PT on the Net Research

Advanced Exercise During Pregnancy


Question:

I have been a trainer for over 12 years. I am also pregnant and would like some advanced training ideas for women who have been training diligently prior to pregnancy?

Answer:

Your question makes me think about how years ago, prenatal group exercise classes were more prevalent than they are today. I think this is precisely because of what you suggest in your question, specifically that pregnant women can do so much more than we used to think and therefore don't need "special" classes. They just need to know how to modify certain exercises if necessary. PTontheNet has terrific articles to review in this area (see “related articles” at right).

Basically, if you are healthy and your doctor has not suggested any restrictions to your fitness program, you can do pretty much what you were doing before, albeit with less intensity.

Some things to keep in mind (unless your doctor is ok with them) are to avoid power moves (e.g., plyometrics) and avoid excessive range of motion if you are experiencing joint laxity (i.e., stick to the range of motion you had before pregnancy). You should limit moves you don't feel you can balance or stabilize. Remember the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations of avoiding activities with a high risk of falling, injury or abdominal trauma. You should also make sure you are training your deep core stabilizers including pelvic floor with all moves in your exercise program as well as in daily activities. For new research, check out Dr. James Clapp as well as the ACOG website at acog.org

In summary, if you are in great shape, then you can do the workouts you were doing but at a moderate intensity level, not your hardest workouts. But your tri-planar lunges and integrated moves such as squats and rows, lunges and overhead press, walking lunges, planks and push ups are all ok! Below are a few examples of exercises I did with a client who gave birth May 1, 2008.

Lunges Standing Rows Walking on Treadmill Wall Sit w/Ring Single Leg Lunges