Training While Pregnant

By Michela DiTocco
Becoming pregnant is a wonderful and exciting time in most peoples’ lives.  It doesn’t mean that your whole life changes though. You can still enjoy the benefits of your existing training regime and see how it will benefit you during this stage of your life. It is important that by maintaining your fitness you can achieve your pre-baby body after the pregnancy sooner.
There are many benefits in training during your pregnancy including increased energy levels, gradual weight gain, improved cardiovascular fitness, and improved strength in lower back and pelvic muscles.  Although the training schedule may be slightly modified, it is recommended that you not introduce any new exercises. A few important guidelines to remember, don’t let your heart rate get above 140bpm when training, if training in hot weather always wear a hat and remain in the shade, always ensure you are well hydrated (drinks lots of water), take a few extra rest breaks during the session and avoid abdominal and high impact (running, jumping, skipping) exercises.
During the later stages of your pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimester) remember to include exercises to strengthen your lower back, also be careful with exercises which require more balance as your sense of equilibrium may be affected. Utilise a Swiss ball for any weight based exercises, this reduces the stress on your joints and also keeps you off your feet. Your joints will also become more flexible and have a greater range of motion during pregnancy, primarily due to a hormone which is released called relaxin. This just means you need to be careful with any dynamic movement exercises and watch your range of motion in exercises like squats.
After your baby, time is precious and it is important that after 6 weeks, and your Doctor’s ok, to begin training again. If you have had a natural birth your pelvic muscles and abdominals will be very weak, so ensure you are including exercises to strengthen those areas.  The more focused you are the quicker you can achieve your health and fitness goals, just listen to your body, and your trainer, and you can have your pre-baby body back.  If you are ever unsure about what you can and can’t do with your training while you’re pregnant, train with a qualified personal trainer to ensure you are receiving the most accurate and up to date training information.

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