Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy Fitness’

Pregnancy Video – Week 37 – Update & Anxiety

week-37-front week-37-side

Hi Everyone,

Nearly at the end of week 37 and very much ready to be done now. Caring for and carrying a toddler around when you’re this pregnant is not much fun, especially when said toddler is smack bang in the middle of the terrible two’s and not fond of sleeping past 6am! Getting slightly anxious about managing two small children but I’m sure we’ll get into our groove fairly quickly. I’m all set with my buggy, hospital bag etc so all I need now is for baby to not hang about too long.

I’ve been busy putting together the January courses for the past couple of weeks. There will be two courses as follows:

  1. A 6-week online Post-Pregnancy course and
  2. A 6-week online General Health and Fitness course

I will have more details about each nearer to their launch time and if you’d like to be added to my mailing list so that you receive all of the details straight to your inbox then please add your details here.

No. of weeks pregnant: 37

Exercise: I’ve slowed right down now. I’m still walking 5km about five days a week, doing Pregnancy Yoga, some bodyweight and band-assisted resistance training as well as lots of flexibility work but I’ve officially stopped running for this pregnancy. I want to keep as active as possible but have no interest in feeling sore or stiff at this stage.

Food: I’ve been comfort eating a little for the last few weeks and I’ve talked about the reasons why in the video to go with this post. Still eating healthy, balanced main meals though and freezing lots of meals in preparation for the weeks post-pregnancy when I’ll have neither the time nor energy to put in the effort.

Bump is: nearly on my knees now!! It’s pulling on my mid-back a lot now so I’m getting my other half to give me regular massages to help with the tension. I also hope to start having pregnancy massages and reflexology from this week too.

Measurements: Starting to see a change in these now which I expected. I’m definitely losing some muscle tissue and it’s being replaced with body fat. Plenty of time to work on that afterwards and I’m looking forward to it. I will literally be the test case for my own post-pregnancy online course!

 Week 32This Week
Arm9.5"10"
Boobs35"35"
Waist31.532.5"
Bellybutton35"36.5"
Hips 38"38"
Thigh21"21.5"

As always if you have any questions or comments please mail me or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Fit with Bríd and Snapchat @mrskbomb.

Bríd

 

 

 

Pregnancy Video – Week 32 – Update & Gift Ideas for a 2nd time Mother

 

week-32-front

week-32-side

Hi Everyone,

I’m half way through week 32 and very happy to be on the home straight. Not a major fan of the last few weeks but I just have to get over myself because baby needs a bit more cooking before it’s ready for the world! All good otherwise thankfully. In my video today I talked a little about some gift ideas for a second time mother. While, of course, all gifts are appreciated these are some of the things that I think would be helpful and are things that I often bring myself. I’m also talking about my online course plans for the future. Obviously I’m going to be taking a few weeks off after the baby arrives but the New Year is a busy time in the fitness world so I hope to be back then with two new online courses – a general population one where I will be looking at body image and mindset too and a post-pregnancy specific course to help new mothers get their strength and fitness back. I will be sending updates about these courses nearer to the time and if you’d like to be kept informed head over here.

No. of weeks pregnant: 32

Exercise: I started going to Pregnancy Yoga this week and really enjoyed it. I find it hard to slow down and quieten my mind so yoga is a good class for me. I’m also in the middle of teaching my second round of Pregnancy Fitness classes in Portlaoise and loving them too. In addition to these classes I’m walking 5km regularly with Frankie in the buggy and doing some circuits and interval training at home. I’m doing lots of flexibility work now too to make sure that I don’t get too tight and sore and run the risk of an injury.

Food: Definitely needing to snack more but trying to pick healthy options like Glenisk yogurt and home-made granola as well as bananas, mixed fruit and nuts/seeds and frozen orange juice ice-pops.

Bump is: feeling like it’s getting very big now but my measurements haven’t changed much. It seems to be a lot lower this time and I get a very uncomfortable feeling like I’m being suffocated when I so much as sit back on the couch. It’s making sleeping very difficult but I’m adjusting and let’s face it I’m not going to be sleeping much in 8 weeks anyway so maybe it’s best to get used to it now!

