We’re all aware of the importance of exercise during pregnancy. There are a host of benefits that impact your physical and mental well being, your baby's wellbeing, your labour and your postpartum outcome.
From the moment of conception the physiological changes that your body starts to undergo is astounding, from the increased blood and oxygen flow, changes in hormones which affect your ligaments, tendons and muscle. To the growing uterus,baby and placenta which will affect the internal placement of your organs, your centre of gravity, your posture, how you walk and move on a daily basis. Your body goes through 9 months of metamorphosis and you are then faced with the task of birthing the baby followed by restoring your body- physically and mentally.
When it comes to training during pregnancy , I am not talking about walking, swimming or yoga - while all these things are an important element of maintaining good physical fitness and should be done in conjunction , I am talking about specific prenatal resistance training; aimed at maintaining/building lean muscle, increasing your strength, influencing the conditioning of your body as best you can through body weight and weight training. I advocate this type of training because it teaches you to learn basic human movement patterns, to engage your core and learn positive breathing techniques whilst under strain which will have very positive impact on your labour journey and as you journey into motherhood. Weight training is low impact, there are many adaptations for pregnancy and if you are suffering with pelvic girdle pain ( hip, lower back, pelvic or leg discomfort) ; there are unlimited ways to still get a safe and effective workout all the way to due date.
When it comes to labour, the more physically and mentally prepared you are, the better. While you can be mentally informed, know what you want, know your breathing techniques and so on, labour is a huge physical challenge, the stronger your body is the more it will be able to cope and the more positive the outcome on your postnatal recovery.
It is very easy to underestimate what goes on structurally while pregnant and to underestimate just how much we can influence through the right training what happens after pregnancy.