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Exercising Whilst Expecting

Personal Training has so many benefits to all walks of life, but have you ever considered how it might help during pregnancy? If you are expecting the birth of a child, it is natural to want to do everything you can to provide the best environment for your baby to grow and develop, both before pregnancy and during. In this blog I'm going to go into a bit more detail on how exercise and especially PT can be of benefit to pre-natal women. Please note, our Sterling Fitness trainers are not medically trained so please seek advice from your doctor or midwife before following any of our tips.


Before Pregnancy


The benefits that can be obtained from exercising and therefore being moderately fit before pregnancy are huge. This doesn't mean you need to be a super fit gym addict, but having a good level of aerobic fitness will do wonders for your overall health, and the healthier you are, the better chance you give your baby.

During pregnancy your body changes dramatically and a strong core and pelvic floor is essential to support those changes. These can be worked on prior to pregnancy and during early pregnancy with gentle isometric holds and low intensity mat work. For those who aren't looking to get pregnant, including men, these kinds of exercises are also helpful as a strong core and pelvic floor are important for everyone in everyday life. It is important to get expert advice before undertaking any such exercises, as form is crucial to performing the movements safely and effectively.

Another bonus of working out prior to pregnancy is simply that it will make you stronger, especially if you perform resistance training. This can help you prepare for the carrying and lifting of a baby/child which will help greatly, and it will also enable you to make light work of the weekly shop!

Exercising can also increase your fertility, so if you are trying to get pregnant, any form of exercise that elevates your heart rate, but doesn't leave you so breathless that you can't speak, will be beneficial to you. Obesity can be a limiting factor in fertility so if this is an issue for you, exercising can help you to reduce your body fat and in turn could potentially help you to become pregnant.

If you don't already exercise regularly, starting to do so before you are pregnant will create a habit that will fit into your daily lifestyle, and therefore you will be much more likely to continue the habit of daily exercise throughout and following your pregnancy. This is perhaps the hardest part of exercising - starting it but more importantly continuing long term!


During Pregnancy


Again, it's important to remember that a Personal Trainer, unless otherwise qualified to do so, should not offer advice or prescribe exercise programs for pregnant women unless advised and authorised by a medical professional. Once you have the go ahead however, exercise can be helpful for so many pregnant women. Not all types of exercise are for everyone, however if you are used to high intensity weightlifting for example, you may have to take it down a notch or two! As there are so many benefits, I have listed just some of them below:

  • Exercise and mindfulness (yoga, pilates etc) can make you more aware of your body. It's great for everyone to be in tune with their body but it is especially useful for pregnant women to listen to all the signals their body gives them - whether that's to start moving or to stop!

  • Exercise releases good endorphins and reduces stress. You don't have to throw yourself around a Crossfit box to feel the mental benefits of exercise; even a gentle stroll outside or on a treadmill can provide relaxation and mental clarity.

  • Labour is grueling and tiring. Getting moderately fit and maintaining that somewhat throughout pregnancy will improve your stamina and even your mental toughness too.

  • If you exercise, that might motivate your partner to as well! Making exercise part of everyday family life can not only bring health benefits for both of you, but it will create an active, healthy environment for your whole family.

  • Pregnancy can induce a slight lordic posture which can be remedied with corrective postural exercises. These should only be done under professional supervision with a qualified Personal Trainer, and again you should have clearance from a medical professional first, as an apparent case of lordosis in pregnant women is often just the spine adjusting to the new centre of gravity.

  • Although exercise is wonderful and as a PT I of course encourage it, when pregnant this is not the time to start a diet or intense workout class. Your body should be nourished with food and movement rather than be starved of essential nutrients that become even more important when expecting. The most important thing to remember is that you should only do what you feel comfortable with. If you didn't run before you were pregnant, there is no need to start now - stick to what feels right for you.


As always, for any Personal Training advice or queries, get in touch via info@samsterlingfitness.com, on our website, or our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/samsterlingfitness/.


For further advice, head over to the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pregnancy-exercise/

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