Should you be doing that? Are you harming the baby? You should be taking it easy… are just a few things I’ve seen bounded around the internet when browsing my favourite fit mamma’s Instagram accounts.
It seems that exercising whilst pregnant is still a contentious topic, with many questioning whether or not it can have a negative effect on your body and that of your unborn baby.
Now I must add a disclaimer to say I’m not an expert and the following is just my opinion. If you want to learn more around the subject then please undertake your own research and always consult your doctor before taking up a new exercise routine, especially whilst pregnant.
Personally, I am of the opinion that exercising whilst pregnant can be beneficial. Providing you are fit and well, and are already well versed in your chosen exercise or sport, I see no reason to stop training.
As you all know my exercise routine consists of a high volume of weight training supported with short circuits, mainly made up of kettle bell and bodyweight exercises, for quick cardio bursts.
Now I can’t speak for all types of training and sports, but after doing and learning more about my preferred training style over the last five years, there are several things that I have taken into consideration since becoming pregnant. If you’re pregnant, and want to continue to exercise throughout, then the following points may be things you want to consider too…
- Listen to your body – This has to be top of my list… if something doesn’t feel right, I simply stop and don’t do it. You know your body better than anyone else, so tune in and listen up.
- Make modifications – Certain exercises require modifying. For example, burpees are now performed to a box and chest exercises are done upright rather than lay on my back.
- Decrease weights – When it comes to compound lifts I try not to go any heavier than 50% of my pre-pregnancy weights. Most days this seems to work, however, sometimes I need to listen to my body, rather than my ego, and go even lower than that. So take it day by day.
- Don’t max out – If I need to use a weight belt, wraps or ask for a spot then I’m probably pushing myself too hard. There’ll be plenty of time to smash some PB’s after the baby is born.
- Focus on form – Rather than smashing out weights as hard and as fast as I can, I try to make sure that my form is correct and I’m feeling the movement in the right parts of my body. So set yourself up properly and take it slow.
To finish off this post I thought it would be nice to reach out to my fellow bloggers (some of which happen to be excellent Personal Trainers) to get their thoughts on the subject. Find out what they had to say below.
Blogger, PT and personal friend, Emma, from Weights and Wine says: “As a PT currently qualifying in my pre and post natal I’ve seen a lot of advice and guidance on training intuitively and listening to your body. I think that’s key in pregnancy. Adapting your workouts and being confident in knowing what your body can do.”
Blogger and Mum, Mary, from A healthier Moo commented: “I discovered that there were quite a lot of people who were not so keen on me continuing to run during my pregnancy last year. Mainly those from older generations. I wrote a post called ’14 things you should know about running during pregnancy’ on my blog at the time.” Find out more here.
Blogger and PT, Vicki, from Vicki Mellard PT advised: “As a PT that is qualified in Pre and Post Natal I think it is really beneficial both for the mum and the baby for her to keep as fit and healthy as she can, and exercise plays a part in it. It all depends on the individual and I would always say seek advice but if someone has trained before pregnancy they can do so whilst pregnant it’s all about making modifications and listening to your body. I have come across ladies who are scared to train because they are unsure of what to do but with my guidance they are able to do so with no harm. So yes it is ok as long as all is ok with the pregnancy & the mother feels confident and safe to do so, ask for help if needed.”
PT and blogger Elizaflynn.co.uk said: “I work specifically with pre and natal clients and I’ve found with pregnancies, everyone is different – from their attitude to what they’ve previously done, to how fit they are currently, to their expectations etc. I agree that it’s wise to listen to your body but I would also say that one thing people can under-estimate is how much they should be stretching. it’s so easy to ‘over-stretch’ when you’ve got loads of relaxin in your body and you often don’t realise it until after. Anything which puts pressure internally is a big no-no.”
Blogger Helen from HelsBels commented: “I don’t think that there should be anything controversial about it – it’s beneficial to keep fit and healthy, it’s simply about respecting your limits and being a bit more cautious.”
GP and blogger, Jess, from Twins in Trainers says: “I’m a GP and find there’s not that much useful information for patients on exercising in pregnancy – it also definitely seems to divide opinions!”
Discover her awesome blog post on exercising and running in pregnancy here.
In a recent blog post blogger and fellow Mum-to-be, Alana, advised: “Don’t worry if you feel unfit. There’s various things going on that mean your heart might race just walking up the stairs and even one press up could feel hard, and that’s ok. In my case this didn’t really come as a surprise given the dramatic change in my exercise routine. My advice would be to not be disheartened and just take your time during your workout.”
Check out her post on exercising in the first trimester here.
Are you a Mum-to-be? If so, I’d love to hear how you’re finding working out whilst pregnant in the comments below 👇👇👇