Guidelines for Physical Activity During Pregnancy

Training Whilst Pregnant
First off a HUGE congratulations to the both of you on the pregnancy!

We want to do what we can to make you feel comfortable here at Hybrid during this exciting and I’m sure challenging period

First off we suggested that you first seek advice from your health care provider before starting or continuing an exercise program here with us.

Overall there is a consensus that exercise during pregnancy is recommended and will result in fewer complications during pregnancy and improve recovery speeds.

A 2015 review of the current guidelines advised and encourage pregnant women to take part in physical activity either by maintaining their pre-pregnancy levels of activity or, for previously sedentary women, by starting a new exercise program during pregnancy.

Even if you are starting an exercise program it is still suggested you partake in a light to moderate exercise program including aerobic and strength conditioning exercises increasing the amount gradually over time

There are plenty of benefits from physical activity during pregnancy however, due to physical changes that occur during pregnancy, special precautions are also needed.
Key Points to Consider When Training at Hybrid  
  • Denmark guidelines advised that “pregnant women accustomed to high-intensity physical activity during pre-pregnancy could continue this activity as long as they felt well”
  • Spanish guidelines recommended “No more than 15 min vigorous activity & to decrease intensity by 20-30%”
  • Avoid activities in a supine position (lying on your back) instead modify positions to be on your side, sitting or standing
  • As a guide make sure you can talk whilst exercise (talk test)
  • Cease exercise if you experience abdominal or back pain, amniotic fluid leakage, or excessive shortness of breath
  • Generally, use lighter weights and perform higher repetitions instead (lighter relative to you and your pre-pregnancy levels)
  • Avoid large amounts of sedentary time outside of the gym
  • Avoid isometric exercises (such as pausing in the bottom of a squat)
  • Avoid long distance running
  • Wear light clothing to avoid overheating
  • Guidelines vary regarding the frequency & duration of exercise the most general being
         1. Accumulate 30 min or more of moderate exercise on most days of the week
         2. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week during pregnancy
  • Try to train near our roller doors or near a fan where it is cooler
  • Drink of water stay hydrated
  • Don’t try to be ‘competitive’ in our class’s train for you
Examples of Healthy Recommended Activities To Perform During Pregnancy
  • Aerobic activities
  • Pelvic floor exercise
  • Stationary bike (avoiding riding outdoors with the risk of falling)
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
Key Factors to Avoid During Pregnancy
  • Abdominal Trauma or Pressure
  • Altitude
  • Contact or Collision Sports
  • Excessive Body Heat
  • Excessive Joint Stress
  • Falls or Fall related sports
  • Hot or Humid Weather
  • High Impact
  • High loads
  • Lying on back after the first trimester
  • Uneven load during stretching
  • Vigorous intensity (if not done before pregnancy)
​​​Consider Stopping Exercise If:​​
  • Abdominal pain
  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excessive shortness of breath
  • Uterine contractions are painful
  • Vaginal bleeding
​​​Our Members Tips and Tricks:
Sarah Nguyen

"My two biggest tips on training through pregnancy are:

1) Keep moving! With back and hip pain and fatigue I found it a struggle to make it to the gym for much of my pregnancy, which I regret. In my final weeks of pregnancy (and after wrapping up at work) I had more time on my hands and made a conscious effort to get to the gym every day - even if only for light stretching and body weight movements. My pain significantly reduced and I felt much more mobile and comfortable, despite carrying more weight in those last few weeks.

2) Modify. I was advised to mix up my training to best prepare myself for pregnancy and birth. Everyone will be different, but for me (when I did make it to the gym!) that meant focusing on core, pelvic floor and upper back strength."

Amy Chan

"Everyone is different when it comes to training during pregnancy. I trained throughout my whole pregnancy and felt good for it however the intensity and amount fluctuated a lot depending on how I was feeling at each stage. My best advice is to listen to your body. Everybody is different on how they experience pregnancy and their fitness level before hand going into pregnancy. If exercise feels good, as it did for me - I say go for it. If you don't have the energy as you feel sick or drained, then time out, resting, meditation or whatever you can do for yourself is more important at that stage.

