It is well known that pregnancy can take its toll on the body for a number of reasons and without doubt its highly important to keep exercise in mind before and after labour. I am Neil Locock and I am a pre and post natal fitness specialist living in Munich with over 10 years experience in the leisure and health industries. Here is my advice:
Exercise during pregnancy can reduce excessive weight gain, reduce the onset of gestational diabetes, enhance body image, make for easier labour, improve psychological well being and decrease lower back pain to name a few. If you were active before your pregnancy then in most cases continued exercise is recommended during. Pregnancy however is not the time to begin a new fitness regime, your body will already be going through a big change, this is not the time to start something new.
Exercise during pregnancy is very person dependant, this is the most important time to listen to your body. As your bump grows and your hormone levels change then different exercises become more more/less advisable/achievable. For example there is a point during pregnancy when exercises on your back become uncomfortable due to the baby pressing on a major blood vessel, in this scenario exercises must be adapted immediately.
Relaxin is a hormone that plays a very important role in pregnancy, one role is its relaxation of the ligaments around the pelvis. It will also cause all other joints to relax to a certain extent, this means that for future mums high impact activities should be minimised. Remember the most important rule here: “Listen to your body!!”, some ladies continue running during their pregnancy with no discomfort. I always recommend to my clients that they switch from the treadmill to a cross trainer to remove impact.
Let’s take the reduction of back pain as an example. During pregnancy the excess weight that you carry on your front can cause the rounding of your upper back and also the arching of your lower back. During sessions with clients I adapt exercises such as the lat pulldown and low row to maximise upper back strength which can improve alignment of the spine/ posture and combat the changes mentioned.
At Evolve Fitness I run a mother and baby class on Mondays and Wednesdays @ 11am. This class is designed to start building muscle, burn off baby weight, strengthen pelvic floor muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, rebuild core strength and of course meet like minded Mums in Munich. We use the babies for a lot of the exercises we do in class and for the rest of the time they chill out and play together. Providing you haven't had any complications you can try walking post pregnancy as soon as you feel comfortable, this can reduce your chances of blood clots. Please wait until after your post natal check to start fully exercising after giving birth. Again the exercises you can do are determined on your exercise levels during pregnancy. If you had a cesarean then your doctor will typically get you to wait for 6-8 weeks so your body can heal. Please remember “Listen to your body!!”
More info on our “Mum’s & Babies” Fitness class here- http://www.evolvefitness.de/mums-babies/