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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Kwoka

For the Ladies, Pre and Post Natal Exercise

Hey #fitfam, coming at you a little more population-specific today! Many of my friends have had or are having babies during this time of their life. For all you new or soon-to-be mamas, this one is for you!




PRENATAL EXERCISE

Pregnancy can be a beautiful time. Some experience a more difficult time than others, and some love being pregnant! Exercise and a healthy, strong body, especially a strong pelvic floor, can help with an easier and stronger delivery, and post-delivery recovery. And of course, exercising while pregnant gives the same benefits of exercising while not pregnant- mood boost, improved sleep, stronger cardiac and aerobic systems, etc.


Everyone is different, but what stands is what is relative to the soon-to-be mama! Always check with your doctor to see what is best for you.


Pregnancy is not a great time to try something new, especially harder or more difficult types of physical activity. It's super awesome if you have that motivation to do it, but harness it for after post natal recovery. In the same vein, if you are used to elevated hikes or high intensity exercise, you can absolutely keep doing them (as confirmed by your doctor), at least through the first and second trimester. Some women who feel great and are in great health even push through with exercise all the way up to delivery!


In general, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend soon-to-be mamas to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most, if not all, days.

Some things that are relatively safe for most pregnancies are as follows:

- Breathing and Kegels

- Walking

- Bike Riding

- Swimming

- Prenatal Yoga and Pilates


PLUG: We have a Pre &Post Natal Exercise Program Online- Reach out to me if you are interested in a customized Pre&Post Natal program!




EXERCISES TO AVOID

When not showing a baby bump, some of these may still be okay, but with a baby bump present, avoid these exercises:

- Anything with increased risk of falling

- Lying flat on your back

- Advanced abdominal moves, like full sit ups

- Twisting movements- Russian Twists

- Back bends

- Holding the breath

- Hot yoga/extreme temperatures, or sports in altitude change

- Motionless Standing


THINGS TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER<3

1. Swollen Ankles - One of the uncomfortable things about pregnancy can be a case of the swollen ankles... here are some common things that can provide some relief

- reduce sodium intake, and increase potassium intake

- reduce caffeine intake

- Stay cool and hydrated

- Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate

2. Low Back Pain- With added weight in the mid section, the baby or load creates an offset balance and/or can push on nerves... here are some quick fixes for relief

- Cat Cows and Bird Dogs

- Walking

- Heat Packs




POST NATAL EXERCISE

Physical activity needs to be cleared by a doctor to resume. And the return to 'homeostasis' will vary for everyone so it's important to listen to your body and consider your past habits and routines. It's also very important to consider the pregnancy and delivery, as some things can affect the come-back, such as Diastasis Recti. Rebuilding the core and pelvic floor are also going to be steps in a great direction when you are ready.


The first place to start with rebuilding the core and pelvic floor is breathing and kegels.


Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing is the foundation of core strength as it strengthens the deepest core musculature and gives ample oxygen to working muscles. Check this blog post for more that I've talked about with this!

Kegels are those moments when we really have to go to the bathroom so we "hold it". That squeezing of your pelvic floor is your handy-dandy Kegel, and they work wonders! Completing 3 sets of 10 as many times as you can remember helps keep the pelvic floor strong, support your bladder, small intestines, uterus and rectum, and can improve orgasms!;)


Once you've got the green light, it's important to GRADUALLY bring yourself back to that exercise flow state. Maybe just starting with some light stretching or walking for a short period of time. Rest as needed. Walking and bike riding are great ways to get you moving and (often) outside!! Bring that new baby with you to make it fun!


Below is a quick five minute routine that is great for rebuilding a core and is safe for almost everyone, when you're ready to begin exercise. Again, consult your doctor to know what is best for you.


Core Builder/Lower Back Series

2-4x through

8 cat cows

5-8 bird dogs

plank- three 10 second planks with 10-30 seconds rest as needed, can add time as you progress!

10-15 glute bridges


EXERCISES TO AVOID

After getting clearance to return to exercise from your Doctor, there are not many things that you need to AVOID unless you have additional considerations, such as Diastasis Recti, health or pregnancy complications . Until you rebuild that pelvic floor, you may find discomfort and even embarrassment with high intensity or high impact exercises, like running or jumping. Certain exercises may feel different postpartum but not necessary to avoid. Just being careful and listening to your body, starting slow and building. Learning about your new body and enjoying the process!!


Here are some tips that may improve your comfort during your postpartum time!

  1. Stay hydrated and nourished by consuming at least 1800 calories/day, but certainly discuss with your doctor any additional/modified dietary needs you may have

  2. Invest in comfort bras and clothes- small thing, big difference! And then being liberated by removing the bra when you're done exercising!!!;)

  3. Being patient with yourself in losing the weight is important! Losing weight too quickly causes hormonal changes which affects the composition of the breast milk.

  4. Consider pumping before exercise, just letting out some of the weight before you go more around!;)



Just some of the basics around exercise and pregnancy or postpartum. Hope this helps and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I'd love to hear from you!


Have a great week!

<3 Coach Kwo


https://www.webmd.com/women/qa/what-are-the-benefits-of-kegel-exercises#:~:text=Kegel%20exercises%2C%20also%20called%20pelvic,can%20even%20improve%20your%20orgasms.

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/1/6

https://www.medela.us/breastfeeding/articles/the-exercise-and-breastfeeding-ultimate-guide



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