Updated: Jun 28, 2019
As a personal trainer who specializes in pre & postnatal exercise who is also a mother to a baby +1 on the way, I decided to share my experience with you, and hopefully to shed some light on this area that so many are afraid of. In this post I’ll focus on the general guidelines for prenatal exercise, without getting into specific exercises.
*Please keep in mind that the things I write here are valid when it comes to healthy pregnancies, always consult your doctor before engaging in a workout routine while pregnant.
IF IT FEELS GOOD – GO FOR IT!
The most important thing to remember is that our body is a super sophisticated and intelligent machine, and you can count on it to let you know if something is not right. Remember that working out is an individual subjective experience (weather you are pregnant or not), and that you should listen to your own body. As long as you feel good, you can breathe properly and don’t get any signs of dizziness etc. – you are good to go.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PRE PREGNANCY ROUTINE
If you were active before conceiving, you can maintain your existing routine, Yes, you can also run until your due date :) If you start to feel less comfy, just slow down and/or lower your duration, or simply stop doing it. Back to the basic rule: listen to your body.
AND IF I DIDN’T WORK OUT BEFORE?
If you never worked out before, it does NOT mean you should now sit on the couch for 9 months, on the contrary! Working out will make you feel better, but maybe save the world record goals for another time. Try moderate activities, like walking, swimming, yoga etc. Working out will help you deal better with the changes of your body, will help fight annoying fatigue and will be very beneficial for you.
KEEP YOUR HEART RATE UNDER 130 - RIGHT OR WRONG?
As I mentioned above, working out is an individual experience, therefore one person’s limit is not necessarily another person’s limit so we can’t set a ground rule that would be the same for everybody. Instead of relying on the number of heartbeats per minute, base your workout level on how you feel, using the ‘speech test’: As long as you are feeling good, you’re controlling your breaths and can maintain a simple conversation – you are good to go.
WHAT ABOUT ABDOMINAL WORK?
Yes, yes and YES!
Not only is it ok to work on the abs while pregnant, but with the right approach it can be of great value for a mom-to-be. By strengthening the core, including pelvic floor, your body benefits in three ways: It will be able to better support the increasing weight of the baby during pregnancy, it will be able to better help your baby during labor, and it will have a better chance to go back to its old self after birth, AVOID: holding your breath, crunches after first trimester.
IS IT OK TO DO DRILLS THAT REQUIRE LYING DOWN?
Yes, as long as it’s not for too long and as long as you feel ok. The reason doctors ask to avoid lying on your back or on the right side is the location of the vena cava which carries blood back from the body to the heart. The vena cava is located behind the uterus, and as the baby’s weight goes up – so does the pressure on it in these positions. However, like mentioned before, your body is pretty smart and will notify you if you need to change position: You would feel uncomfortable and/or breathless and dizzy which will probably make you change positions without even thinking about it. Either way, you need to be really flat on the back to cause such compression on the vena cava. So going back to the start: Feeling good? Most likely you are just fine J And if you are still worried, simply change positions frequently while working out.
USE YOUR JUDGMENT AND BE SAFE
If a certain activity requires contact with another person who might run into you by accident, or if there is a flying ball involved (like a soccer ball that can hit you right in the tummy), you might want to avoid it. The same goes for activities that involve balance and have a risk of falling. Simply use your judgment: If something doesn’t look safe to you – just don’t do it.
SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
As long as you are feeling good and the doc says you have a healthy baby and you are fine– keep working out. You should still give extra attention to functional exercises that will suit your current needs, but it doesn't mean they come instead of any other workout that you like doing. A Full body workout is perfectly fine and will make you feel great!