It can be hard to know what forms of exercise and what movements you can and can’t do when pregnant, with lots of contradictory information out there. So, we want to help eliminate any worry as there is so much physical activity you can still do, which is safe for both you and your baby.
The best thing you can do is to regularly check in with how you feel overall and how your bump feels and first and foremost…if it doesn’t feel good, stop. If it feels good, continue.
There are a few simple things to be aware of, and a few ways to alter your workout routine so that you and your baby can comfortably exercise in an safe, efficient and effective way throughout your pregnancy.
Avoid unnecessary press on diastasis recti…
You want to avoid all exercises that put unnecessary pressure on the diastasis recti (which can lead to seperation of the abdominals). In particular during your 2nd and 3rd trimester, you want to stop doing crunches, sit ups or any forward flexion of the abdominals. Into the latter stages of your pregnancy, you also want to stop performing planks or placing your body in the push up position for long periods of time. Also be mindful of heavy rotation movements with your trunk and think more about incorporating sustained holds and working on pelvic floor activation exercises.
High impact movements…
These are movements such as running or jumping. During pregnancy our focus often switches and where previously you may have had a goal to run a 10k, to try and lose weight or to elevate your fitness levels, during pregnancy, the focus is simply trying to keep strong, mobile and healthy. Therefore, you don’t want to be performing high impact movements, which will potentially hinder this. Also, when pregnant, women will often see an increase in their overall hyper mobility, due to an increase of the relaxin hormone in the body, so it’s important not to put any unnecessary pressure on your joints or place excessive downward pressure on your pelvic floor.
Heavy unilateral movements…
Single leg, or split stance unilateral stances (where your legs are separated forward and back) such as lunges or side lunge, are often problematic. So, stay with feet together at the same level (bilateral) and, for those really suffering with high pain levels, narrow your stance.
Avoid unbalanced movements…
You want to avoid any movements which make you feel unstable. Due to the instability of the pelvis when you have SPD (discomfort in the pelvic region), try to avoid movements that require lots of movement from your pelvis. For example, deep wide squats, side lunges, split stance movements, rapid changes of direction, rotation away from your midline and any high impact movements.
Movements you are safe to do:
Anything else! You can lift, swing, push, pull, cycle, row, sweat and generally get a great dose of feel good endorphins that will help elevate your overall confidence in your body and yourself throughout pregnancy!