We found out why boxing and stretching are no less useful than water aerobics, and learned from the personal trainer how to change the set of exercises for different periods of pregnancy.
You felt that something is happening in your body, and the test showed the coveted result? Excellent! It’s time to revise your lifestyle (not to mention the nutrition) and try to make it as useful to yourself and the future baby, as possible. We reviewed the most popular myths and asked questions that almost all future mothers ask to our expert – a personal trainer.
Myth 1. Pregnant Women Need Peace
Movement is life. And this statement continues to be relevant, even if you are preparing for childbirth. Do not believe that you need to lie more. Listen only to the doctor’s recommendations and keep in mind that contraindications to sports during pregnancy are only:
- obstetric and gynecological problems (threat of miscarriage and premature birth, improper fetal position, placental abruption)
- serious diseases of the internal organs (kidney failure, heart disease, chronic pneumonia and the like).
Correctly chosen, and, most importantly, regular exercise, provide the following numerous and important health benefits for the future mother:
- increase the body’s physical capabilities,
- improve the activity of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems,
- positively affect metabolism.
Keep in mind that the way you spend these 9 months of the child’s expectation directly affect the time it will take you to get back into shape after the birth.
Myth 2. You Can Exercise Only Until The Belly Is Not Unnoticeable
Many future mothers mistakenly believe that active sports are only allowed in the early stages, while the belly is not yet visible. In fact, the safest period for training is the second trimester of pregnancy, while the first and third trimesters require a more cautious behavior.
In the first weeks, while the fetal egg is still weakly fixed in the mother’s body, there may be a threat of pregnancy termination, including from excessive physical exertion. Only those women who lead a sporty lifestyle pre-pregnancy could save their usual activity at the beginning of the pregnancy, like:
- practicing aerobics or dancing,
- regularly going to the gym.
Women with non-sportive lifestyle should get into a gentle mode of training, so that sports loads do not become a stress for the body
By the third trimester, every woman should lower the loads. By the middle of the term, the exercising program should not include any:
- exercises made in lying on the back,
- leg swings,
- deep squats,
- jumps and jerks.
This means that you should avoid anything that can bring to the tonus of the uterus and cause a miscarriage. You can do cardio exercises, yet sparingly. If shortness of breath, weakness or dizziness, breath malfunctions, drawing pain in the lower abdomen, or any other unusual symptoms appear during the exercise, stop training and consult a doctor.
If you are not sure that you can select a correct training mode, better contact specially trained instructors in fitness centers or maternity homes. If the future mother is used to exercise on her own, she should take into account a few new rules for her trainings:
- intensity of trainings should be moderate only, i.e. the pulse rate should not exceed 125-140 beats per minute;
- regardless of whether you were doing sports before pregnancy or not, you need to exclude sharp movements and intense stretching during the workouts;
- every 15 minutes, it is recommended to take a couple of sips of water (naturally, non-carbonated), so that dehydration does not occur: you are more active than usual, you breathe and sweat, and waste products that form during the sessions should also be excreted;
- closely monitor air humidity and temperature in the room: it should not exceed 38 degrees, since trainings already increase the body temperature, and this in itself is a risk factor for the fetus;
- it is recommended to avoid long lasting “downtime” – to sit or stand still, so as not to cause back pain and reduce the burden on the legs.
Myth 3. Only In The Water!
The belief that pregnant women are only allowed to exercise in the water works only for untrained future mothers, since the water really does relieve the load on the spine and extinguishes all damps down movements.
If a woman practiced sports before pregnancy, she has plenty to choose from. The main thing is to consider her current condition. Pregnancy is not a disease, therefore it is not worth it to deprive yourself of simple joys, and sports will not only help you keep your body toned, but will also:
- bring benefits for the fetus development,
- facilitate the process of childbirth,
- help to quickly get back into shape the childbirth.
In the pool, any movement requires overcoming the water resistance and is perfect for training the muscles, while water massages and strengthens the tissues. Pregnant women, who regularly do the water aerobics, usually have no stretch marks. You can exercise both while standing in a shallow pool and hanging like a float at a depth.
Water soothes, cools, helps relieve tension from the muscles of the body – they stop feeling the body weight. There is just a single rule:
- do not overexert yourself!
Better swim breaststroke or on your back.
If you haven’t heard of all the benefits that the muscles relaxation provides for your body, please note that it:
- relieves nervous tension,
- improves well-being,
- promotes elimination of negative emotions.
For expectant mothers, stretching is also useful through the fact that it teaches them how to manage their pain sensations through relaxation. However, consulting the instructor is obligatory, since not all positions are allowed for pregnant women!
