Newly pregnant and wondering what will happen to your workout regime? Don’t fret, your body is changing and you’re bound to feel slightly disconnected with fitness, especially in your first trimester when you might be struggling with morning (all day) sickness. Exercise is so beneficial for our bodies physically but also mentally and being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up what you really enjoy. Adaptations need to be made, yes, but working out in pregnancy can be hugely beneficial and can even help make your recovery post-birth much easier. We caught up with one of London’s top PTs, Peter Maciver, who not only helped Rochelle Humes fall back in love with fitness after having a baby but also coached her for the London Marathon just a year after giving birth. Below he shares his top pregnancy fitness tips and how you can still enjoy working our in your first trimester and beyond.
I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, struggling with morning sickness but still want to move my body in some way. Do you have any tips on what sort of workouts you can do in the 1st trimester when you don’t look pregnant but you certainly feel it!
The type of workouts you can do in your 1st trimester will depend on how active you were before you got pregnant. Generally, low-impact exercises such as walking, running, yoga and swimming are favourable. However, individuals who have been weight lifting before pregnancy can continue it but I would advise them to be more cautious and avoid overhead exercises. There is a higher risk of harming your baby during the 1st trimester so as a general rule take it easy with low-impact workouts.
Before I was pregnant, I loved getting a good sweat on and the buzz that came with it. How can I adapt my workouts during pregnancy but still get the physical and mental benefits of a good sweat?
If you are used to HIIT workouts with explosive movements then you can lower the intensity of the workout while still increasing your heart rate and getting a good sweat. There’s the option of doing planks instead of sit-ups. Do your workout seated so that you are supported and ditch the weights and use your body weight instead since you are already carrying extra weight.
If I lifted weights before becoming pregnant, can I still lift weights now? Is there anything I need to be mindful of?
Yes, you definitely can but you just need to be mindful of overhead exercises e.g. military press, shoulder press, clean and press etc. since there’s a risk of the bar touching your bump. Don’t over-exert yourself or strain too much, you could try lowering the weight and increasing the reps.
Why is exercising important in pregnancy?
There are so many beneficial reasons to exercise during your pregnancy. Your body will go through a drastic change and exercise is not only good for your body but also your mind. It can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to support you’ll have more energy and hopefully, the quality of your sleep will be improved.
Is it ok to get really sweaty when you’re pregnant or is it important to not let your heart-rate get too high?
Yes – sweat doesn’t determine the intensity of your workout, some people sweat more than others. Its all down to how much you push yourself and you should be at around 60-70% of your maximum heart-rate.
Are there any particular areas of my body that could benefit from a bit of strengthening as I gear up for labour?
Focusing on your glutes can definitely help you avoid lower back pain and joint aches. Strong glutes will improve your posture and help support the extra weight you are carrying.
Is it possible to start exercising in pregnancy if you’re not already really fit?
Yes – exercise can be anything that gets your heart rate up. It is possible to start but be mindful and listen to your body. It doesn’t have to be a cray workout, try a low-intensity workout and see how you feel.
Nutrition-wise do you have any tips on I can support my body during pregnancy with my diet?
Whilst I am not a nutritionist and recommend that you seek advice from your doctor I would suggest lots of water and plenty of dark leafy green vegetables.
I advise every single person who is pregnant to get a consultation from their doctor at each trimester in their pregnancy. Every individual is different and what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you.
On a mission to get the nation running, Peter has just launched a 6-week run plan that will guide you through the basics of running to your first marathon! Download it here.