Anything else: I’ve gone into preparation mode now. I’m getting all the little niggly jobs in the business, the house and life in general done gradually. I’ve got my accounts done early (which NEVER happens) and am going to be putting together the plans for my January courses over the coming month. I’m preparing freezer meals and trying to get a few things sorted with Frankie like soothers and sleeping arrangements as well as scrubbing each room one by one.

My measurements:

Really surprised to see that these haven’t changed a lot more. It definitely feels like I’m getting a lot bigger but maybe it’s just because everything is getting so squashed on the inside!

 Week 32This Week
Arm9.5"10"
Boobs35"35"
Waist31.532.5"
Bellybutton35"36.5"
Hips 38"38"
Thigh21"21.5"

As always if you have any questions or comments please mail me or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Fit with Bríd and Snapchat @mrskbomb.

Bríd

Pregnancy Video – Week 28 – Update

Week 28

Week 28 sIDE

Hi Everyone,

Today I’m posting my latest pregnancy update and at week 28 I have officially entered the final trimester. This is just a very short video as luckily I’m doing really well and have nothing major to report. I recorded the video earlier in the week but as always I waited until I had my scan today to post it. I’m not a bit superstitious but it’s still nice to get that reassurance.

No of weeks pregnant: 28

Currently feeling: Really good. Struggling with sleep some nights, experiencing some sinus problems and also heartburn and indigestion but those things are so minor in the scheme of things.

Exercise: Going really well. Still managing to exercise regularly if a little less over the past two weeks. Running is up and down as I talked about in the video. Definitely planning to start pregnancy Yoga next week (and stop talking about it!).

Food: The whole heartburn and indigestion things is clearly a sign that I need to stop eating so much and I’m really trying but I’ve had a lot of meals out lately for different things. Otherwise I’m being quite good. I’m craving ice (as in to chew) and I have always sworn that cravings were in your head so that proves me wrong!

Bump is: Small in the morning and nearly double the size by night! Lots of movement which is really visible from outside now. Had a lovely moment today where it was moving loads and I was able to let my little sister Jessica, who’s 9, feel it.

Anything else: I’m horrendously emotional at the minute. It’s really hit home that I only have a short bit of time left with it just being myself and Frankie (and Dermot of course!). I’m really conscious of making the most of our time together. I had planned to do so much more than I’ve actually done with him this summer and so I’ve decided to start slowing down with work over the next 4-6 weeks. The plan is to have most of the month of October to spend with him. I had to go back to work really quickly after having him. As a result he’s very independent but I do feel that I missed out on some important time with him and am planning on having a longer break this time around (although I’m already making big plans for a really good online course in January!).

My Measurements:

It’s interesting to see that while I’m obviously gaining on my middle I’m losing a little from my arms and legs. This is probably as a result of me not doing as much resistance exercise as I would have done beforehand. I’m still doing loads of bodyweight, dynaband and 8kg kettlebell work but that’s about my limit right now. I’ve been wanting to reduce my muscle bulk a little for the last year anyway so this isn’t a big deal to me.

 Week 32This Week
Arm9.5"10"
Boobs35"35"
Waist31.532.5"
Bellybutton35"36.5"
Hips 38"38"
Thigh21"21.5"

Please contact me for more information about:

  • my private Pregnancy Fitness group on Facebook – no fee, just a place to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of keeping fit during pregnancy.
  • my Pregnancy Fitness classes running on Wednesdays at 7pm in Portlaoise. I have a new 4-week course starting on Wed 7th of September and this will be my last course before I have the baby.
  • my Buggy Bootcamp classes running on Wednesday mornings at 10am in Portlaoise. This is a pay as you go class and you can join in any time. The last class will be held on Wed 28th of September.

The final day for joining my Super Six-week Slim-down is September 5th. For all of the details about the course head over here.

Bríd

 

Pregnancy Video – Week 23 Update & Weight

Week 22 FrontWeek 22Hi Everyone,

Today I’m posting my second pregnancy update video. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the first one you can find it here. In this video I’m talking about my gratitude for a smooth run so far and also weight gain during pregnancy. So many women that I come in contact with either through personal training or online have told me how they have struggled or are struggling with weight gain during pregnancy. For some it’s that they were gaining too much excess weight from eating unhealthily and not getting enough, if any, exercise. For others it was that they felt they were too focused on how much they were gaining throughout and didn’t enjoy their pregnancy enough as a result. This isn’t a ‘what’s right and what’s wrong’ kind of post just a little advice about your mindset in relation to pregnancy weight gain and about keeping as fit and healthy as you possibly can for your own sake. It’s not intended to offend anyone and so I really hope that it doesn’t.

