Pregnancy & the Weight Room | Should you lift weights while pregnant?

I get asked this question A LOT! Should you lift weights while pregnant? It is generally recommended that healthy pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, most days of the week. I can certainly attest to feeling less lethargic and invigorated after every session during my own pregnancy with Noah.

If you were physically active prior to your pregnancy, then there is a good chance that you can continue to exercise at the same level, as long as you are comfortable. This includes high impact activities such as running, which many women tend to avoid during pregnancy. Numerous studies clearly show that pre-natal exercise offers numerous health benefits for mom and baby. These include less weight gain during and more rapid weight loss once you’ve given birth. Women who train during pregnancy also tend to have easier pregnancies and fewer complications at birth. 

As long as there are no health concerns and you have been cleared for exercise by your doctor you can do the exercises you love for as long as your body lets you do it comfortably. 

Being very fond of the weight rack myself, I was tentative to keep on hitting the weights room. After my first few sessions however I realised my body will set the pace as long as I moderated weight and intensity. 

There is no reason to avoid the exercise you love especially if you trained weights before your pregnancy. Keep the following guidelines in mind to ensure no unexpected surprises

  • Wear a support belt during all your sessions, this ensures that you feel more comfortable and helps your core (transverse abdominus) and back (erector spinae) muscles cope with the added strain.
  • After the first trimester, avoid lying flat on your back (supine) to perform exercises. The size and weight of the uterus can put pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which can restrict blood flow. Yes this is very real! -after almost passing out on my OBGYN’s table I was very aware of lying on my side during all exercises and also resting or sleeping.
  • The hormone relaxin causes joints to loosen during pregnancy, so just be mindful of that before you lift to heavy. This is a phenomenon I felt immediately during my own pregnancy so I also omit lunges or any other movement that challenges your balance or place your joints in a n unstable or strained position (it felt like my hips were loose😊). Stick to bilateral moves where both feet are on the ground.
  • Be mindful of your back throughout your session as your core strength has been compromised by the lengthening and stretching of your abdominal muscles. Your weight belt will also help with support.
  • Your goal is to maintain your weight and health not lose weight or get stronger. Pregnancy is not a time to push limits or build muscle. 
  • Strengthening your deep core (pelvic floor and transverse abdominus) is extremely important as it weakens during pregnancy to prepare for the birthing process.
  • “Distasis recti” is a condition that occurs when the “six pack muscles” begin to pull apart from the midline of the body, most notably around, above and below the belly button for a width of two fingers. Therefor training your rectus abdominus should not be your main focus during pregnancy.
  • Whichever exercise you choose during pregnancy it is important to moderate intensity. The old guideline of keeping your heart rate under 140bpm seems to be dated advice. Apply the talk test to your training. You should break a sweat but still be able to carry on with a conversation.

Contact me for my “Growing a baby and staying fit’- program that will keep you moving in the comfort of your own sitting room without fancy equipment!

Do not exercise without strict medical supervision if you suffer from the following:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Placenta previa (or other issues with your placenta)
  • History of pre-term labour 

The importance of an exercise program during pregnancy is that it should keep at maintenance level. Nothing more and nothing less. We are working towards long-term health benefits for you and your unborn child and not looking to achieve weight or performance goals.

Hope that helps!

shoud you lift weights while pregnant

Love Len

Stay fit and active and – always remember “Don’t stop until you’re proud”

should you lift weights while pregnant
5 months pregnant – “Throughout my pregnancy I loved the weight room, I just made sure to adjust weight and intensity”
should you lift weights while pregnant?

Ideal forms of Exercise During Pregnancy

It is generally recommended that healthy pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, most days of the week. I can certainly attest to feeling less lethargic and invigorated after every session during my own pregnancy with Noah.

If you were physically active prior to your pregnancy, then there is a good chance that you can continue to exercise at the same level, as long as you are comfortable. This includes high impact activities such as running, which many women tend to avoid during pregnancy.

Numerous studies clearly show that pre-natal exercise offers numerous health benefits for mom and baby. These include less weight gain during and more rapid weight loss once you’ve given birth. Women who train during pregnancy also tend to have easier pregnancies and fewer complications at birth. 

As long as there are no health concerns and you have been cleared for exercise by your doctor you can do the exercises you love for as long as your body lets you do it comfortably. The point at which running or any other exercise becomes uncomfortable will vary from person to person depending on how big you carry, the way you carry etc. Some women can run up until seven or eight months. Just wear a support belt and good sports pregnancy bra and always good shoes. Jipeeee!!..;-)

Being very fond of the weight rack myself, I was tentative to keep on hitting the weights room. After my first few sessions however I realised my body will set the pace as long as I moderated weight and intensity.

