It is great you are planning to continue with your regular workout routine during your pregnancy! There are so many great benefits to you (& baby!) if you continue to exercise during pregnancy.
For you – it will improve your overall health, posture, balance and coordination, help to relieve backaches, leg cramps, muscle tension and stress, and also prevent excessive weight gain, urinary incontinence, and other health risks.
For baby – improves overall fetal health, lots of good oxygen will get to baby, fetal brain development, and gives a positive response to outside the womb.
Most health care practitioners would agree, you can continue with any workout routine you were doing prior to pregnancy, but please note, because of the increase of the hormone relaxin in your body, you will need to focus on good technique and avoid over range of motion.
Through all trimesters it is crucial to listen to your body and trust what you are doing. If at any time you feel any discomfort or are uncomfortable with any movement please stop immediately. It is very important that you are comfortable in what you are doing, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are. We cannot stress this enough.
Pelvic floor exercises are a very important component to pre and post natal. Working the inner most core muscles will help to avoid Recti Diastasis (separation of abdominals).
It is common for some separation to occur as your uterus expands, but strengthening these muscles will keep the separation to a minimum. These exercises can and should be done through all stages of pregnancy and almost immediately following delivery (once perineum is no longer tender).
Strengthening your pelvic floor will not only help during pregnancy but after you have the baby to bring your abdominal muscles back together (as stated above, some separation is normal)
This exercise will help you find your pelvic floor muscles. During mid-stream interrupt the flow as you pee, maximum one or two times. Once you have found the muscle, discontinue this exercise. Do not do this exercise if you have, or have history of UTI’s.
This exercise can be done in any position; sitting, lying down, or in a squat. Pull the vaginal muscle up like an elevator to the count of five without stopping as any “floors”, hold, and then lower the muscle to the count of five.
Pull the muscle in the vagina up as high as you can, keep it tight, and hold for a count of 20. If you find the muscle slipping, re-tighten it again as many times as necessary during the count. Let down with control.
This exercise is very difficult. Sit on the floor leaning back on your arms, soft elbows, knees bent, pelvis tilted forward. Tighten all the pelvic floor muscles – anal, vaginal, and urethral, from back to front, one by one. It’s hard to separate these muscles, so try visualization as you tighten each area. When all three are tight, release each muscle one by one in reverse.
1) Visualize and squeeze the opening to your anus.
2) Visualize and squeeze the opening to your vagina.
3) Visualize and squeeze the urethra.
Engaging your true core – deepest core muscles, to create stability and strength. Steps to “hug your baby”
….Adding in the pelvic floor:
….Now adding intention:
Like I mentioned earlier, it is highly recommended to continue exercise during pregnancy. As you move from 1st, 2nd, to 3rd trimesters it is extremely important to listen to your body BUT there is always an exercise or modification that you can do and that is good for you and your baby.
The more active and fit you stay during pregnancy, the quicker your recovery will be post-pregnancy. The modifications mentioned above are very important to your success. Also, the Pelvic Floor exercises are very important for your recovery. Focus your time on the pelvic floor exercises as you progress through your pregnancy.
If you have questions about any of the exercises or modifications please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org and of course after the baby arrives join our amazing moms at our BABies Bootcamp