No of weeks pregnant: 23

Currently feeling: Very good, no complaints at all thankfully!

Exercise: Going well so far. I’m probably not going to continue to run for much longer as detailed in the video because of the pressure I feel on my bladder but I’ll be (fast) walking the roads for as long as I possibly can. I’m also doing interval training workouts, resistance training, Pilates and Yoga.

Food: Maintaining a well balanced diet at the minute. Being particularly good 5-6 days per week and then having a day or two where I’m more flexible which usually means eating out or eating cake!

Bump is: Getting a lot bigger and very active. Jumping from one position to another constantly.

Anything else: Really looking forward to my next scan which will be in a couple of weeks. We’re considering finding out what we’re having this time but still not 100% sure about it. Also now starting to consider the things we need to do to get Frankie prepared for the new baby such as moving him into his own bed. Even though he’ll be two in a fortnight I still feel like he’s a new baby. Where has the time gone?!

My Measurements:

As I said in my first post I’m not weighing myself during this pregnancy like I did with Frankie. It bothered me too much last time and there really is no need to watch the scales once you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise. I take my measurements because I find it interesting to see what’s happening to my body but again won’t be getting too hung up on them. I was surprised by how little they changed this time but I’m sure they will be a lot different next time.

 Week 32This Week
Arm9.5"10"
Boobs35"35"
Waist31.532.5"
Bellybutton35"36.5"
Hips 38"38"
Thigh21"21.5"

Please contact me to find out more information about:

  • joining the (free) private Pregnancy Fitness Group on Facebook
  • joining my Buggy Bootcamp class in Portlaoise on a Wednesday morning
  • joining my forthcoming Pregnancy Fitness Classes in Portlaoise (date and time TBD)

You can also find out more about my Super Six-week Slim-down here. This is my current online course and is running all summer. It’s a course designed for busy women who want to improve their health and fitness without fuss and is particularly popular with new mothers and brides-to-be.

Hope you find this helpful and as always feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.

Brídx

Pregnancy Video – Nutrition

BREAKFAST

Hi Everyone,

I’ve made a short video to talk about some of my tips for nutrition during pregnancy. As discussed in the video, nutrition is never as important as it is during pregnancy when you’re growing a new person. Here’s a list of my top 10 foods during pregnancy:

Eggs – Couldn’t stand them during trimester one but since that passed I am now living one them. So easy and they contain a range of vitamins, minerals, proteins and good fats.

Bananas – A great go-to snack that’s always good for keeping your energy levels up when you’re on the good.

Wholegrain Bread – A great source of slow releasing energy. I try to stick to two slices max per day and usually have them late morning or for lunch.

Salmon – Great source of omega 3 and helps to promote cell growth for you and baby.

Sweet Potato – Loaded with vitamins A,B and C. They cook quickly and are a great carbohydrate for dinner.

Natural Yogurt – Great for calcium and with my next choice, mixed berries, make a lovely healthy snack.

Berries – Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. This time of year is perfect for them too. I add them to porridge, yogurt and even mix them with a little dark chocolate for a late night snack. They help the body to absorb iron too.

Almonds – I love all nuts and seeds in general but almonds are my favourite. I love sliced almonds with my yogurt and berries or just a handful of them as a snack when I’m on the go. They contain iron too which is really important during pregnancy.

Avocados – Full of good fats. I advise sticking to a half avocado per day but these make a great addition to a sale or alongside a burger for dinner.

Water – Ok not actually food but still deserves to make the list. Staying hydrated is really important during pregnancy particularly if you’re pregnant during the summer months. I start the day with luke warm water and lemon and I always carry a nice Bobble bottle with me throughout the day.

Below are links to any websites I mentioned in the video:

NHS Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy

First 100 Days 

Safe Food Healthy Eating during Pregnancy

Hope you find this helpful. I have started a private pregnancy fitness group on Facebook. It’s an informal group and there’s no fee to join. If you’d like to join us please mail me brid@fitwithbrid.ie or you can contact me through Facebook and Instagram.

