Pregnancy is one giant ball of worry. From panicking about what you’re eating to how you’re sleeping, whether you’re exercising enough to if those exercises are even safe for your baby, Pregnancy is a total mindf*ck but I’m here to offer you everything I found useful during my pregnancy.
*As a side note, I am a qualified personal trainer and have completed my Pre & Postnatal qualifications, however, I believe none of that prepares you as much as actually going through it yourself! If you have any queries or concerns then, of course, speak to your midwife or GP.
Firstly let me just tell you that your body is absolutely incredible but remember that it is also unique, no one person has the same pregnancy as another. From the size and shape of your bump to your hormones, side effects, sleep patterns, daily routine, relationships, etc, everything about you is unique. So do yourself a favour and try to listen to what your body and your gut instinct are telling you, I’ve learned both are pretty damn accurate.
Mistakes, while I have had the most enjoyable of pregnancies I have also had side effects that I never knew would happen. As someone who is useless at resting and always loves to be on form, my body showed me in a very painful way that during pregnancy your body needs a little more rest. So ladies, if you are someone who is on their feet all day or you’re able to continue with a reasonable amount of exercise then please remember to pop your feet up, read a book and let your body relax each evening…lighting bolt vagina (pelvic pain) is not pleasant!
First Trimester: The first trimester is certainly the worst for nerves and worry. I don’t think a day went by that I didn’t panic I was going to lose my baby, it’s natural. My top piece of advice during this trimester is to try and continue as you did before you found out you were pregnant, minus the alcohol, smoking or raw fish of course. During this time you may feel nauseous, tired or a little dizzy so when it comes to working out try to schedule it around those symptoms. I found I was awesome in the morning, useless in the evening. I was actually away at a surf retreat before I found out I was pregnant and fell off several boards so don’t worry too much about changing your workout routine unless it’s making you feel sick or dizzy. Of course, as soon as you know you’re pregnant you need to adjust the reason as to why you are working out, we’re not talking calorie or fat burning, we just want to maintain a healthy, strong and mobile body.
Second Trimester: Oh second trimester how I loved you, for most of us this is when we’ll feel our best. The sickness and fatigue have hopefully reduced or stopped and you should actually feel like your old self, sometimes even better, I know I certainly felt like superwoman when in the CrossFit box. During this time your workouts might need to change, certain exercises become uncomfortable such as burpees, press ups, or anything where you might hit your bump on the floor. You’ll also notice that your centre of gravity and balance may have changed, so opt for exercises that won’t cause you to fall and remember to realign yourself to centre before you begin a movement. Oblique exercises and isometric holds such as planks and crunches should be stopped in order to prevent pressure on your abdomen and subsequently cause or increase diastisis recti. Instead, focus on compound movements such as squats and deadlifts which work your entire body, including your core, without putting pressure on your growing bump. Due to the growing pressure on your pelvis and pelvic floor this is generally a good time to stop all plyometric movements such as jumping, skipping or running (unless you were a runner before and it still feels good), but if you love to work up a good sweat I recommend using cardio machines such as the bike, rower or perhaps a kettlebell.
Third Trimester: I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant so have only just entered the third trimester so I might add some new notes to this later or create a new blog post with extra tips. What I have found so far is that my body wants to move slower, needs longer rests and more adaptions to the exercises I was previously doing. I had my last ‘Clean’ session at the Box last week because I found that I was having to ruin my form to pass the barbell around my bump. Once you start to notice that you are changing your form to make room for the bump I would suggest removing that exercise or swapping the equipment for one that can fit around your growing belly, such as dumbbells or resistance bands. I have also now found that the rower is no longer accessible as I have to open my legs too wide so have switched to the bike, swimming or walking. More to come on the third trimester soon! I’d love to hear your thoughts on fitness during pregnancy, any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Comment below!
Photography by Jon Payne.