If you are a beginner, do not start a rigorous exercise program. Your body is not accustomed to doing a certain type and intensity of exercise. Adding the demands of physical exercise to those of pregnancy may then do more harm than good. Pregnancy however is the ideal time to get moving. Nowhere in the literacy does it say anything about moderate exercise being harmful or unsafe even in sedentary women. So; walk the dog, the hubby, the friends and the neighbours. It looks like we’ll at least have some freedom in the near future.

How do you start? Regular brisk walks are the ideal way to start incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Some other great low impact exercises include spinning and rowing. Swimming is also a great choice because it creates a weightlessness that soothes aching joints. Always wanted to attend a class? Well Prenatal yoga and preggie-pilates are popular options. Still homebound? Contact me for my “Growing a baby and staying fit’- program that will keep you moving in the comfort of your own sitting room without fancy equipment.

Do not exercise without strict medical supervision if you suffer from the following:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Placenta previa (or other issues with your placenta)
  • History of pre-term labour 

The importance of an exercise program during pregnancy is that it should keep at maintenance level. Nothing more and nothing less. We are working towards long-term health benefits for you and your unborn child and not looking to achieve weight or performance goals.

Hope that helps!

Stay fit and active and – always remember “Don’t stop until you’re proud”

  • 5 months pregnant – “Throughout my pregnancy I loved the weight room, I just made sure to adjust weight and intensity”
Exercise during pregnancy

Pre-exercise Checklist During Pregnancy

Expectant moms often worry that exercise during pregnancy could harm their health or that of their developing baby. However, if a pregnant woman is otherwise healthy, undergoes regular prenatal check-ups with her OBGYN and is not considered a high-risk pregnancy, then there is absolutely nothing harmful about working out according to Carlene Steenekamp -pre and postnatal exercise specialist.

Numerous studies clearly show that pre-natal exercise offers numerous health benefits for mom and baby. These include less weight gain during and more rapid weight loss once you’ve given birth. Women who train during pregnancy also tend to have easier pregnancies and fewer complications at birth. Being very fond of the weight rack myself, I was tentative to keep on hitting the weights room. After my first few sessions however I realised my body will set the pace as long as I moderated weight and intensity.

Having said that what are the prerequisites before diving into any exercise program? 

At the moment in South Africa you won’t be going to the gym anytime soon so what should you consider before starting an at-home workout program?

First and Foremost, getting the all-clear from your OBGYN. Make sure you get adequate sleep before embarking on this voyage and that your diet is well balanced and devoid of harmful substances like alcohol. – see my blog; Dietary guidelines for a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Do not exercise without strict medical supervision if you suffer from the following:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Placenta previa (or other issues with your placenta)
  • History of pre-term labour 

If you have exercised regularly before pregnancy there is no reason to stop. You may need to alter your routine slightly to ensure your safety and the safety of your baby so be flexible and call in a professional😊. If you have not trained for a while you will need to be more cautious and would also benefit from an individualised program. Contact me for your personalised “Growing a baby and staying fit” program!

The importance of an exercise program during pregnancy is that it should keep at maintenance level. Nothing more and nothing less. We are working towards long-term health benefits for you and your unborn child and not looking to achieve weight or performance goals.

If you are in need of a workout plan during your pregnancy, please contact me.

Hope that helps!

Stay fit and active and – always remember “Don’t stop until you’re proud”

5 months pregnant – “Throughout my pregnancy I loved the weight room, I just made sure to adjust weight and intensity”

Pregnancy checklist, exercise checklist

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Expectant moms often worry that exercise during pregnancy could harm their health or that of their developing baby. However, if a pregnant woman is otherwise healthy, undergoes regular prenatal check-ups with her OBGYN and is not considered a high-risk pregnancy, then there is absolutely nothing harmful about working out according to Carlene Steenekamp -pre and postnatal exercise specialist.

Numerous studies clearly show that pre-natal exercise offers numerous health benefits for mom and baby. These include less weight gain during and more rapid weight loss once you’ve given birth. Women who train during pregnancy also tend to have easier pregnancies and fewer complications at birth. Being very fond of the weight rack myself, I was tentative to keep on hitting the weights room. After my first few sessions however I realised my body will set the pace as long as I moderated weight and intensity.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Other health benefits of exercise during pregnancy also includes:

• Decreased recovery time postpartum
• Prepares your body for labour and child birth
• Increases energy levels
• Reduce Lower back and pubic bone pain
• Reduced risk of medical complications such as pregnancy-related(gestational) diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, varicose veins and haemorrhoids
• Improves blood flow which can reduce swelling and water retention
• Baby also benefits as exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of childhood obesity

So; don’t be scared to still enjoy your aerobics class, yoga session or squat rack. Having said that however; pregnancy is also not the time to get fit or lean. You are purely exercising for the health benefits to you and your little one. Keep at maintenance level so don’t set strenuous goals. Keep the triathlons, bikini comps and marathons on ice for now😊

Need a workout or diet plan? Contact me for an expectant mom health plan.