Bríd

Pregnancy Video Week 18 – General Update

Mini Marathon Bump

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to share my first pregnancy video post. In this video I’m talking about:

  • why i felt the need to do pregnancy fitness videos
  • the private pregnancy fitness Facebook group that I’m going to be starting
  • my own pregnancy so far
  • what to expect in the coming weeks

When I do these updates I’ll also do a little profile of where I’m at so here’s this week’s:

No. of weeks pregnant: 18

Currently feeling: Very good. I’ve been a lot more tired in general this pregnancy but really starting to feel my energy levels improve this week. I’ve had a problem with my lower back since before I got pregnant but thankfully that doesn’t seem to be getting any worse yet.

Exercise: Managing to do most of my usual stuff. Walking/running 5km about three times per week and doing my intervals, resistance exercises, Pilates and stretches at home. I had started to do Yoga before getting pregnant but with all that I’ve had going on in the last few months I’ve let it slide. Definitely want to get back into it soon. I did the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on bank holiday Monday and had a great day. I ran 2km and walked 1km three times and then ran the last 1km. I finished in just under 1 hour so I was delighted with that.

Food: Eating fairly well. I’ve been out and about a lot so have been trying to be as good as possible when making choices but I’ve also been allowing myself some treats too. I love desserts SOOO much but can’t blame that on pregnancy I’m afraid! 

Bump is: starting to move a little. I can definitely feel the movements a lot more strongly this time and if I put my hand on the lower part of my abs I can feel it from the outside too. The size changes every day. Some days it’s really out there and then others you’d barely notice it at all. Definitely gets bigger as the day goes on.

Anything else: I told Frankie that there was a baby in my belly and he’s now obsessed with it. He goes ‘knock knock knock baby’ on my stomach. At 22 months he obviously doesn’t really get it though because he also thinks there’s a baby in his belly now too!! Also when I ask him if he’s going to share his blankey and dody with the baby he shouts a very definite ‘NO!’. Oh well plenty of time to get him used to the idea yet.

We’re off on holidays to Portugal next week. Really looking forward to getting a bit of sun. I’ll have to do a small bit of work while over there but otherwise I’m going to chill with the family and spend loads of time with Frankie. I hope to get some workouts in when I’m over there and will take plenty of bump shots!

My Measurements 

My scales have been broken for about 2 months now and I’m not going to bother getting a new one. Outside of pregnancy I’ve never really cared much about my weight. Once I’m feeling good that’s my guide. If my clothes are telling me I’m putting it on I will usually do my measurements to see what’s happening. During pregnancy I just find it interesting to see how much my body is changing and it also gives me something to compare to afterwards when I’m trying to lose any excess body fat gained.

 Week 32This Week
Arm9.5"10"
Boobs35"35"
Waist31.532.5"
Bellybutton35"36.5"
Hips 38"38"
Thigh21"21.5"

 

The following are links for the pregnancy blog posts I mentioned about having written previously:

Here are the links for the guidelines I referred to in the video:

Excuse the change of background, my first take decided to skip and I lost loads of what I had said! Hope you enjoy and feel free to mail me if you have any questions. 

If you’d like to join my private pregnancy fitness group head over to my Facebook page Fit with Bríd and send me a message.

Brídx

Introduction to my Summer of Vlogging

Here’s a short introductory post telling you a little bit about what I hope to vlog about over the coming months (but as explained in this video I’m just going to call them videos because I HATE the word VLOG!!). I’m also telling a little about what’s in store for the online courses over the summer too.

To add your name to the mailing list for more information about the online courses go here.

Brídx

Pregnancy Posture & Stretches

Pregnancy Posture Pic

Growing and carrying a new little person is hard work and often results in musclar imbalances within the body which can cause soreness, stiffness and general discomfort. As if a pregnant woman hasn’t enough to worry about with feeling tired and a little anxious too. The weight of a pregnant woman’s bump causes a shift in posture and the following can often happen:

  • Hips tilt forward as the bump grows outwards
  • An increased curve in the lower back, known as Lordosis, happens as a result
  • The hip flexor muscles (joining the front of your thighs to your hip area) can then feel tight and the glutes (bum) become weak and stretched
  • If there is an increase in the size and weight of the breasts the shoulders can become rounded, known as Kyphosis
  • Head tilts forward as a result

Pregnancy Pilates and Yoga classes can help to address these imbalances and alleviate the discomfort felt. Pregnant women who sit a lot for work should ensure that they have an ergonomic workstation (set up correctly and specifically for their needs) and that they take regular breaks to stand up, walk around and stretch.