Many people don’t take yoga seriously, and his is a huge mistake, since yoga exercises:
- strengthen the body,
- gently work with the spine and joints, which carry an increased load during pregnancy and require special attention.
However, exercises should be adapted, since pregnant women are contraindicated to perform inverted postures!
Aerobics on a large ball provides a positive effect over the entire body. The ball unloads the muscles and helps relieve tension in the body (especially in the back). Even just by balancing, that is, sitting on the ball and keeping the balance, you are already involved in the work:
- the spine is aligned,
- the coordination of movements improves,
- all muscle groups strengthen.
Since the dawn of time, this kind of dance was preparing women for childbirth:
- it trains the deep muscles of the abdominal and pelvis area, as well as the perineum,
- provides loads to legs muscles, which is a good prevention of varicose veins.
However, pregnant women will have to eliminate strikes, shaking, deflections of the body back and fast rhythm.
The simplest and most accessible kind of sports, but here you should also follow some simple rules:
- do not walk too long – 15 to 45 minutes is sufficient,
- take a bottle with water with you,
- do not forget to wear a hat,
- dress in comfortable clothes (good shoes and ankle bandage are welcome),
- after a walk, you need to lie down, lifting your legs higher than the head level.
And here are the answers to the most popular questions about sports for pregnant women from our expert, a personal trainer.
What muscle groups should we work at during this period
The main muscle groups that need special attention are:
- the muscles of the back (in particular the lower back),
- the calf muscles,
- the muscles of the foot,
- muscles of the inner surface of the thigh.
There are also specific types of load. For example – Kegel exercises that aim the muscles of the pelvic floor. In fact, it is better to do exercises for all muscle groups – it’s easier to keep yourself toned during pregnancy.
On the Internet, photos of pregnant girls with a well-defined abs instead of the belly are very popular these days.Is it useful/harmful?
During pregnancy, a number of changes occur in the female body. The level of some hormones increases thousands of times. Let us take a closer look at progesterone in particular. It is a hormone that performs a number of functions, required for the course of pregnancy, and also detains fluid and salt in the body, including under the skin.
If the future mother wants to maintain the existing muscle definition through observing strict nutrition limitations, a rigid restriction in carbohydrates and fats is not the best solution. In this period, first of all you need to think about:
Muscle definition is worth worrying for in the last place. Women during pregnancy are already beautiful. It’s important just to keep yourself toned, to get back in shape faster after giving birth.
What kinds of sports are suitable?Boxing? Cardio?
You can practice any sport. The main thing is to do it in mindfully, so that there is no shortness of breath and excessive stress.
- 140 beats per minute is the maximum pulse rate, which allows breathing freely.
- Avoid strong burning in the muscles, since a large release of lactic acid will affect the baby.
- Eliminate exercises performed on the back to avoid contractions of large blood vessels.
The further the pregnancy term, the more careful you should be. If you were engaged in boxing before pregnancy – you can continue, yet you need to reduce the load and avoid sudden movements.
Excellent sports kind are
- gym sessions.
Still, all these should be approved by your doctor, or the trainer, if the latter has appropriate education, which allows him understand medical contraindications.
Is the range of acceptable exercises different depending on the term?
Yes, it is different. And it depends on both the term and on how the pregnancy develops. The load and type of exercises change.
In the first trimester, the fetus should fix. Then, depending on the placenta condition, we change the format of trainings.If there is a chance of miscarriage or woman already had bleedings during other pregnancies, she should be extremely careful. If everything is in going fine, you can give your body the loads.
Starting from the second trimester, the uterus enlarges, the gravity center changes, and more fluid accumulates in the body.The load on the back increases. You need to shift the focus on strengthening it. To provide a proper blood circulation in the pelvic region, do leg lifts on the side, extension in standing position, on the knees and the like.
Further, with the approach of the birth date, pay more attention to breathing exercises.Make sure that you have no reflex delay in breathing, shortness of breath. In later terms, the fetus increases in size and supports the diaphragm from below, so that breathing becomes more complicated. This should be kept in mind, as well
Throughout pregnancy, do not forget about the muscles of the arch of the foot, because special hormones are released during this period. They make the tissues more mobile to increase the distance between the pelvic bones. As the weight increases, the load on the arch of feet also increases. To avoid swelling, you need to strengthen it with a massage.
How often should I exercise?
Do it regularly. If you chose some average pace of training, like 3-4 days a week, try to stick to it. Avoid week-long breaks. Every time you start training again means putting your body under stress. Better slightly, yet smoothly, gradually increase the load.