Frequently Asked Questions About Pre And Postnatal Personal Fitness Training
Exercising while pregnant may seem like a bad idea to some or even impossible for others. However, there are many ways you can use exercise to stay fit and healthy both during and after pregnancy, which is a great benefit for your body, your baby, and your mental wellness.
Prenatal exercise classes are designed to give you the best and safest workout during pregnancy. Postnatal or postpartum fitness courses offer assistance with weight loss, increased aerobic fitness, social interaction, and psychological well-being. However, you may have many questions but often find genuine answers challenging and hard to come by regarding this topic.
Mama Strength wants to give you the most accurate information to help you make informed decisions. To do this, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about starting a new fitness program when pregnant or postpartum.
1. Is it safe to participate in an exercise program while pregnant?
Before starting any exercise program, it is essential for you to receive clearance from your doctor. You should go through a consultation and assessment before any Personal Training program to make sure someone can train you to the best of their ability. All exercises with me are low-impact and specifically catered to the unique ways how the body works while pregnant. The program I’ll conduct meets all ACOG guidelines and includes proper deep-core training to prevent pregnancy pains, help you prepare for pushing, and expedite your recovery.
Similarly, postural and alignment work to prevent pains, injuries, and falls, and functional strength training to prevent pregnancy pains and prepare for the activities of motherhood is a good idea. This, along with appropriate aerobic conditioning to reap health benefits and prepare for the energy demands of labor, and education on pain, injury, prevention, and proper recovery, are also beneficial.
2. I’m pregnant, and my doctor is telling me not to work my abs. What can I do?
Unfortunately, many doctors only think of working your abdominals by doing crunches. Your ‘core’ makes up so much more than your abdominals and doesn’t just refer to your abdominals. Your core includes all the muscles attached to your pelvis, spine, and ribs. A strong core helps protect your body and connects your arms and legs to your torso, ensuring your body can work well as a unit.
There are many ways to work your core without ever doing a crunch. When you choose Mama Strength, I’ll train you in a way that will keep your body safe while helping you maintain strength to help prepare you for the demands placed on your body. You also want to maintain a neutral alignment to the best of your ability when pregnant, and working on your core will help keep you feeling supported.
3. I’m pregnant, and my doctor told me to keep my heart rate below 140bpm. Is this accurate?
Not necessarily. It’s important to note that heart-rate response to exercise varies throughout pregnancy and from one individual to another. Blunted, exaggerated, and normal linear responses may all be seen at different stages during the same pregnancy. This means that heart rate is not an accurate way to monitor exercise intensity during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the guideline to “keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute” is still one of the biggest prenatal exercise myths out there (and regrettably, we hear it most often from doctors). This was an outdated ACOG guideline from 1985 when almost no research existed about exercise during pregnancy. ACOG eliminated this guideline in 1994 after a study revealed the issues with variable heart-rate responses to exercise and replaced it with the guideline to use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) instead. This relies on women listening to their bodies and gauging their intensity by how they feel, which is a much more accurate method.
4. My doctor cleared me to exercise at my postpartum check-up. Can I go back to my normal workout routine?
Remember, your postpartum visit is most often not a thorough examination. Therefore, many women may have some degree of Diastasis Recti or Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. These will be things I will check and talk you through in your consultation to make sure you are genuinely feeling ready. If something needs more attention, I’ll refer you to a qualified women’s health (or pelvic floor) physical therapist.
5. I think I have Diastasis Recti. Is it safe to work out?
It’s important to note that Diastasis Recti is actually a normal and natural part of pregnancy to allow adequate space for the baby to grow, especially during the third trimester. If managed appropriately, however, the DR will heal within a few months after delivery. However, if the DR is more severe, it can remain in the postpartum period and manifest into a “torpedo-like” protrusion in the belly. An easy rule to follow, and to keep in mind, is if you see any “coning” in your abdominals during an exercise, then it is a sign that the movement is not appropriate. During my exercise program, I will avoid actions that will create aggravation.
For every consultation, I will help guide you to check for DR if you haven’t already done so with a professional. For clients who have mild to moderate cases of DR (about two finger-widths or less, or mild to moderate depth), I will be able to work with you and take you through the Core Recovery program to help build your strength back up. For anything more severe, I recommend you to a qualified Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
6. What is Core Recovery, and why should I do it?
Core Recovery is an essential step in your recovery process after you’ve given birth. To be honest, you don’t need to have had a child to do this. It is crucial for everyone to re-engage and activate their stabilizing core muscles that help to keep feeling strong and stable throughout their everyday life.
The goals to accomplish from doing core recovery exercises are to re-establish your core stabilizers, restore strength to traumatized tissues and build core capacity to assist in performing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Have you thought about how you will be picking up your baby or toddler from the ground? How you work and play with your children in everyday life is the same as working out. So let’s get you prepared and protect your body from the physical demands of motherhood.
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