10 November 2018

Moving in Pregnancy

Summer evening outdoor class

Many women don’t know what exercise they can do during pregnancy, many may be a bit scared to do too much, many haven’t a clue what they can or cant do with all the mixed messages and many actually get bad pelvic girdle pain and can’t do too much. So which category are you in??

Monday Evening Fitness Classes:

I run a Monday evening ‘Bristol Pregnancy Fitness’ class – yes ‘fitness’! I googled pregnancy exercise and realised how few classes there are, other than pregnancy yoga or Pilates & sometimes ladies want a bit more than that.  Having been a pregnancy and post natal trainer for the past 10 years and working on a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio with pregnancy clients I decided to start my fitness classes.

When working with pregnant clients I actually won’t train anyone until they are at least 12 weeks into their pregnancy. This is mainly because those 1st weeks are the time women are most likely to miscarry and also so many ladies have such bad sickness or just have so little energy.  Welcome to the 2nd trimester and they have more energy and getting over the sickness phase!

Maintaining fitness

The most important thing I always try to advise pregnant ladies is yes you can exercise and yes it will do you and the baby a lot of good.   However, it is not about trying to improve your fitness it is about maintenance.  Importantly, always ensure that you stay hydrated, even in the winter and even if you are swimming.  Little sips of water is important when exercising as you can cool down and the water can help cool the foetus down too.

Move

The 2nd most important thing to know is that a pregnant body is not good with a lot of sitting and non movement!  Just to mobilise and move your body can do wonders for those achy backs or hips & avoid stiffness.  I’ve a simple little mobilisation video I give to my class  to do at home.  A great way to keep moving, all through pregnancy, see below the link (apologies for my woofa barking at the end!!)   https://vimeo.com/275629839/c0656f61af

Breathe

The 3rd or maybe the most important thing to try and do in pregnancy is to focus on trying to breathe through your diaphragm.  Yes, we do all breathe through that anyway, but thinking about breathing deep into your ribcage rather than shallow breathing through your shoulders and upper chest.  I know the bigger your bump is you may feel it is even harder to breathe.

Try and stand nice and upright & put your hands around your ribcage.  Then take a long, slow breathe & focus on trying to breathe down deep into your ribs, fill them and feel them expand slightly. When you exhale and let all of that air out of your lungs, feel like the exhale is coming all the way from your pubic bone, up through your tummy, ribcage and out through your lungs.  This will not only kick in with your pelvic floor muscles it will also kick in with your deepest tummy muscles – your Transverse abs.

Try it now.  Stand tall, shoulders down.  Now slowly breathe into your ribs, feel a slight expansion as you count to 1, 2, 3 – maybe 4 then as you do a hearty exhale, through the mouth.  Visualise it coming from your pelvic floor as you exhale up and out through your body!! Your diaphragm will lift as you exhale and you may feel some sensation in your lower, deep abs above your pelvic floor.

Hopefully, these couple of points will get you up and about, get you moving your body and encourage you to start thinking about how to breathe effectively for your deep abs and pelvic floor engagement too. If you would like to join my pregnancy fitness classes you can book on via my website.  Fill in the form 1st – I will get in touch with you once this has been done.  Here is the link to my pregnancy class: https://www.vickihill.co.uk/class/pregnancy-exercise-classes/