When training, as soon as a movement doesn't feel comfortable anymore it's a good idea to let that one go - your body will be the guide. Keep the weights on a comfortable side of things and you should always be able to hold a conversation during the workout. Move to feel good, not to make fitness achievements. Finally, enjoy and embrace this new experience your body is undertaking!"

Emily Cass

"Training through my pregnancy was extremely important. There’s a lot of information online about this topic and it was very overwhelming to read. You want to make sure you keep moving without doing the wrong thing by your baby. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s listen to your own body. Not what you read online. It’s far smarter than you think. As the months go on, drop the weight amount and up your reps. There are many modified versions of exercise that you can do. As long as you are moving some way or another you are giving your body the best possible chance at giving birth and having a better recovery.
I strongly recommend working on your pelvic floor muscles every day as well as after birth. Your body will thank you!"

Gabrielle Handley

"I think my number one tip would be to listen to your body and not so much your mind. By this I mean, for me that there are often days where my mind would say “not today, you worked out yesterday. You need a break.” But if I then turned my attention to my body it more often than not was more than capable of getting up and going to the gym. Also the temptation to push myself hard was always there after years of working out to improve myself but this mindset had to change and I learned that during pregnancy and recovery we need to be kind to ourselves and save a bit of energy for baby growing/feeding! Last tip is don’t stop working out, back off on the weight, go slow but don’t stop! It makes recovery so much quicker and it’s easier to get back into things if you never really stopped in the 1st place!"

Michelle Clinch 

Some reflections on exercising while I was pregnant with Lucy:

• My abdominal strength got weak very early, which surprised me (about 4.5 months in), so I had to scale my workouts from there – no sit ups or any other exercises that made my abs obviously “dome”.

• Banded pull-ups were OK for me, the bands seemed to take enough strain off my midline to be able to do the exercise, but they aren’t for everyone during pregnancy. I also got too uncomfortable running approaching 30 weeks, so subbed in the bike and rower for these parts of the workout. Weight lifting was still fine, I kept to about 70% of my max and was careful with my technique because I didn’t want to injure my back.

• There’s never really any excuse not to do burpees, I did them with my hands on a box when my belly got too big. I also did box-step ups instead of box jumps because I was worried about falling, that’s also why I stopped doing handstands.

• I tried to read as up-to-date information about exercise in pregnancy to inform myself, there still seems to be a lot of mis-information out there (e.g. keeping your heart rate under a certain rate etc, which has been scientifically disproven). There’s also a lot of research which shows the benefits, so it was very encouraging to keep up with my exercise. My midwives were very encouraging of me keeping up with my exercise for the health benefits it gives.

• I found I could keep the intensity up in my workouts but tried to keep to about what I estimated to me 70-80% of my normal maximum effort so as not to stress myself and my baby too much. Trying to keep cool when it was hot was also important.

• I found the mental health benefits of exercising when pregnancy to be enormously positive. I was affected by nausea for most of the nine months, which was horrible, but I always felt better after doing a workout. Some days when I felt extremely ill, I just had to go gently and use the meds I had prescribed to get me through!

• Keeping my squat game strong in the gym ended up being a huge benefit while trying to cope with an induced labour and a baby who started off in a posterior position (which causes intense back pain labour for the uninitiated). Squatting (lots) through those god-awful contractions helped keep my mind off the pain and helped baby to rotate into a more optimal position for birth. You can’t ever know how your birth will go but keeping your body and mind strong will help regardless of what happens.

• Post-natal pilates classes were helpful in trying to get my core strong again after Lucy was born. It’s also important to realise that the relaxin hormone in your body is still active for at least 4 months after birth, so it’s important to go gently and slowly to minimise the risk of injury in this period.
​​​Comprehensive Literature Review
For a comprehensive review of the current guidelines relating to Physical Activity During Pregnancy from around the World click below.
Literature Review
More Questions Around Your Health & Fitness?!

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