Working out while pregnant can be beneficial to both you and baby, helping to reduce back pain, promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy, and strengthen your heart and blood vessels. However, before beginning a new exercise program while pregnant, it’s important to have full clearance from your doctor that takes into consideration your individual circumstances.
Here are some key points to remember when exercising throughout pregnancy:
- Don't exhaust yourself — a light to moderate workout should be the aim. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your healthcare professional advises you to. As a general rule, a light to moderate level should allow you to hold a conversation as you exercise when pregnant. If you become breathless as you talk, you're probably exercising too strenuously.
- If you weren't active before you got pregnant, don't suddenly take up strenuous exercise. Start slowly and engage in light exercise. You could begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, 3 times a week and increase this gradually.
- Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial — and any physical activity is better than none.
- Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards.
- Avoid strenuous exercise in hot or humid weather.
- Ensure slow and steady breathing throughout all exercises to avoid excess load on the pelvic floor and abdominal wall.
- Exercise on a flat, level surface to avoid injury.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated.
- Avoid rapid changes of position, for example from lying to standing and vice versa. Get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.
- Monitor the effect of each exercise and modify if necessary.
- If at any stage throughout your workout you feel uncertain of a particular exercise, experience any discomfort, or become unsure whether to continue, please stop following the program and speak to your medical practitioner before continuing.
It’s important to learn how to modify your workout so that you can comfortably exercise through to the end of your pregnancy. Remember to always listen to your body and closely monitor how you feel both during and after exercise. Pay attention to any signs and symptoms that you might be overtaxing your core and pelvic floor. If you experience pain, discomfort or severe fatigue, recognize it and modify going forward. Here are some modification techniques to incorporate into your routine to ensure safety for you and bubs:
- Sumo Squat > Narrow your stance to a normal squat and decrease your squat depth. Or alternate the exercise completely to a Wall Sit.
- Lunges and Single Leg Movements > Alternate these exercises to Lying Leg Raise.
- Standing Exercise (Shoulder Press, Bicep Curl, Lateral Raise) > Perform these movements in a seated position and decrease your weight.
- Laying Down Exercises (Chest Press) > Perform this movement on an incline, using a bench. If on the floor, ensure elbows are positioned underneath the shoulders.
- Core Exercises > Position elbows under shoulders to ensure correct weight support. Any movements with a four point kneeling (with arm/leg extensions), ensure there is no flexion of the trunk.
- Pull-Up > Avoid this exercise after 12-weeks and alternate the exercise with Bicep Curl.
- Deadlifts > Reduce your weight and avoid Sumo Deadlift in the third trimester. Use dumbbells or kettlebells instead of a bar if required.
- Push-Up > Perform this movement on your knees. If on toes, use a box to provide an incline.
We got you, mama! We’re proud to announce the arrival of THE BOD Prenatal Training Programs - your go-to training programs to keep you moving safely throughout all stages of your pregnancy.
Available in TWO levels, depending on your fitness level, these 6-week training guides are here to help you maintain strength, confidence, health and fitness, and are designed to keep you active and safe through each trimester with full-body workouts incorporating low-impact and modified exercises, plus pelvic floor, activation and stretching guides. We want you and bubs to be your healthiest, happiest and strongest selves throughout this exciting chapter in life so we’ve packed these training plans with expert tips and tricks to ensure the best for you and your little one, plus options to work out at home, in the gym - or both!