I’ve put together a short video clip of stretches that can help. Practice as often as possible, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths. Be careful not to push too deeply into each stretch as the hormone Relaxin is present in a pregnant woman’s body and can result in soften ligaments and joints. These stretches can also be helpful post pregnancy when these areas are still feeling the effects.

Hope you find this helpful,

Brídx

Pregnancy Health & Fitness – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post I wrote about general guidelines for pregnancy fitness. In this post I want to look at little more in-depth at some of the specific things which women commonly question when they are considering what to do during pregnancy.

Before I continue I advise that you read Part 1 and also remind you that you MUST get permission from your doctor before taking part in any form of exercise during pregnancy.

In this post I’m covering concerns I had during my own fit pregnancy (which you can read about here) as well as those I have been asked about by other pregnant women. So let’s have a look:

Can I lift weights?

MONTH 8 SHOULDER PRESS

Women are often discouraged from lifting weights during pregnancy. The general weight limit bandied about is around 10kg. This limit didn’t sit well with me for a number of reasons including the fact that every woman has a different strength base coming into pregnancy. From the information I found I was correct in my assumption that this generalised limit wasn’t correct. So what could I safely lift then? The simple answer was whatever I could safely lift. That meant:

Making sure my technique was correct – this gets harder the further you get into your pregnancy when the weight of the bump causes a shift in your postrure and alignment. If you are in any way unsure as to whether your technique is correct then don’t do it. Poor technique makes it unsafe for your body. Baby will be fine but muscles need to be cared for too.

Avoiding holding my breath – prior to becoming pregnant I would have lifted very heavy weight that required me to do this so I halved my lifting weight straight away.

Reducing the weight as my pregnancy progressed and increasing my reps instead.

Giving myself adequate rest days to allow my muscles to recover – not something I was always super at but as my pregnancy progressed my body started to give me no choice.

Stopping anything that felt uncomfortable – this seems obvious but when you’re used to pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone it’s important to remember that shouldn’t be the case during pregnancy.

Why shouldn’t I lie on my back?

This is one you will hear about often during pregnancy but very rarely is it explained. The reason it is important is to avoid the possibility of Supine Hypotensive Syndrome occurring.

Supine Hypotensive Syndrome

Image source unknown

Supine Hypostensive Syndrome can occur when a pregnanct woman is lying supine and the weight of the uterus compresses the inferior vena cava (a large vein carrying blood to the heart) causing a partial or full blockage. This can restrict blood flow to and from the heart.  It is more common in the later stages of pregnancy when the uterus weighs more but can happen at any stage and is obviously very dangerous. Supine exercises, for example those performed in a Pilates class, should be adapted using a wedge or cushions under the upper body.

Will doing abdominal exercises hurt my baby?

Baby is well cocooned in there and you doing ab exercises should not harm him or her. However what it is important to be aware of when it comes to ab exercises is what they may do to your actual abdominal muscles. Excess pressure on them can cause diastasis recti which is a separation of the long rectus abdominus muscle that runs down the centre of your stomach.

Diastasis Recti

Image from http://www.diastasisrectirepair.com

This can sometimes happen for a number of other reasons but it’s important to be clever with your exercise choices for the best chance of avoidance. This is where I would encourage women to seek guidance from an instructor who has experience of working with pregnant clients. As mentioned above it’s important not to lie in the supine position and a pregnancy specific instructor will know how to modify specific exercises to make them suitable.

How much cardio is too much?

This was my biggest concern during pregnancy. I’m not a competitive athlete but I like to run 5-10km regularly as well as push myself in circuit and interval type training. I had heard that I shouldn’t allow my heart rate to exceed 140BPM but this didn’t seem like an awful lot and I wondered again how this generalisation could be applied to every woman regardless of her fitness levels coming into pregnancy. Again my suspicions were well founded as this guideline has been replaced with the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. This is more applicable to the individual because it’s based on how they feel. When exercising during pregnancy a rating of around 13-14 on the scale is sufficient.

