I find this topic comes up, time and time again when it comes to exercise in pregnancy.
After today's Modified Farmer Training workout at The Barn KT9, I was inspired to write this post.
When it comes to exercise in pregnancy, if it feels good, you can totally carry on doing what makes you happy (as long as it’s not skydiving, deep sea diving, hot yoga, contact sports, or any of the other high risk exercises for pregnancy. See the official RCN UK guidelines for more information).
Sadly, there’s still this belief that pregnancy means you should immediately lift nothing heavier than a bag of sugar and god forbid you break a sweat!
In fact, pregnancy is a time where women should be exercising as the benefits are endless for you and your baby’s health. However, sadly the majority of women don’t meet the recommended levels of exercise during their pregnancy, often due to a lack of time.
Now more women are training in pregnancy, we're getting access to new research on how much and what we can do, and it really is incredible. There are also some brilliant personalities in the fitness industry who are spreading the word and showing that you can:
(Our wonderful coach) Caroline Bragg
Rosie at Mamawell
Rachel at ReBorn Active
And then can I cheekily add myself, Em, over at On Point Training?
When I first qualified, the chat was about certain heart rate zones you had to stick within, and that HIIT was a no go (we'll write a post on how to exercise in pregnancy, I promise - for now, just ask one of our instructors in class for guidance)
These days, the research is changing. Just to throw out a few examples…
- You can do HIIT in pregnancy (although personally, I'm not a huge fan of HIIT given it can get overused in a bad way) - This study was done on 14 women who all took part in HIIT training in their late second, early third trimester. Although it’s a small study (it’s immoral to test on pregnant women hence why studies and participants are few and far between), it demonstrated that there were no adverse foetal effects (although more research is required).
- You can lift heavy in pregnancy - This study focused on the physical impact of lifting in pregnancy. It involved women lifting weights or participating in Crossfit who would lift 80% of their 1 rep max during pregnancy. The results showed that lifting weights during pregnancy had no greater impact on their pelvic floor than it would it they hadn't have trained thus in pregnancy.
Regardless, when pregnant, you should move the goal posts
That said, pregnancy is a time where goals should change as your focus should be feeling good throughout your pregnancy (so you feel less broken on the other side!)
Here are what I feel are a few key focuses towards exercise in pregnancy:
- Lose the goal of PB and more of a strong body to withstand pregnancy (in particular working on your posterior chain to help with the anterior load of bump and growing boobs)
- Build a good foundation to be able to carry a car seat from the far end of the car park
- Move for your body but also your mind! Pregnancy is a time where confidence can dip and by doing something positive for yourself, you can feel miles better.
- Rest if you need to. Don't beat yourself up if you have a week of missed workouts. Hormones are a crazy thing and you're creating a human. That takes a lot of effort and energy.
So you'll see that that pregnant women are pretty resilient!
You have to be as your body is going through a lot of changes and they take quite a toll on your body. Research states that pregnant women are at the limit end of endurance (2.2BMR vs. the limit of 2.5BMR) , for 9 months, which is quite a lot longer than any endurance athlete will need to sustain.
Find your pregnancy fit
If you’re going to exercise in pregnancy, it’s really important to stay comfortable.
Luckily, with the rise in pregnancy exercise, there are now some fabulous Maternity Activewear Brands out there that you can wear in pregnancy and beyond!
Right, I think that’s the end of my pregnancy exercise ramble.
That said, obviously, still offer that pregnant woman a seat though because it doesn't mean we don't need a rest every now and again!