

I am very lucky and both my pregnancies were healthy and I had no complications (except trapped wind, hahaha- that can be very painful). As mentioned before:

staying fit during pregnancy differs for each woman but in my opinion I had an easy pregnancy and delivery because I lifted weights mixed with some cardio throughout my pregnancy.

Weights (strength training routine) helped me build confidence in my body and its abilities preparing me for delivery and post pregnancy. Lifting weights is safe as long as you are doing it correctly with the right technique.  I believe that helped me reduce back pain and sciatica.

Not only will weightlifting help you maintain mental stamina and toughness for labor, but it will also maintain and improve physical stamina.

Prenatal exercise will set you up for a quick postpartum recovery, and get you back to feeling strong and powerful in the gym and as a parent.

My first labor was only 4 hours and I’m not sure if it’s due to not feeling my first small contractions because I’m used to muscles contracting on daily basis or because I didn’t have them :). Either way I’m glad I didn’t suffer 12h+ like most women do.

Exercise during pregnancy

Some research states that fitter moms have shorter labors, less chance of preterm labor, fewer complications, and shorter hospital stays. If that wasn’t enough, women exercising during pregnancy report lower rates of perceived exertion during labor!

If your doctor gives you thumbs up to hit the gym, do it!!! The benefits of working out while pregnant can be good for you and your baby.

If you are not sure what you can or cannot do you should find someone who can guide you through strength training to keep your changing body as strong, stable, and comfortable as possible.

And what about the babies? Studies showed that exercise during pregnancy might program a baby’s heart to resist cardiovascular problems later in life, because they have stronger blood vessels. In addition, it has been found that the brains of babies born to women who exercised moderately throughout pregnancy appear to mature faster. It’s also well documented that babies show higher APGAR scores and are better able to handle the stress of labor.

I found this book very informative:

“Exercising Through Your Pregnancy,” by James Clapp

This book presents case studies of women who exercised regularly before, during, and after pregnancy. The book provides guidelines for exercise plans that safely fulfill a mother’s needs during different phases of pregnancy.

Studies referred to in this article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24163423

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22643160

 

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