Quick Call Notes From Pregnancy and Exercise Coaching Webinar
OVERHEATING – WHAT ARE THE RISKS and how long can you exercise before you start overheating?
Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down. When pregnant, women are the most efficient air-conditioners around. Women are designed to lose heat effectively so when pregnant women exercise they don’t overheat. Having said that it is important that women exercise in the right environment – make sure a room is well ventilated and air conditioned, drink and eat well and never exercise when you have a temperature. Our classes are all air conditioned, the girls are given breaks to drink and rehydrate. In addition, women should never exercise when they have a fever or are sick.
EXERCISES TO AVOID WHEN PREGNANT
Any contact sports, skiing, scuba diving etc. Avoid lying on your back exercising for extended periods of time if this makes you short of breath or uncomfortable. Whilst pregnant women can run or walk in pregnancy, walking often leads to pelvic girdle pain and running can lead to continence problems and pelvic floor weakness during and after pregnancy. If you’re feeling pain and not feeling 100% you should stop.
EXAMPLES OF RESISTANCE EXERCISES RECOMMENDED WHEN PREGNANT
In our classes we do full body resistance. We use our own body weight as a resistance as well as small weights when working arms. By small weights, around 2.5kgs to 5 kgs – depending on what the women can do. Legs are worked by doing squats and lunges – squats are used during labour and the leg muscles will be well prepared for that. Back and Chest are strengthened which helps with carrying the baby after pregnancy and when feeding which can at times take up to 45 minutes. The girls must be conscious not to hold their breath while exercising as this keeps the pressure off the pelvic floor.
EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK WHEN YOUR BELLY IS SO MASSIVE
Carry on doing what you have always done. In our classes, the girls sit on a fitball which allows for correct posture and then they are able to do the resistance exercises to strengthen their backs. The exercises are modified by the instructor in order to accommodate the girls and their different size tummys. Core work as well as upper body and leg strengthening are also important.
WHEN SHOULD YOU STOP EXERCISING AND LYING ON YOUR BACK?
Our clients exercise until they go into labour or they are medically unable to do so. Our classes are designed that way. Lying on your back can be done as long as you feel comfortable and do not feel short of breath. And if this is the case our instructors will modify the exercises for the ladies in the classes.
HOW MANY TIMES PER WEEK CAN YOU EXERCISE USING WEIGHTS?
There is no recommended maximum. Carry on doing what you already do and you will feel when you are doing too much or when you would like to increase or decrease.
WATER EXERCISES THAT CAN BE DONE AND WATER TEMPERATURE
It is fine to swim and do water exercises while pregnant. Regarding temperature, most pools are set at a healthy temperature for all. Avoid spas and saunas which are too hot and difficult to lose heat effectively. Many carry bacteria and that’s a big risk.
WHAT TYPE OF WATER EXERCISES DO YOU RECOMMEND DURING PREGNANCY?
Water aerobics for pregnancy and swimming. Take care when swimming that if you have any pelvic instability not to do any actions that could aggravate the condition. Things such as big kicks when swimming and also breastroke kick.
CARDIO PERFORMED DURING PREGNANCY
Continue doing what you already do. In a Preggi Bellies Class, cardio is done on the fit ball. This supports the pelvic floor. Re: how many weeks it can be done – your body will tell you when you have had enough. Many women continue running (be aware that the pelvic floor can be damaged when running) and cycling. Spinning classes are also popular if you are comfortable doing so. Step classes provided you have no pelvic pain or knee problems have also been popular in the past. With any class make sure your instructor knows you are pregnant
WHAT STRETCHING EXERCISES CAN YOU PERFORM WHEN PREGNANT?
Most stretches are fine in pregnancy provided they are comfortable taking into account the large belly which can at many times get in the way. Maintaining flexibility is very important as although relaxin can loosen our joints, many muscles and ligaments tighten and spasm under the weight of pregnancy and releasing these can be very beneficial to back pain and tight upper backs.
WHAT SUPPLEMENTS CAN I HAVE WHILE PERGNANT AND WHICH ONES SHOULD I AVOID?
Preggi Bellies are not nutrition advisors and many supplements are not allowed during pregnancy. You should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements when pregnant. It is common for many women to need iron in pregnancy and many women take folic acid in the first trimester. These will be prescribed by a doctor and shouldn’t be taken on your own.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A DECENT AMOUNT OF LEAN MUSCLE WHEN PREGNANT?
Our advice is to participate in a structured programme. Our programme policy is that you have to attend a class twice per week. That ensures that the results are evident and that includes maintaining lean muscle when pregnant. Remember though that in pregnancy you need a healthy amount of brown fat for breastfeeding. Lean muscle on its own is not enough to support a growing baby and produce the milk necessary for its nutrition after delivery. Whilst we do not believe in eating unhealthy fats we do believe that pregnancy is not the time for cutting back on fats to have a “cut” look. Use exercise to build and maintain your muscle mass but eat nuts, avocado, bananas and all your favourite healthy fats as you need the fats for energy and breast milk.
DOES AGE MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO EXERCISING WHEN PREGNANT?
Yes and No. Age is no barrier or excuse not to exercise but the older you are the harder it is to find the energy to keep up in a class. Pregnancy itself drains your body and younger women cope better with this than women over 30. Many women are having babies over 40 at a time when their bodies are heading to menopause, so they are more tired, have less energy and may not be able to cope as well with the physical demands of pregnancy as a women in her late 20’s. Therefore with greater demands when you add exercise you need to be aware that their ability may be lesser than that of a younger woman so have easier options if necessary. Also they will not recover as fast.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAIN WHEN YOU’RE FEELING REALLY EXHAUSTED ETC.?
One needs to gauge as to whether you are feeling well enough to exercise or not. No one wants to start a class (pregnant or not) already feeling otherwise and low on energy. So its best to give it a miss until you are feeling better.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO OVERCOME NAUSEA WHEN YOU’RE WANTING TO EXERCISE?
Eat! Yes it does help but don’t over indulge. Crackers, dry toast and some fruit juice really does help and exercise actually makes you feel better. Usually the worst time is in the morning. And to perhaps exercise in the evening. Don’t avoid exercise unless you are throwing up. Make sure you stay hydrated.
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR SWOLLEN FEET AND ANKLES?
Keep your fluids up and keep exercising. Doing exercise on the fitball allows for weight to be taken off the feet.
IS THERE A TIME OF DAY THAT IS BEST TO EXERCISE?
We have found that the best times to exercise for woman is in the morning and evening. Morning time is when pregnant woman feel energised. Past 12pm we find that the ladies are exhausted. Evening time is great as they can escape the household and have time out for themselves however they should not exercise beyond a finishing time of 8.30pm. Studies have found that babies sleep while the woman is exercising and as soon as exercising stops, the baby wakes up and becomes extremely active. It has been known to keep women up at night.
HOW SOON AFTER EXERCISING CAN YOU EAT AND WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT?
One can eat straight after exercising if you are feeling hungry. Protein helps repair the muscles and liquids fuel the body with fluids. It is vital that woman rehydrate during exercise and can eat light snacks during exercise if they feel they need additional energy.