Embracing Vitality: Staying Active Throughout Your Pregnancy
Lettie King is a Women’s Movement Coach and the Founder of Planet Mama, a movement hub for pre and postnatal women which supports women physically and mentally.
We asked Lettie for her Top Tips on staying active during your pregnancy.
"Pregnancy is an absolutely magical time and really highlights how amazing the female body is. But with amazement comes anxiety and mixed messages about what you can, can’t, should, shouldn’t be doing. You’ve probably never been so keen to make sure you’re healthy and strong and doing the right things. But what are the right things? Read on to find out our top 10 tips for staying active when pregnant.
- GET THE OK. The first thing to do is to talk to your doctor or health care provider and check you’ve got the ok to exercise. In most instances exercise is recommended - in fact the government guidelines recommend 150hrs a week with 2x strength sessions. However in some cases it can be a contraindication.
- IT’S GOOD FOR YOU IF YOU MOVE ALREADY OR DON’T. If you already have a movement practise you can continue what you're doing. Just lower the intensity to about 80% - now is not the time for personal bests :) Reassess your goals and if it was weight loss or handstands for example, now let it be to stay fit, healthy and strong for pregnancy, labour and beyond.
If you are new to exercise, find a prenatal class that works for you or work with a prenatal personal trainer so you can feel confident that you’re moving safely.
- MIX YOUR MOVEMENTS. Make the time for 2x strength sessions a week. This will keep you happy in your body and hopefully pain free as your body changes and your pregnancy progresses. Yoga will help you find space in your body and it is fab for calming the mind and preparing you for birth. Gentle cardio will help keep your endurance up ready for the endurance marathon that is birth.
- MAKE SURE YOU BREATHE. Make sure you’re really connecting with your breath. Full expansive breaths into your ribs cages. 360* breaths that connect you to your pelvic floor and core. But whatever you're doing don’t hold your breath.
- TRAIN YOUR ABS. Don’t be afraid of training your abs in pregnancy. However you want to stay away from the traditional ab exercises such as crunches and focus on your deep abs, your transverse abdominal muscles. These will support your baby and your body and help with the second stage of labour.
- DON’T NEGLECT YOUR PELVIC FLOOR. We want it to have a balance of lift and release. You want to make sure you’re keeping them strong enough to support your baby but we also want to know how to release them which is important for birth. I recommend my clients focus on lifting their pelvic floor muscles up until 30weeks and then focus on the release for 30+.
- CAN YOU COUNT TO TEN? When exercising make sure you can count to ten, you don’t want to be so breathless you’re catching your breath. If you’re not getting enough oxygen, either is your baby.
- STAY HYDRATED - make sure you drink water before, during and after to keep your fluid levels up.
- TAKE BREAKS when needed. And extra breaks if you don’t feel like your heart rate is slowing down
- WHAT TO AVOID. Stay clear of any combat sports or anything with an increased risk of falling. Avoid closed twists that restrict the space for your baby, any exercises where you can’t manage your intra-abdominal pressure - that’s just the fancy way of saying anything that your stomach muscles can’t control. Then any inversions that take blood away from your baby.
Then finally I always recommend you see a women’s health physio to get a once over. You can do this from around 20 weeks. They can check the alignments of your hips, how strong your pelvic floor muscles are, and give you a full check-up to make sure you have the happiest pregnancy possible."
For more pregnancy movement tips and workouts visit www.planet-mama.co.uk