Bjorg Scale Londonrunning.pt.com

Image from http://www.londonrunningpt.com

Two things I would be aware of when it comes to cardio exercise like running is Pelvic Girdle Pain and Weak Pelvic Floor. Exercising safely shouldn’t cause either but if you find that it aggrevates them then you might want to look at more stationary alternatives like an exercise bike or other low impact types of exercise. If it feels good I encourage women to keep going for as long as they can. Personally I started to wind up my running at about 32 weeks and took brisk walks instead but I did continue these walks right up until the morning I went into labour. Towards the end you have regular medical appointments and should check at each one if the Dr. is happy for you to continue. I’ve said it in posts before and I’ll say it again now, it gets A LOT HARDER to get your fitness fix when you have a new baby so doing as much as you are able to do while you are able to do it is my advice to you.

Exercising through your pregnancy

I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about pregnancy exercise. Awful picture but a great read if you’re a pregnancy fitness nerd like me. You can find it to purchase here.

Hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions please let me know here.

Bríd

Pregnancy Health & Fitness Part 1

When I found out I was pregnant at the start of December 2013 I was ecstatic but also nervous. I had taken redundancy from the “good pensionable job” (aka the bank) a couple of months beforehand to run my fitness business full time and to study. The early weeks of pregnancy are a scary time for every mother-to-be but when your job is as physical as mine is it can be even more worrying. I had built up a great business over the previous 6 years and didn’t want to lose any of it yet didn’t want to put my baby in jeopardy either. I also didn’t want to have to stop exercising for my own health, fitness and enjoyment either and strongly believed that it was possible that I didn’t have to. So I started to research it during my pregnancy. After having Frankie I then went back to college to do a fitness related degree. Part of my studies during the past year have included further research into pregnancy fitness. So you could say I’m slightly obsessed with it and a little bit annoying to get into a conversation about it with.

 

2014-07-28 19.48.26

Guidelines

I would strongly recommend that any pregnant woman who wants to continue to exercise safely during pregnancy reads the guidelines attached from both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseduringpregnancy.pdf

http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period

These two are my bibles when it comes to what is and isn’t safe. The general advice is that once you have received medical clearance to exercise (which will usually require that you have a normal, healthy pregnancy with no complications) then exercise is both safe and beneficial to you and your baby. Both guidelines advise that your exercise intensity should not exceed that of pre-pregnancy levels. A proper balance of nutrition, hydration, exercise and rest is essential. Imbalance in any one of these areas can result in safety concerns for both mother and baby.

Both advise that you should avoid the following:

  • Sports that are likely to involve contact e.g. hockey, soccer, basketball
  • Recreational activities that involve a high risk of falling e.g. horse riding, gymnastics
  • Anything that increases the risk for decompression sickness e.g. scuba diving
  • Physical activity at high altitudes (above 6,000 ft)
  • Exercising in the supine position (on your back) after the first trimester

Talking to your Medical Team

During my pregnancy I received mixed messages from the different doctors and nurses I met at my medical appointments. One would tell me it was good to keep exercising, another would be very cautious. The most frustrating part was that every time I asked why I couldn’t do something I was told it was just better, just safer. I’m the type of person that needs real, factual answers when it comes to diet and exercise and I can’t just be happy with generalisations and being told ‘because that’s how it’s done’. Obviously you should take your GP or practitioner’s advice very seriously but if you’re unsure as to why they are advising something then ask them why and look for a real answer. If you have a normal, healthy pregnancy then it would be unusual for them to tell you that you couldn’t continue to exercise at some level. From my experience there is a lack of confidence amongst pregnancy practitioners as to what exercise pregnant women should and shouldn’t do. It’s understandable as they fear litigation if something goes wrong but I see a day coming when the litigation will be for the advice not to exercise rather than to continue. I would love to see Ireland streamline the pregnancy exercise advice it gives to expectant mothers and really encourage pregnancy health and fitness.

2014-04-24 19.14.09-1

So what can you do?

