Importance of Having a Fit PregnancyMay 23, 2021
In my experience working with expectant mothers, pregnant women are looking for information and want to find out how they can stay in healthy shape during their pregnancy. They want to know what kind of exercises are best to do and to avoid. They want to stay healthy and strong but understandably, they want to protect their baby.
How to stay fit while pregnant
It’s important to stay active as much as possible during pregnancy in order to stay fit while being conscious not to overexert or engage in movements that could be dangerous. Working with instructors who are prenatal fitness specialists can be helpful. Ask your group fitness leader how to modify exercises for your pregnancy and they can share with you what is safe and what is less safe for pregnancy.
Another great resource for safe pregnancy exercise is the Birth Like A Boss Challenge and the Prepare to Push course. Think about childbirth from the perspective of running a marathon, you want to be as prepared as possible. The earlier you can get started being active during your pregnancy, the better prepared you will be for labour.
It’s not even just from a physical perspective. Knowing you’ve done the physical work required to prepare for birth will help you feel psychologically like you are ready to deliver your baby with confidence. Birth will feel like something you have trained for and you can rely on that knowledge as you go through the birthing process. Improving your core function, strength and endurance can be helpful as you navigate childbirth.
Should I work out during pregnancy?
I strongly recommend exercise during pregnancy. While birth is a natural event, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t something you need to train for. Exercise can help you get strong and prepared for the physical demands of childbirth. I strongly discourage boot camp style exercises or Crossfit during pregnancy.
Can I lose weight while pregnant?
Discuss this with your doctor. It’s important to ensure you’re getting appropriate nutrition for your baby and that they have everything they need for healthy development. A lot of the answer to this question is going to depend on your individual circumstances and it would be irresponsible to provide a blanket response to a highly personal question like this.
Safe exercises for pregnancy
I highly recommend ball stretches for labour prep. You can also use them safely during labour, particularly during a “stalled labour” to help things along. These stretches will release tension and stretch the areas around our pelvis so that we can keep that space free of tension. With everything loosened up, we are able to be open and ready for the baby to move into, and then eventually down and out of the pelvis.
The first exercise I suggest is like an inner thigh stretch essentially, you keep your butt cheeks on the exercise ball and extend one leg up to the side as you keep your other leg bent and supported. You're just stretching out that inner thigh. It attaches up into our pelvis and when you're in the stretch, you can also use the ball for some movement that can help release tension in different planes as well. You can also give yourself a little bit of rocking back and forth movement. Repeat on the other side.
This stretch is good for labour preparation, stalled labour, or if you find that you're not progressing. These two exercises can be helpful if you want to try some movements where you have some asymmetry like this in your pelvis and keep moving.
The stereotype of giving birth on your back, laying down doesn’t have to be your labour experience. You can be an active participant and move around.
The other exercise is kind of like the runner's lunge. What you do is you shift so your right butt cheek is on the ball and the left is off as much as possible. The front leg is going to stay vertical. When doing this exercise I want to find that plane where my ASIS and my pubic synthesis are in a vertical plane and then I just hold that stretch. Again, this is actually a working stretch. This exercise can also prepare you for labour and during labour. You might need some help to establish good form if you try to do this during contractions.
If you hear the words “failure to progress” or “stalled labour”, get up from whatever position you're in, grab a ball, start moving your pelvis, stay upright, and try to get those asymmetrical movements going to help shift the baby down in and out. Having an exercise ball available can be so helpful for doing these stretches in your birthing location of choice.
Kids don’t come with instruction books, but Prepare to Push comes with a handbook to help you get ready for birth. If you listen to the instructions of qualified fitness professionals, you can learn how to exercise safely and keep your body moving. “Just do your kegels” isn’t advice that’s going to cut it. You need to leverage the specificity in your pregnancy workouts so you can train your body for birth.
Staying fit during pregnancy is a great goal and an achievable one if you exercise safely. Learn from prenatal fitness experts who are Core Confidence Specialists, try the 28 Day Birth Like A Boss Challenge or Prepare to Push and position yourself for the best possible labour experience.
You may also be interested in the following articles -
- Birth is Like Running a Marathon
- Pregnancy Fitness – Be Specific
- Performing Kegel Exercises for Pregnancy
The Buff Muff App
The Buff Muff App will teach you how to activate your pelvic floor appropriately and then add it to movement. There is a ton of free content available to anyone who downloads the app including a 7-day pelvic floor fitness challenge to introduce you to the concept of a whole-body fitness approach to pelvic health. Once the free challenge ends you have the option to join the membership where you get a variety of different workouts, delicious meal plans, the famous 28 Day Buff Muff Challenge, and can be a part of a community where you can ask questions and seek support.