Guidelines

Pre & Post Natal

Pre Natal Guidelines

EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY

Always ensure you have a Doctors clearance before exercising while pregnant. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. If you need to take more rest, then do so. It is important to not raise your body temperature too high and breathless that you can’t hold a conversation.

Remember, while you are working out while pregnant, the aim is to not lose weight but rather maintain your strength, muscle mass, health and fitness.

If you are new to working out, start slowly and don’t over-do it. Our packages are still suited for beginners, all you have to do is reduce the weights where necessary and decrease the intensity.


Benefits of exercising while pregnant:
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Reduce pregnancy discomfort
  • Prepare for childbirth
  • Reduce stress
  • Gets body back quicker after birth
Must Know: When to stop exercising
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Regular painful contractions
  • Headache
  • Chest pains
  • Dizzy
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Shortness of breath
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Back or pelvic pain
  • Overheating
Must Know: What to avoid when exercising
  • Exercises that put unnecessary pressure on possible exsisting diastasis recti (bulging of abdominal wall)
  • Exercises that cause leaking of urine, pain or discomfort
  • Lying on the stomach
  • Downward pressure in pelvic floor
  • Jumping
  • Anything that will compromise balance (later stages of pregnancy)
  • Prolonged supine position in later stages of pregnancy (lying flat on your back for too long)
HOW HARD CAN I EXERCISE NOW THAT I’M PREGNANT?

If you were training before you were pregnant, you can continue training during your pregnancy (while listening to your body, of course). But even if you are new to exercising, you may still begin an exercise regime whilst you are pregnant—as long as you have a Doctors clearance and not trying anything too advanced or difficult.

If you were training before pregnancy at a high intensity, you may continue to do so, with caution and by modifying where required. If you are starting out, you should be exercising at a low to moderate intensity.

 

WHAT MUSCLES SHOULD I WORK DURING PREGNANCY?

Training all muscles during pregnancy is important, however, there are a few muscle groups that take priority such as the upper back, deep core, glutes and pelvic floor. Strengthening these muscles will help support your body during the changes of pregnancy as well as strengthen them for post partum mommy duties as well as making it slightly easier when returning to exercise.

CARDIO?

Steady state/low to moderate intensity cardio is great at helping your bodys ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. It always helps build up your aerobic base (becoming fitter).

High intensity can be done during pregnancy, but as mentioned before, only for those who are used to it pre-pregnancy. If you have a high intensity cardio workout in your program, slow the pace down, do fewer rounds and take longer rest periods.

Pregnancy should be viewed as a time to potentially maintain aerobic fitness levels, but not necessarily increase them - this is not a time to train for a marathon!

Post Natal Guidelines

You should give yourself a minimum of 6 week’s rest from delivery before you start exercising. During this time you may do some connection breaths (explained in your programs), gentle movements and light pace walking daily. Progress to strength training only if you are pain free and don’t suffer any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Please ensure you get medical clearance to begin exercising. It is important to assess whether you have Diastsis Recti or not, this may be done by your doctor or at home.  We want to avoid coning of the belly/bulging as this can make DR worse.

If you experience any leaking, discomfort or pain, stop exercising and rather consult a doctor.


Diastasis Recti | Abdominal Separation:

Before you begin more advanced abdominal exercises, it is important to check for separation of the abdominal muscles. The abdominal muscle is divided by a seam running up and down. The muscle is really two halves that can often separate due to the size of the baby and the birth process.

How to check for abdominal muscle separation

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Slowly put your chin to your chest and raise your head and shoulders until your neck is 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Hold one arm out in front of you.
  3. With the other hand, check for a gap or a bulge in the middle of your abdomen. There may be a soft region between the muscle.
  4. If there is a gap wider than the width of two fingers, avoid further separation by doing abdominal strengthening while crossing your hands over the abdominal area to support and bring together the muscles.
  5. Always exhale as you lift your head. This decreases pressure in the abdominal cavity and allows your abdominal muscles to work better.
  6. Tighten your abdominal muscles when lifting to avoid abdominal bulging or any straining.
Okay so I have DR, is this program safe for me?

Yes. It is important to get clearance first from your medical practitioner before beginning any exercising regime!

Although, it is difficult to guarantee that this program is right for everybody. There could be certain movements that are not the best idea for you – at least right now.

It is always a good idea to speak to your medical practitioner for a proper diagnosis if you are not comfortable with an at home diagnosis.

This program has however been created with certain postpartum issues in mind and do not exacerbate DR or place excessive downward pressure on the pelvic floor. For those who may have some concerns, won’t miss out!

What if I am not starting immediately postpartum?

If you start later than 6 weeks, even a year, you can start the exercise program as long as you begin at week 7 of the program no matter how far along you are. Your body may still not be ready to jump back into a more advanced routine, especially if you have not retrained and gained function and strength in your core again.

What if I’ve had a C-section?

If you have had a Cesarean and are healing well, you can start practicing your connection breaths almost immediately. If you feel okay and not feeling discomfort, you can hop on to the next stages (week 3 -6). Always make sure that you have been cleared by your Doctor and/or your pelvic health physiotherapist first as the beginning stages include very gentle and slow bodyweight movements.

Common post-partum pelvic floor issues
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Diastasis Recti

Basic Exercise Guidelines

→ Remember to always take breaks in between your exercises.

→ Make sure you start off light, especially if you are new to working out.

→ As you progress, slowly add heavier weights where you can.

→ Always maintain good posture.

→ Warmup and stretch before exercising and stretch again once you are done.

→ If you experience any pain or leakage, please stop.

→ You should feel challenged but not gasping for air.

 


Ways to progress in exercise

This would be more focused on post-natal exercising. Once you have reached the 30 week mark and are cleared for returning back to normal activities, it's a good idea to progress on some movements that you have already been doing in your programs as well as add in some new exercises.

Progression is important to keep gaining strength and seeing results. Progression can be described as changing up your routine or the way you do certain exercises.

Change your position:

Look for ways you can change your position to make moves a bit different.

Examples:

If you usually do regular squats, try taking the feet wide and the toes out in a sumo squat to fire different muscle fibers. Change your chest press by going to an incline on a bench instead of seated or supine. Change your position during push-ups by going off your knees and try have your arms closer to the center.

Change the type of resistance:

 

If you usually use free weights (dumbbells), try use machines, resistance bands or cables and vice versa.

Example:

Take your usual seated dumbbell bicep curl to a standing resistance band or cable machine curl.

Go from two legs/arms to one leg/arm:

This is one of the most effective ways to change exercises.

Example:

For lower body, one-legged glute bridges/hip thrusts, deadlifts or squats. When doing upper body, try do one arm bicep curl, shoulder press or tricep extension.

Increase the resistance or weight:

Try to increase your weights weekly, so that you are not becoming accustomed to the same weight. Refrain from increasing the weights or resistance, if your form and technique still need improvement. Never compromise good form over heavier weights.

 

Change your rep or sets scheme:

If you're not comfortable increasing the weight just yet, try add in one or two more sets on top of your workout or add in a few more reps.

Make these reps count by squeezing the muscle that is being worked (mind muscle connection) or including pause reps (hold for a few seconds at the top of the movement).