Recently Pregnant and wondering if you should continue your fitness routine? We’re here to let you know don’t wonder, just do! Everyone’s body is different but as long as your doctor approves, exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended. Going through Labor is one of the most physically challenging things a body can take on. Not to mention the 10 months leading up to giving birth! Here are a couple lessons I learned during this process, and a couple of exercises that subbed in often.
Pushups: Personally I lost quite a bit of strength here as that weight added to my body. I also got dizzy or rushed out by getting fully horizontal. Modify by going to the bench for pushups, burpee’s, frog hops. Not everyone is like this, many I’ve trained were able to stay on the floor but went to their knees.
Q: can you do situps and plank during pregnancy?
A: yes, up until you find it discomfortable or you notice a peaking in the center of your stomach. General recommendation is up to second trimester aka 12 weeks. I was able to up to 25 weeks, then I noticed the peaking in my stomach indicating the beginning of diastasis Recti the separation of your rectus abdominals. For me keeping core strength as long as possible has helped support my back. Keeping back pain at bay until the 9th month. Obliques can be worked all the way up to birth. General rule of thumb, listen to the body if it feels wrong or bad, stop doing it.
Exercise alternative for aggressive core movements:
Can I do exercises on my back?
Yes, around 28 weeks it is not recommended that you sleep on your back for you restict the blood flow through the Vena Cava vein. The Main vessel moving blood from the lower body/ fetus back to your heart. The amount of time you spend on your back doing an exercise for example bench press is not long enough to cause a threat. Sleeping on your back can be hours at a time.
Can you do other power movements aka squat, cleans, pullups?
Yes: if you have been doing these movement up until getting pregnant you can continue on your regular strength pattern… unless you’re prepping to compete, let’s put that competitive edge on the bench for awhile.
Yes: even if you are new. If you haven’t ever strength trained and decide to start in your late second to third trimester certain modifications can be made.
Adjustments to squats:
depending on your back health and how many weeks along you are continue as usual. Personal opinion stick with back squats, not front squats. If you feel your back engaging too much, move to a box squat, you can also adjust the amount of weight. Again every woman is different, and it depends on how far along you are. I’ve worked with a number of pregnant woman who I watched increase their back squat strength during pregnancy. The squat is a traditional birthing position, so feeling strong in a squat could aid you during labor. Also pay attention to pelvic ligament loosening, if it doest feel good modify with lighter weight or position. Our ligaments are being loosened by a couple of hormones released during pregnancy, this is a good thing allowing the body to expand as needed to accommodate. The loose ligaments also but us at risk for loose joints… strong muscles can help you not experience an injury, but conscious movement is very necessary during these 10 months of pregnancy.
Cleans: I personally didn’t have to modify, except strength a little… just work around that belly
Pullups: With assisted bands you can continue. It was one of my goals to be able to keep doing these unassisted… I found the full lengthening of my torso to be a bit too much stretch on my stretching belly, so I had to add a skinny black band giving me that little help to keep at it.
Other Modifications: TRX pullups, horizontal pullup
Running/ jumping: I was able to keep this up to a moderate level up until the 8th month… My biggest discomfort with box jumps was I felt like I needed a sports bra for my stomach
. So I would hold the belly. Running was more like a fast jog/ waddle, but doable. I only did it the little bit it showed up in programing. You can always jump on the rower, bike or ski erg for alternative movements. Skater’s were doable the whole time for me.
Here are a few exercises I repeated regularly
Swiss ball glute thrusters
weighted bird dog or bird dog rows
straight leg donkey kick for glute max, used a band until pelvic ligament loosening.
squats, many forms back squat, sumo, squat to med ball
most upper body movements didn’t need to change, push press, cleans, triple crush, bent over rows, bench press( I did need to put feet on the bench for bench press), floor press, deadlifts (went lighter)
As the weight increases in our mid section this also increases pull on our lower spine, putting our back in a state of Lordosis. Pelvic tilts are a must do exercise throughout pregnancy, but tilting your tummy back is not a natural or very comfortable movement. The extra focus I put on strengthening my glutes helped keep my ever weakening core intact as well as counter pulled that Lordosis. I could feel how this kept back pain at bay right up to the end.
If you have any fear about continuing an exercise routine while pregnant, you shouldn’t and I hope this information can inspire you to keep at it so you can have a healthy pregnancy and solid recover after giving birth! Number one rule, listen to your body. Ease up if it feels wrong.