Antenatal Training A Clients Perspective
From the moment I found out I had a little human growing inside me at 6 weeks I was on a mission to have a 'healthy pregnancy'. My mindset set was; healthy Mum equals healthy baby. I was in fairly good shape and had been enjoying regular 1:1 personal training sessions & HIIT a few times a week but could I keep that up? Just because my stomach was going to get bigger surely I didn't have to let the rest of my body go too? I wanted to keep the wobbly arms and legs at bay for as long as possible! I already had a brilliant personal trainer qualified in antenatal and postnatal fitness... so the safety aspects were covered! My good friend google told me of numerous proven benefits of exercising during pregnancy; possible shorter labour, quicker recovery, improved strength, reduction in back pain, better circulation (less likely to develop monster veins & swollen body parts) and stronger pelvic floor (less likely to pee myself). It seemed simple... However when you throw the wonderful well known pregnancy symptoms into the mix it was not so easy to remain motivated.
The first trimester... although I initially looked the same, I did feel different during my first few training sessions as a newly pregnant lady! Its amazing how in tune with your body you become and the slightest twitch inside, had me worrying that something was going to go wrong. That first 12 weeks can be quite nerve racking...but positive encouragement from my personal trainer and peace of mind that the exercise programme was perfectly safe dampened my anxiety levels. Over the next 5 weeks I tried to squeeze in as many 1:1 sessions I could. This was in-between bouts of morning sickness and increased tiredness. I found that exercising did actually help these symptoms; despite the initial struggle to find motivation, I always felt great afterwards! By week 10 of my pregnancy the awful nausea had subsided and my energy levels had increased, then FINALLY the massive relief of the 12 week scan i felt brilliant and I began to re-kindle my love with exercise again! My pregnancy has been straight forward and was considered 'low risk' which meant during the first trimester I could basically do the same type of exercises as i had pre-pregnancy! I had to be sensible of course; ensuring i ate a snack before and after my sessions, stayed hydrated and avoided overheating but that's just standard isn't it!
The second trimester...my appetite definitely increased and it was during this stage that i started to look pregnant as well as feel pregnant, the nice round belly had formed and the weight gain seemed to be going up at a faster pace! I didn't weigh myself often, a max of once every 2weeks, weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable and a healthy sign that everything is developing as it should! I wanted to enjoy the whole experience without worrying about it! My exercise programme had changed slightly; the sit up type exercises were taken out, replaced by PLANK, PLANK and more PLANK! I avoided exercises that involved lying flat on my back or stomach for a prolonged length of time. I also noticed that i began to get out of breath more easily and quickly now. The high intense cardio style exercises slowed and body weight tone up exercises were introduced, the TRX, light weight dumbbells and kettlebells were used! I also made a new best friend...the Swiss Ball!! My personal trainer hammered the importance of them all famous pelvic floor exercises into me, i knew i would thank him later for this! Towards the end of my second trimester i found it extremely frustrating that no shops seemed to sell pregnancy fitness gear! I ended up wearing my normal gym leggings rolled right down under my bump...not the most comfortable! In the end ditching them for normal black maternity leggings, the days of flattering gym gear was over...
The third trimester...started off well, however i knew i would reach a point where i needed to slow things down so i let my body guide me. As i approached 33 weeks, my favourite symptoms from the first trimester decided to re-appear; fatigue, nausea & the added bonus of painful pelvis and an achy lower back. Although my trainer was able to adjust my programme to include variations that placed less pressure on these areas, i needed more recovery time in-between workouts & we agreed to reduce the length and frequency of our sessions! I tried to substitute my training sessions with power walks outside, although these had their limit too! Some women have absolutely no problems exercising & walking long distances right up until their due date, it really is different for everyone! The best advice i can give is to listen to your body and be mindful of your own limitations because at the end of the day, the most important thing is that precious baby inside you! At the very end of my pregnancy i decided to give hypnobirthing a shot, this had been recommended to me by a friend and is a form of self hypnosis including deep relaxation and breathing techniques for managing pain and anxiety during labour. I am now 38 weeks pregnant so i will let you know how this goes...
I love my newly developed 'waddle' and my 'blooming baby weight'...however i must admit I am very keen to start my postnatal fitness training programme. Once our little bundle of joy arrives and i am deemed safe to do (Signed off at 6 weeks), I will start my journey back to my optimum fitness! I will keep you posted...on my next chapter, wish us luck.
D4 Fitness Client - Rebecca Louise