Sport during pregnancy – an experience report
As a personal trainer and after reveiling my sweet little secret I was often confronted with questions about training and pregnancy. Since this is my first pregnancy I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in this field. Insecurities and fears are probably a common companion for women in this situation, no matter whether you are a personal trainer or not. You absolutely don’t want to do something wrong. So the questions are pretty much always the same: what exercises/sports can and should I do and what shouldn’t I do? Since my gynecologist would only give me very general dvice for the very specific topic of sport and training during pregnancy I took it upon myself to research a lot and make my own experiences. With this post I want to outline the dos and don’ts and how I have experienced my pregnancy up until now. Every pregnancy plays out a little differently but I hope that I can offer you some kind of orientation and help.
Positive effects of sport on expectant mothers
You can actually find a lot information regarding pregnancy and sport on the internet. The good news is: ‘various studies have shown that moderate sportive activity during pregnancy is healthy for mother and child alike.’1 Regular physical activity can counteract and even prevent pregnancy-specific ailments like back pain, heavy weight gains, depression, gestational diabetes (pregnancy diabetes), and water retention (edema).2 In principle, pregnant women can do all sorts of sports in moderate intensities.
What should pregnant women pay attention to during sport?
There are, however, a few facts that pregnant women should pay attention to during sport:
In early stages of the pregnancy it is advisable to avoid sports with high impact forces (like in combat sports and high-risk sports). Another particularity concerns training the straight abdominal muscles from about the 20th week of pregnancy (WOP): from this point in time you should refrain from dynamic exercises like crunches. Isometric holding exercises like the front and side plank are much better suited. According to recebt studies pregnant women can even train up to 7 times a week for 60 minutes. Always keep in mind, though, that training intesities should stay in the aerobic zone.1
Ultimately, the fitness level of the pregnant trainee determines the training itself and its intensity. Always listen closely to your body. If it tells you that it needs a break you should grant it a decent break and change down into a lower gear for some time.
Sport in the time of pregnancy – sport in the 5th month
Since I am a personal trainer I started into my pregnancy very fit. Unfortunately, my fitness came to a sudden halt when I got sidelined by the well-known morning sickness from the 7th to the 12th WOP. I couldn’t even think of fulfilling my daily duties. My own body, which needed a lot of rest during that period, practically forced me to scale down my activities. Up until the 12th WOP I also didn’t feel the urge to get physically active like I was used to before. Quite the contrary: the constant sickness was very energy-sapping so I slept a lot and simply rested. Before you can say knife two months have already passed without any physical activity. As soon I started to feel better and my old drive came back I started to work out regularly. To give you a better understanding of what’s still possible with a baby tummy in the fifth month I have prepared the following workout for you.
A Workout for pregnant women
Workout with a 10 kg aqua bag (blackPack ESY L with Loading-Bag AQUA):
- Rotational Lunges – 5x/side
- 5x Bent Over Rows in parallel stand + Walk Out to Plank (hold for 5-10 seconds)
- Good Mornings + Cross-Over Squats – 5x
- Deadlift + Slow High Pull – 5x
When doing this workout make sure to not get out of breath. Also actively tighten the pelvic muscles at all times. The increased endorphin production, the body’s own ‘happy hormone’, during sports is not only good for me but also for my baby. And let’s be honest, there is nothing more beautiful in the world than to feel your child work with you during sport!
Let’s keep on moving, Ladies!
Sources (german only):