Following a healthy diet and exercising during pregnancy can bring long-term cardiovascular benefits to a woman’s children, say scientists at King’s College London, while another (2021) University of Virginia Health System study shows that exercise during pregnancy can help children reduce their chances of developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases later in life. The key is definitely to stay active, but it’s important to adapt existing workout regimes. Whether you are a gym owner or personal trainer, the first step to ensure your pregnant clients are taking the right measures is for them to run their proposed workout routine by their health professional. Just a few considerations they may wish to discuss with their OB-GYN can be found below.
Determining Which Exercises Should Be Avoided
Some workouts should be avoided during pregnancy, regardless of the type of sport or activity you enjoy. These include ball and contact sports after 12 weeks of pregnancy, since a ball can hit the abdomen, or another player can bump into you, causing possible placental abruption. Because a woman’s sense of balance changes during pregnancy, sports requiring this skill (including skating, cycling and activities involving equipment that is off the ground) should be given a miss. So, too, should routines involving jumping and jerking (such as skiing, horse riding, star jumps, volleyball and boxing). High and low-altitude exercises (such as mountain sports and deep sea diving) and risky yoga poses (involving lying on the back or stomach) should be avoided, as should hot yoga.
Adapting Routines You Love
There are many ways to continue practicing the sport you love while staying healthy during pregnancy. For instance, if your clients love cycling, tell them to switch to a stationary bike instead. When they are undertaking a spin class, they should keep the ‘talk test’ in mind (i.e. it should not take more than a minute to catch their breath and speak to others normally, so they should monitor their intensity this way). If they love yoga and they are in the later stages of pregnancy, they can consider chair yoga (which involves the use of chairs for extra support), or pregnancy yoga. The latter comprises safe postures that do not involve twisting the waist in a way that could hamper circulation or comfort. If your clients enjoy strength training, they can definitely take advantage of its many benefits: they can simply lift lighter weights and ensure they are not straining or causing extra pressure to their pelvic or abdominal areas.
If you have clients who are excellent runners who have the okay from their doctor to keep running, they should consider alternating periods of half a minute of running with one minute or longer of walking or slow jogging. They don’t need to avoid uphills, but they should keep using the ‘talk test’ so that their pace is not too fast. For downhills, they should walk instead of run, since it is easier to lose your balance on the way down. Finally, they should finish their routine with strength exercises (such as lunges, sumo squats, glute exercises, ankle exercises, and upper back exercises). They shouldn’t lift heavy weights, and should not complete strength exercises with fast movements, or complete weighted sit-up exercises after their first 12 weeks. Be vigilant, ensuring that their technique is safe and correct.
Staying active during pregnancy is important for both your clients and their future babies. Provided they obtain the okay from their doctor, they can continue to complete their favorite workouts, while making a few changes. These include lifting lighter weights, avoiding exercises involving balance, and keeping pressure off the abdominal and pelvic area.