Exercise program for pregnancy
If you're pregnant and wish to exercise there are a few things you need to consider. Before undertaking any exercise program, seek advice from your medical professional as to whether you're clear to exercise.
When women should NOT exercise during pregnancy:
- History of three or more spontaneous miscarriages.
- Ruptured membranes.
- Premature labour.
- Diagnosed multiple pregnancies.
- Intra-uterine growth retardation.
- Incompetent cervix.
- Placenta praevia.
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
- Known cardiac value disease.
- Primary pulmonary hypertension.
- Maternal heart disease.
When exercising during pregnancy, wear a heart rate monitor and do not let your heart rate get above 140 bpm. Use a self exertion test, do not exert yourself more than you would during a brisk walk, and you should be able to have a conversation at all times.
Use a reduced range of motion in your repetitions. You do not want to go into a full squat, lunge or weight bearing exercise as relaxin and elastin are both elevated in your system from the time of conception. This means that your joints become ten times more loose than normal to allow the babies head to come out during labour. This means you can injure yourself because your tendons and ligaments are so soft.
STOP exercising if you experience:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Decreased fetal movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage
Use a personal trainer
When starting an exercise program at any stage in your life especially during pregnancy, using a Fitness professional experienced with pre and post natal clients is a must. This will make sure you are exercising correctly, appropriately and safely at all times.
This resistance program uses only your body weight and the furniture typically found in a home.
Exercise 1: Squats
This exercise is done using dining room chairs to assist with the technique, help with balance and reduce range of motion. Place one chair against a wall. Sit on it with another chair in front of you, with the back facing you. Place your feet about shoulder width apart angled at approximately 45 degrees. Grab the top of the chair in front of you, using it to help with your balance on the up and down movement of the squat.
Stand up using your legs, keeping your knees at the same angle as your feet. Do not lock your legs out. Keep your knees slightly bent at all times. Then squat down, lowering yourself towards the seat of the chair. Keep your back straight and your abs tight. Push up through your legs just before you are about to touch the seat. Repeat. Excellent to tone and strengthen thighs and gluts!
Exercise 2: Lunges
Lunges during pregnancy can be done in the home using a dining room chair to help with balance. Stand next to a chair, placed on your left hand side. Put your left hand on the top of the back of the chair. Step back with your left leg into the lunge position, keeping your front knee in line with your second toe and your back knee under your hip. Keep your feet on parallel lines as wide as your hips. Always keep your back straight and remember to push up through the heel of your front foot. Repeat on the other side. Perfect for the inner and outer thighs!
Exercise 3: Horse Stance
This exercise is performed on all fours, hands under shoulders, spine parallel to the floor, thighs perpendicular to the floor. Tighten your abs and push your lower back up into a flat position. Hold for 1-3 minutes. Great to help maintain your core strength during pregnancy!
Repeat exercises 1 and 2 with 15 - 20 reps x 2 sets 2- 3 times a week
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