THE GREAT DEBATE
Most of the time, when people are squabbling online about fitness during pregnancy, they fall into one of two camps:
"You should do nothing more strenuous than walking and yoga, and you should lift nothing heavier than a 3lb dumbell"
"You can do anything you did before pregnancy - run marathons, lift your 1 rep max deadlift, intense cardio - you're a badass mama!"
While the debates often focus around who's wrong and who's right, I think they both kinda miss the point. It's just not really black and white like that and the truth lies somewhere in the grey area in between (like most things in life).
Exercise is extremely important for the health of both the mother and the baby,
If we avoid the very extreme forms of exercise that really raise the heart rate or body temperature of the mother, and avoid any knocks and falls, exercise is very beneficial to the growing baby.
THE POINT THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE MISSING
What most people aren't talking about is the consequences of the WRONG training programme on the mother: pelvic floor issues that can be anything from irritating to life-shattering (pelvic organ prolapse is no joke); diastasis recti, or abdominal separation that can affect her confidence and also weaken her core; and aches and pains that can follow her around for years.
Everything about training during pregnancy is about weighing up the risks and benefits.
We need to start having this conversation, and women need to understand how to train during pregnancy in a way that keeps them healthy, strong and safe, and empower them to make informed decisions about how to train and why during their pregnancy
PRIORITIES FOR TRAINING DURING PREGNANCY
(not necessarily in order)
Avoiding any injury
Building strength to cope with the demands of pregnancy AND avoid injury
Maintain some level of cardiovascular fitness
Maintain full range of motion and mobility in all the joints in order to avoid aches and pains
Make you FEEL GOOD! Elevating mood and having you leave the gym feeling better than you came in!
Keep you and your baby healthy - we all know that exercise is good for us
Maintain good posture and breathing mechanics
Set you up for a healthy birth
Set you up for a swift recovery postpartum