So you’re pregnant and your body is about to undergo some massive changes over the coming months. There is a lot of rhetoric out in the world about what you can and can’t do during pregnancy– it’s easy to get confused about how to deal with the changes happening to your body.There is a stream of thought that says keeping up regular fitness training can help both your mind and your body through pregnancy, as well as post-pregnancy. Benefits range from staying positive, increased strength to deal with the extra weight being carried, increased energy levels, and a quicker return to a pre-pregnancy body after birth.
We talked to Emily Lynch, an advertising creative from Drummoyne who trained until she was 37 weeks pregnant, about her experience. She went against advice from her mother and friends, instead relying on her obstetrician’s advice to keep it up, and says her body bounced back after giving birth.
So Emily, why did you decide to keep training through your pregnancy?
I’ve kept fit my whole life, I wasn’t going to stop once I got pregnant. Plus, having a baby is a reason to keep strong and heart- healthy… your body is about to go through some serious trauma!
What kind of training did you do and how often?
I did outdoor training 2-5 times a week depending on how I was feeling.
How did you know what exercises were and were not safe to do while pregnant?
My trainer, Annie, and my obstetrician taught me about the best exercises to do and the ones to avoid.
What were the benefits that you experienced from training through your pregnancy?
I had energy, I was positive, I felt good about myself, but the best thing was that my body recovered EXTREMELY FAST. I also didn’t face the mission of having to lose 15kg after I gave birth.
How did you stay motivated?
I knew I’d always feel incredible after a workout and Annie made training really fun. She always has great workouts – and before you know it, the hour is over. She kept reminding me how well I’d bounce back after delivery.
When did you stop training?
37 weeks – when my obstetrician decided to do an induction.
Is having a professional trainer important when training through pregnancy?
Having a professional ensures you don’t hurt yourself or endanger your baby. It’s reassuring knowing that you’re doing everything right.
What were your favourite exercises to do while pregnant?
Squats! My legs were amazing.
Were there any downsides to training while pregnant?
If I did planks I would get a bit of reflux. Good excuse not to do planks really.
Do you have any training tips for other pregnant mothers?
Get a heart-rate monitor so you know when to slow the pace a little.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
A few people, including my mother told me to stop training while pregnant. But my obstetrician – Dr James Bacon – said it was a really positive thing to be doing for myself and my baby.
Emily’s trainer, Annie Knox, from Evolution to Wellbeing also offered us some training tips.
“I always recommend that women seek medical advice before training while pregnant, however once they have the all clear there are a variety of exercises they can do with the focus being on maintaining fitness levels rather than increasing them. Of course, everyone knows that pelvic floor strengthening is really important, but so too is light weight training in order to keep muscles strong. Pregnant women need to avoid laying on the stomach and, at a certain point, exercises that require lying on the back are not recommended. I also encourage cardiovascular exercises that aren’t too strenuous, including walking and swimming, as well as regular yoga that focuses on body control and breathing, which can offer a sense of calm and collectedness. I’ve seen so many clients blossom through pregnancy with a bit of training and am amazed at how quickly they recover.” There can be incredible benefits to training while pregnant, and bouncing back from pregnancy is an often touted one. Of course, before embarking on any kind of fitness training while pregnant it is imperative that the advice of an obstetrician or other medical professional is sought, and training under a registered and experienced fitness instructor is also recommended.
**Inner West Mums and Evolution to Wellbeing advise that you seek advice from your obstetrician before beginning any fitness regime while pregnant.**