Len

 

Pregnant Mom Workout Plan | Expectant Moms Workout Plan now available!

benefits of exercise during pregnancy
pregnant mom workout
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Pregnancy Dietary Guidelines – What You Should & Shouldn’t Be Doing

pregnancy dietary guidelines

Pregnancy Dietary Guidelines for a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Expectant moms are often overwhelmed with what ‘to eat or not to eat’ during pregnancy. The information overload once you start asking opinions of seasoned moms or even Dr Google can also be frustrating and often leaves you with more questions than answers. Some pregnancy dietary guidelines seem ridiculous – while others seem impossible to incorporate.

The concept of in utero nutrition has evoked much investigation as the “foetal origins hypothesis” emerges as one potential source for adult disease. What one chooses as food can have a major health impact on the creation of another human being.

“Your energy intake should meet your personal nutritional needs and allow for about 0.4-kg of weight gain per week during the last 30 weeks of pregnancy. Protein intake of about 25g/day additionally per foetus. Sodium intake that is not excessive but no less than 2-3g per day. Mineral and vitamin intakes to meet your daily allowances (folic acid and possible iron supplementation is required).”

Krause 2008

Keeping the above in mind, the following guidelines will help to take the guess work out of the kitchen.

  1. Always eat a variety of foods.
  2. Drink plenty of liquids.
  3. Eat food that is high in protein for example legumes, meat and fish.
  4. Limit fish and seafood that is high in mercury.
  5. Take a prenatal vitamin with adequate iron and folic acid requirements.
  6. Limit junk and greasy foods.
  7. Limit caffeine to 200mg per day (2 cups of coffee)
  8. Omit alcohol completely.
  9. Avoid fizzy drinks.
  10. Plan ahead and freeze extra portions of healthy meals.
  11. Get physical – Look out for my exercise and pregnancy series.
  12. Superfoods for mom also includes: Salmon, lean beef, berries, eggs, leafy greens, brown rice, oranges, whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals
pregnancy dietary guidelines mother quote

I love this quote from Linda Wooten. Pregnancy and being a mother will be filled with obstacles, however, you are strong and you can do this!

Remember that your nutrition status during pregnancy affects not only the gestation of the foetus, but also your subsequent health and the health of your baby. This makes your dietary choices of utmost importance and should be treated that way. A healthy mom = a healthy baby!

See you soon,
Len

Pregnancy dietary guidelines blog cover

May: Mommy & Me Workout Series

mommy and me workout series

Hi Moms!
Welcome to the first rendition of my Mommy and Me workout series. As the mother of the delightful Noah Brian Brophy, I fully realize that the biggest challenge all mothers face is to find the energy to spend on themselves. That’s why I formulated these workouts to be fun, simple and effective. It also includes the little one you are trying to keep alive, resulting in quality bonding time!

When Noah was 6 weeks old, I started with my own exercise routine. Everyday I had to wait for my hubby to come home from work first. This frustrated me to no end, which led me to try all sorts of fun stuff we could do together. This series is a compilation of what I found worked and also what Noah enjoyed most.

Don’t be fooled though you are going to sweat! Handling a squirming weight was new to me and I found it more challenging than I thought. These videos were only shot when he was 10 months old -and almost 13kg, so I had my work cut out for me!

Once you know the first 12 sessions, it’s just a question of a slight advancement to the third and second month. This easy progression keeps you from relearning all new exercises and inevitably also saves time (win-win situation!)

I’ve always been active, even when I’ve gained weight in the past, so going back to exercise after Noah’s birth was relatively easy in the sense that I never really stopped moving. I was very active throughout my pregnancy and still walked Bod and Didi around the neighbourhood up until week 39. I know my body quite well so I never strained myself or did exercises I did not feel ready for.

What I’m trying to say is: get the green light from your OBGYN before embarking on this new journey and listen to your body. They always knows best! Also; give yourself time, enough rest and set reasonable goals. You just grew a human – read that again – and you are trying to function with less rest than you’ve ever had to cope with. You should get a trophy from humanity!

You can find all of the videos on my Facebook or YouTube.

Just relax, we’ve got this😊