What exercise should I do during pregnancy?
During pregnancy it is important to keep your body moving. There are SO many benefits for training during pregnancy for both your body and your mind. You might not necessarily feel up to working to the intensity you did pre pregnancy particularly in those early months, however there are adaptions you can make and new things to focus on.
A New Focus
Before you got pregnant you may have worked out to drop a dress size, stay toned and get fitter. Now you will have a new focus. You want to be strong to support your body during pregnancy, through birth and onto motherhood. You will want to maintain your fitness, rather than get fitter.
During pregnancy your posture can change. You may find that you have a curve in your lower back. Overtime your back muscles will get tight, and they won't be happy in that locked position. Your pelvis may also come out of line with an anterior or posterior tilt. Both of these are pelvic floor turn offs.
Try this to get your pelvis in line:
Imagine you have a bucket of water between your hips. Tilt your hips forwards so water spills out the front, tilt your hips back so water spills out the back, find the mid point where no water spills out. This is your neutral pelvis position.
Strengthening the muscles in your glutes will help to support your back. Helping to prevent low back and hip pain. Having strong hips and glutes will be helpful during labor too.
A few great glute exercises:
- KB swings
- KB deadlifts
- Hip thrusts off a bench (no weight)
- Hip bridges on florr (pre 20wks)
- Mini band walks / monster walks / lying leg lifts / clam shells and donkey kicks
Can I still go to classes?
There is nothing wrong with going to HIIT classes or bootcamps however, now is the time to focus on technique rather than speed. You might also find with your body temperature already raised it gets a little too hot in those environments. Positioning yourself near the air con unit is certainly something to consider, particularly in the first trimester.
There are also some exercises you will want to adapt. For example burpees aren't going to be appropriate, particularly as your bump grows. Same goes for sit ups, full planks and jumping. Here are a few swaps you can make:
Sit ups - Bird Dog or standing cross over crunch (if OK on your back try heel taps or knee slides)
Burpees - Burpee to a box or incline or try a press up and a squat from a wall or incline
Box jumps - step ups, lower the step as your centre of gravity shifts
Squat jumps - bodyweight controlled squats
Full plank - side plank
Should I worry about my heart rate?
You have probably noticed that you heart rate is already a little higher, even in those very early weeks this takes effect! It used to be that you shouldn't let your heart rate reach a certain zone. However, guidelines now tend to be more about how you feel. Keep to a heart rate where you could still maintain a conversation. Don't let yourself get so out of breath that you can't speak :) Aim for effort level 7-8.
A few considerations -
If something doesn't feel right, stop. There are plenty of other exercises you can do instead.
If you need longer to rest in a class then take it.
If you have a heavy feeling in your bladder or pelvic floor then stop/ change the exercise
Listen to your body - always
Breath out on the effort to help engage your abs and PF
If you want to train during pregnancy but are not 100% sure what to do or how to do it, get in touch for a chat :)