The guidelines advise the following (in addition to getting medical clearance):

  • Previously active women with no complications can remain active during pregnancy and modify their exercise routine as medically indicated.
  • Previously active women with a history of complications during pregnancy should reduce their activity in the second and third trimester.
  • Previously inactive women and those with medical/obstetric complications should be medically evaluated before commencing an exercise program (but can exercise if cleared).

Breaking down exercise into the categories above here is some advice on safe and effective ways to exercise:

Previously active women

This is the category I fell under and it is probably the most complicated one. This will really depend on what level of activity you were doing previously. If you were a person who exercised moderately then you should be fine to continue as normal. However if you were exercising to a high intensity you may need to make some modifications.

While many women are now choosing to continue to lift heavy weights it’s important to consider the impact that they may have on your muscles and joints due to the fact that the relaxin hormone is released during pregnancy to allow the pelvis to widen for birth.

Running is very popular now and while I personally continued to run until late into my pregnancy it’s important to consider your pelvic floor muscles and the pressure that running and impact in general can have on them and your pelvis.

I talked about my post pregnancy shoulder injury in a previous post and acknowledged that I believe my high intensity exercise program during pregnancy may have contributed to the injury. However I know of other women who exercised to the same or higher intensity than I did and they had no problems at all so it’s such an individual experience. I think it’s very important to talk to someone in the know if you find out that you are pregnant and want to continue to exercise. That might be a physiotherapist or an instructor who has experience and education in working with pregnant clients.

Previous active women with a history of complications

I won’t offer advice in this category as only a doctor can really know a woman’s medical history and how it will impact her exercise choices.

Previously inactive women

For previously inactive women who have medical clearance and even for previously active women who want to reduce their intensity there are still lots of options.

Pregnancy Pilates & Yoga – great choices for core strength, resistance exercise in general, flexibility and relaxation. Some experienced instructors with a pregnancy exercise certification may also allow you to join a mainstream class and give you specific modifications.

Swimming & Water Aerobics – the low impact nature of both can make them good choices for pregnant women seeking aerobic exercise.

Walking – we’ve kind of forgotten all about walking with the current running craze but it is still a very beneficial form of exercise particularly for pregnant women. Just make sure that if you are looking to get the cardiovascular benefits then you need to be walking at a pace that makes holding a conversation a little hard. You should always be able to talk when exercising during pregnancy but if you’re able to regale your walking partner with the full Eastenders storyline then you are possibly not walking fast enough to get the goods.

Soup Salad Bread

Diet & Weight Gain

Exercising during pregnancy wasn’t all about looking good for me nor is it for many women. It’s about staying fit and healthy, keeping your baby healthy and not having to struggle with a lot of weight gain afterwards. Some weight gain is normal and necessary during pregnancy. However a lot of women mistakenly believe that they need to ‘eat for two’ during pregnancy. No doubt this is part of the reason many women put on too much weight during their pregnancy and then struggle with it afterwards.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the truth is that the average pregnant woman will only need about 200-300 extra calories per day on top of the recommended 2000 calories. (1 tablespoon of peanut butter is 100 calories so that’s not a lot!) If you were consuming more than the recommended amount before pregnancy, which can often be the case, then no extra is required at all.

On the flip side it’s important to remember that if you decide to remain physically active during pregnancy you may need to increase your intake of calories to meet the energy output. Eating regularly as well as an hour before and straight after physical activity will help to keep your blood sugar regulated and help you to avoid getting dizzy or even worse fainting. Pregnancy really is a time to try and follow a diet that is as healthy and balanced as possible so that your baby gets all the nutrients it needs. Believe me you are most definitely not going to be at your dietary best in the weeks post pregnancy so during is the time to keep it in check!

Most Importantly

If you are going to exercise during your pregnancy be sure that you are 100% comfortable with your decision. If you have your medical clearance and you exercise safely then there should be no reason why it would have an adverse affect on you, your pregnancy or your baby. However if you are not fully confident of your decision and something very unfortunate does happen you don’t want to end up with feelings of guilt.

This post was really hard to write as there is so much I want to tell you about. However I realised that nobody wants to read a post as long as it would have been so I will be adding to this post in the coming weeks.

Please feel free to contact me through my facebook page if you have any questions at all and I’d be happy to help you.