This is Tannis, Trainer/Kinesiologist and Pre/postnatal specialist with Provision Athletics. Today I wanted to clear up a few myths about exercising during pregnancy and after babies have arrived.
Too often I hear “I can’t exercise because I’m pregnant”, or “I want to get back into fitness but can’t right now because I’m breastfeeding “along with “I have abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) so cant workout”. Staying active whilst pregnant and with babies is extremely important! If you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy there is no reason why you cannot continue, or START yes Start to exercise, even if you never have before.
There are Many benefits to exercising whilst pregnant;
• Increase energy levels
• Helps reduce backache, constipation, bloating and swelling
• Helps to prevent or treat gestational diabetes
• Helps to keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your ability to cope with labour
• Can help you sleep
• Can help with pre/postnatal depression
• Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance to keep up with little one after delivery
• May Improve you mood
Here are some of my favorite questions/statements:
1. If I exercise whilst pregnant won’t I hurt my baby?
MYTH – Actually exercising during a healthy pregnancy is beneficial to you and baby, increasing oxygen and blood flow, and can help to promote and maintain healthy weight gain reducing the chances of developing gestational diabetes and promote an overall healthy pregnancy.
2. Since I am pregnant I should avoid core exercises…right?
MYTH – Core Exercises are actually VERY important whilst pregnant just not the same type of core exercises. For example we want to avoid lying flat on our back and doing a “crunch” core exercise, instead try doing supermums , cat and cow along with one of the most important exercises pelvic floor also known as kegels.
– Supermum – Position yourself on the floor on hand and knees with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, on the exhale lift one arm and opposite leg and hold for 5 seconds, then switch sides. Do 5 sets
– Cat and Cow – Position yourself on the floor on hand and knees with knees under hips, hands under shoulders, this time on the exhale curl your back up and engage your core hugging baby letting your head hang down, inhale to a neutral or arched back. 5 sets or breaths
– Pelvic floor exercises – Sitting comfortably, take a deep breath in, on the exhale you want to think in and up with your pelvic floor and hold through the exhale. Do 5 sets or breaths. Then take a deep breath in and on the exhale I want you to do some quick’ems so you squeeze and release, squeeze and release all the way through the exhale. Do 5 sets or breaths .
3. I should do crunches to strengthen my core since having my baby to help with my abdominal separation?
MYTH – You Absolutely should be strengthening your core but like in pregnancy with Diastasis Recti you need to strengthen the core from the inside out, “crunches” or planks should be avoided, so stick to supermums, pelvic floor and cat and cow exercises to start, work your internal core muscles exercising to bring the separation together not pull it further apart.
4. I’m breastfeeding my baby so I can’t work out or my milk production might be compromised by the production of lactic acid and the taste might change?
MYTH – You milk production will not be affected by working out; unless you are an Elite athlete working toward the Olympics or high performance athlete, you would not produce enough lactic acid to affect your milk. However you may want to feed or pump before working out to make it more comfortable for you, and if baby seems to not want to feed after working out, just a wet cloth to wipe off the sweat from around the nipple will help as sweat can have a salty taste.
5. Peeing whilst sneezing or laughing is “normal” in pregnancy and after you have baby it’s just how it is…
MYTH – This one makes me sad to think of how many women just think it is normal Whilst pregnant we do put a lot of weight on our pelvic floor muscles (internal sling of muscles at the base of our pelvis) some women experience leaking or peeing when pregnant, that is why we need to strengthen our pelvic floor so you don’t have to live with always peeing or leaking during and especially after pregnancy.. It’s important to work our pelvic floor and my tip would be to do some pelvic floor exercises at red lights and stop signs. – I mean you’re just sitting there anyways lol
Fun fact – Both Male and Female can engage and should work their pelvic floor. It is very important in day to day functioning as well as strengthening your core. When we engage our pelvic floor we are also working our internal core muscles such as the transverse abdominis.
These were just a few Myths and tips for pre and postnatal workouts! Remember to work to your level during pregnancy and after as every pregnancy and delivery is different!
If you would like some additional help on your pre and postnatal fitness goals to a healthy happy pregnancy and post baby lifestyle you can get a REAL trainer with a Kinesiology degree to create you a custom plan and provide you with DAILY support and motivation on our website, you can also try a week for FREE. Simply go to www.provisionathletics.com , or call us toll free to book a free consultation 1-844-2TRY-PVA
I wish you all the best in your exciting new Journey!