GENERAL EXERCISE GUIDELINES
- Talk to you doctor before starting this program
- Listen to your body
- These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, stop if you are uncomfortable
- Drink water throughout the workout sessions
- Dress appropriately to avoid overheating and to protect your feet
- Don’t exercise if it is too hot
- The program is made for women without injuries or medical conditions beyond normal pregnancy. You should get one-on-one training/treatment if you have any special needs for modified exercises
- Pay attention to your technique (maintain good posture and neutral spine position)
Remember that during pregnancy your joints are laxer and it is easier to over stretch. Keep your movements controlled and slow. Look for full range of motion without pushing too far. Work on connecting with your body and noticing your own limits. These movements should be pleasurable and nice.
WHO CAN PERFORM EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
Women with normal pregnancies can do cardiovascular and strength exercises before, during, and after giving birth. Exercise does not affect lactation.
Women who were inactive before pregnancy
It is a good idea to perform physical activity while you are pregnant.
Being sedentary is a risk factor for complications during pregnancy. Preoccupations that exercise can cause abortions or problems for the mothers of baby are not based on evidence.
Women who were active before pregnancy
It is possible to continue physical activity up to the point when it becomes uncomfortable.
Women who regularly trained intensively and are very active can continue a high level of physical activity during pregnancy.
It is possible to continue elite levels of physical activity but always under the advice of an expert.
RECOMMENDED WORKOUTS LIMITS
Aerobic exercise: 30 – 60 minutes per day (150 – 300 minutes/week)
Intensity: 12 – 14 on the Borg Scale
Muscle strengthening exercise: 2 times per week
Exercises of all of the large muscle groups
Repetitions: 1 x 12-15 repetition of 8-10 exercises
60% of pregnant women suffer lower back pain. It is recommended to strengthen the abdominals and the back muscle to prevent these pains.
RECOMMENDED TYPES OF WORKOUTS
If you have no experience in resistance training please invest in some personal training session to assure proper technique.
- Do a full and thorough warm-up
- Pay attention to technique
- Maintain good posture and a neutral spine position
- Avoid holding your breath
- Modify the range of motion for yourself as needed
- Take your time when getting up off the floor
- Make sure to pick up weights properly
- Check your tubing to make sure it does not have weak spots that could break
- Do a thorough cool down
Suggested intensity: You should be able to complete at least 2 – 4 more repetitions when you finish the set.
Pregnancy cardiovascular fitness varies widely from woman to woman. Heart rate formulas do not work to assess intensity because of the increase in heart rate through the trimesters and the variability between individuals.
If you were fit before getting pregnant you should be able to continue your previous activities. If you were inactive it is still recommended to pace.
Pay attention to your energy levels and increase or decrease intensity accordingly.
Just about all activities are fine during pregnancy as long as you feel comfortable performing them. In general, anything with impact, risk of falling, risk of being hit by an opponent/object, should be avoided. Competitive activities are not recommended either as the competition aspect makes it really hard to listen to our bodies and it is easier to over exert.
Choose activities that feel safe and fun for you!
Here is a partial list of great cardiovascular activities. Ideally do them outside to enjoy some fresh air!
- Swimming (avoid breaststroke)
- Cross country skiing
- Cardio machines at the gym
- Aerobics (floor, step, water, etc.) Avoid impact and fast movements like turns.
- Dance (avoid jumps and fast turns)
- Aqua jogging
Corrective and Core
Follow all the general exercise guidelines. In addition remember that corrective and core work needs to be done with low intensity. The muscle contractions should be about 30% of maximum.
Work on quality of movements instead of a number of repetitions.
These exercises can be done daily.
KEY INFORMATION TO REMEMBER WHILE PERFORMING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
How to safely perform physical activity
- Include a warmup and cool-down
- Stay away from large changes in your body temperature (pay attention to the temperature when performing exercises outdoors)
- Stay hydrated
- Do not overstretch
- Use the “speaking test” or Borg scale to adjust intensity levels
- Physical activity up to an altitude of 2.000 meters (~6.000 feet) is okay.
What to wear while performing physical activity
- Wear breathable clothing
- Wear a proper sport bra
- Wear proper shoes (if you are not accustomed to train barefoot)
Some static poses (like in Yoga) can restrict blood flow and cause hypertension in 10-20% of women. It is better to not perform them.
Exercise can increase body temperature, pay attention to you body and the outside temperature if you are performing exercise outdoors.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise
- Modified yoga
- Modified pilates
- Racket sports
- Weight training
- Water activities
- Classes specifically for pregnant women
- Abdominal trauma or pressure
- Contact or collisions
- Hits or throwing hard objects
- Extreme balance, coordination or agility
- Significant changes in pressure
- Lifting heavy weights (more than sub-maximum)
- Intense training at more than 2.000 meters (~6.000 feet)
- Exercises that require lying on your back
- Hot yoga / Hot pilates
Stop exercising and visit your healthcare provider if you experience all of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Leakage of amniotic fluid
- Pain or inflammation in the shins
- Pain, palpitations or restriction in the chest
- Decrease in fetal movement
- Excessive fatigue
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle debility
- Pelvic pain
- Premature birth
- Severe headache
- Premature uterine contractions or pains
- Vaginal bleeding
You can perform physical activity under medical supervision if you have the following conditions:
- Major artery hypertension (poorly controlled)
- Cardiac arrhythmias (without evaluation)
- History fetus with intrauterine retardation
- History of premature birth
- History of previous abortion
- Hyperthyroidism (poorly controlled)
- Diabetes Mellitus type 1 (poorly controlled)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Morbid obesity (BMI > 30)
- Extreme thinness (BMI < 12)
- Orthopedic limitations
- Seizures (poorly controlled)
- Heavy smoker
- History of extreme sedentariness
- Other important medical conditions
- Eating disorders
- Multiple birth after 28 weeks
You CANNOT performing physical activity if you have the following conditions:
- Active myocardial disease (hemodynamically significant)
- Pulmonary restrictive disease
- Cervical incompetence
- Multiple pregnancy in risk of premature birth or more than 3 fetuses
- Persistent hemorrhage in the 2nd and 3rd trimester
- Premature rupture of the membranes
- Severe anemia
- Premature birth
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation