Friday, 17 June 2011

Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy

I recently asked a good friend of mine who is a personal trainer if he would like to write a guest blog for me to offer some advice on staying fit and healthy during and after pregnancy. Unfortunately for me Andrew is based in Sydney (although perfect for anyone based in Sydney that may be looking for a personal trainer) so is a little to far for me, for a one on one session. I met Andrew on Hayman Island when we were both working there. When life was just one big holiday, one of my favourite memories I take from there is doing a boxing session with him on the front beach, below is a pic of the front beach......

image from hayman
Back to reality. Well if you are like me and unable to see Andrew on a one on one basis why not follow his blog for some fantastic reads and great tips on exercise and eating healthy.(links below) But firstly check out his guest blog below on ' Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy' and keep a look out for part two.

So, you've found out you're having a baby...CONGRATULATIONS!!
If you’re looking for ways to keep fit and healthy during pregnancy, exercise can be a key factor to keeping weight in check. But you shouldn't be too worried about gaining weight as it is healthy and necessary.
Benefits of Being Active During Pregnancy
·         More energy.
·         Stronger back muscles, which can help manage back pain and strain as your belly grows.
·         Improved posture.
·         Weight control.
·         Stress relief.
·         Improved sleep.
·         Preparation for the physical demands of labour.
·         Faster recuperation after labour.

Here are a few guidelines to help you maintain your fitness level during pregnancy:
1.     Talk to your doctor/obstetrician first to ensure there are no medical issues (such as previous miscarriages, placenta praevia, multiple pregnancies, anaemia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure) that can dictate what you can and can't do.
2.     Even if you are healthy and cleared by your doctor/obstetrician to exercise, you should avoid activities that could increase the risk of falls or injuries, such as contact sports, skiing, rock climbing or horse riding.
3.     Be aware that your balance (due to changes in your centre of gravity), strength and agility will be affected by your pregnancy. What was possible before pregnancy may be more challenging now. Relaxin is a hormone which loosens your joints and connective tissues during pregnancy to allow your ribs and pelvis to expand to cater for a growing baby. So, don't extend your joints past their normal range of movement.
4.     If you have been fairly active prior to your pregnancy, now is not the time to improve your fitness. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness as you're reprieving both yourself and your baby of oxygen. With cardiovascular exercises, keep your heart rate below 70% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is roughly 220 minus your age.
5.     If you have been training with a fitness professional, it is important let him/her know that you are pregnant so your program can be modified.
6.     If you are not exercising regularly, start slowly. Walking is one of the best activities you can take up. You should also practice relaxation techniques and do breathing and pelvic floor exercises.
7.     You should incorporate some light to moderate weight training (free weights, machines or use your own body weight) in your program to strengthen your muscles, which will help you carry around an extra bump for nine months.
8.     After 16 weeks, avoid lying on your back as this position decreases the blood flow to your heart and to the baby.
9.     Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise and take frequent breaks. Instead of training continuously for 40 minutes, split it into a 20-minute session in the morning and a 20-session in the afternoon/evening.
10.   Avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day, or alternatively take up swimming. Swimming and water-based exercises allow your weight to be supported and there is no jarring your joints. Take extra precaution if you live in a hot and humid environment as it is harder for to keep your body temperature down.
11.   Wear comfortable clothing and a supportive bra.

Most importantly, use common sense and listen to your body. If you feel tired, unwell or not in the mood for exercising, your body is telling you to take it easy. Nine months is a relatively short period in your life and the health of your baby is your number one priority.
Andrew's website is and his blog is

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