Empowering women through pregnancy to stay active

A time when trditionally women have been wrapped up in cotton wool, should really be a time where they come into their own, listen to their intuition and stay strong for birth and the busy life of having young babes.


When I first became pregnant with Bodhi, I remember being overwhelmed with the information and the advice that people would give you around exercise and pregnancy. I remember lifting things and co workers telling me I should't, out of kindness of course, but the reality was I was more than capable to carry on with most things as I was, that I was already capable of. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly isn’t a time to go out and smash your 1Rep Max or train for a marathon, when you have never done one before, but we don’t have to get wrapped up in cotton wool and be disempowered during this period of our life.

Our bodies are resilient and capable and strong and made for moving, in fact it's encouraged in healthy pregnancies. We all know motherhood isn’t a sedentary walk in the park, in fact I had never been so active and busy lifting,carrying, twisting and squatting in my life as I did with young babes in my life. There were days I felt like I had been throwing kettlebells around all day by the time it was bed time! So here are the things you actually WANT and NEED to know about conditions of exercising during pregnancy.


FREQUENCY

  • 150-300 minutes of MODERATE activity/week OR 75-150 minutes of VIGOROUS activity/week (Australian activity guidelines for 18-64 year olds)

  • Be active MOST days

  • If inactive or overweight, start with 3-4 days per week and be active on non consecutive days

INTENSITY



  • Fit women going into pregnancy can work at 15-16 on the Borg scale of perceived exertion.

  • Most women should exercise between 12- 14 on the scale. If you are inactive or overweight then aim for the lower end of that (12).






TYPE

  • Cardiovascular exercise

  • walking, swimming, stationary bike.

  • Running if you are already running is fine, keep on stable surfaces.

  • Strength training

  • 2x a week

  • main muscles groups

  • 12-15 reps

  • 1-2 sets

TIME

  • 30 minute sessions

  • Up to 60 minutes if fit and intensity isn't too high

  • Over 60 is ok if very low intensity.

AVOID

  • lying on back for long periods of time during trimester 2 and 3

  • Stretching through pelvis area too strenuously

  • Unilateral movements through the pelvis region such as walking lunges

  • Lifting weights that are too heavy for YOU and cause YOU to strain or hold your breath.

  • Exercising during high temperatures and humid conditions

  • Jumping or plyometric work

  • Working out on uneven surfaces

DO

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated

  • Pelvis stabilising exercises

  • Wear comfortable clothing

  • Warm up and cool down properly

  • Reduce long periods of inactivity.


Bibliography

  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists https://www.ranzcog.edu.au/RANZCOG_SITE/media/RANZCOG-MEDIA/Women%27s%20Health/Statement%20and%20guidelines/Clinical-Obstetrics/Exercise-during-pregnancy-(C-Obs-62)-New-July-2016.pdf?ext=.pdf

  • National women's health NZ - Exercise guidelines-http://nationalwomenshealth.adhb.govt.nz/services/maternity/pregnancy-advice/exercise

  • Michaels.J (2016) Yeah Baby, The modern Mama's guide to mastering pregnancy, having a healthy baby and bouncing back better than ever.

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