You’re an active woman who likes to keep fit, you just got pregnant and you don’t know what you can do and what you should avoid? Even if you don’t see much of a bump yet, your body has already changed quite a bit and is busy creating a new human being.
So although you might still feel like you can do anything, you need to be careful with some exercises to avoid problems like pelvic floor issues or abdominal diastasis in the future.
Here are some tips:
DON’T DO crunches
This is a hyperpressive exercise that will damage your pelvic floor and provoke a diastasis recti [thevillage: when the rectus abdominis muscles in your abdomen separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap that allows your belly to ‘bulge’ out].
DO breathing and postural exercises
These will work your deep abdominals instead, and get a stronger and functional core, protecting your pelvic floor.
DON’T DO high impact activities
High impact activities like running and jumping will damage your pelvic floor. I know many of you love to go running, but it will be much better to stop now, recover fully after having your baby and then being able to start running again, rather than running now and having to stop completely because all of the issues you may experience.
DO aerobic exercises
Dance, walk, swim… stay active but don’t force yourself. The best thing is to take a small pause every 10-15 minutes to drink, do some hip mobility exercises and stretches.
DO your pelvic floor exercises
Kegels, breathing exercises and postural exercises will help you keep your pelvic floor toned without extra pressure. Always visit a specialist physiotherapist to do your evaluation and learn how to do the exercises that are the best for you.
DON’T lift anything heavy and avoid extra pressure
Maybe you love Crossfit and you don’t want to stop because you want to be stronger. However, your body is busy creating a human being and preparing itself to relax for the birth, and this increases the level of the hormone relaxin [thevillage: this hormone relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix].
This means that it’s not the perfect moment to boost your athletic performance to the max. Heavy lifting, doing pull-ups, planks, jumping… could provoke injuries in the short term and will provoke diastasis and pelvic floor issues in the future.
You can find many articles with women talking about how cool it is to do Crossfit during pregnancy and one year later complaining about their problems and the consequences.
If you really want to keep doing Crossfit during pregnancy, ask a perinatal professional to adapt the exercises to avoid damaging your core and hampering your post-partum recovery.
You have all your life to continue training. Adapt your training to your next competition: becoming a mum.
DO strength development exercises
- your arms to be able to hold your baby;
- your back to keep your posture;
- your transverse abdominals with a correct posture and breathing;
- your glutes for correct hip balance; and
- your legs to prevent blood pressure issues like varicose veins and liquid retention.
In SuperBellies classes at Supermums (read more below), we use elastic bands and small weights for the best adapted workout.
DON’T overstretch or twist
Stretching is very important during pregnancy in order to release some pains, but be careful, not all of them are good. Avoid overstretching like doing the whole wheel in yoga or twisting your body. Small tip: You must always be able to see your belly.
Find a prenatal program that works for you!
Find a prenatal program or activity that makes you happy and that is safe for you.
Don’t use the few ‘DONT’s’ as an excuse to stay home lying on the couch, because your hips needs mobility and your baby will need a fit mum!
At SuperMums Belgium we have a special program called SuperBellies, where we do adapted aerobics, we dance, we work on posture, breath, liquid retention and blood pressure in a fun way.
We also work the mobility of the hips and pelvic floor to get ready for labour and birth. All the exercises are developed to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and a faster recovery.
Supermums offers classes for every stage of your parenthood journey: SuperBellies group classes for pregnancy; SuperMums to get back moving after birth; WonderWomums for energetic fitness sessions and pelvic floor toning; and dedicated Low Pressure Fitness sessions. Babies always welcome!