Ever wonder what the “Right” Kind of Exercise to do during pregnancy and postpartum is?
Women reach out to me often being paralyzed as to what they can and cannot do for exercise during pregnancy and postpartum.
I can see why the paralysis happens because you see scary titles like “What exercises to avoid to not harm the baby” and “The right exercises to do during pregnancy and postpartum.”
As a mother, our number one job is to take care of the baby so of course, you wouldn’t want to harm the baby so what is the easiest thing to do….nothing.
We now know that exercise during pregnancy and postpartum is safe and very beneficial for both mom and baby.
In fact, research has shown that those who exercise during pregnancy have many benefits including:
Let’s dive into what exercise can look like during pregnancy and postpartum
Not much modification needs to happen during this time. Modifications should be made based on nausea and exhaustion that you may experience during this period. You should also discontinue use of a weight belt or positions that put you at increased risk of falling.
Your belly is growing at this point so you may have to modify exercises based on the growth of your belly.
If you are performing olympic lifts with a barbell that your belly may impede the pathway of the bar then you want to modify these lifts. Also avoid any direct contact activities that would be hard on your belly such as burpees.
Modify anterior focused ab exercises such as planks and push-ups to an inclined position (using a bench or table-top).
You may also start noticing your capacity for high intensity activities is decreasing. So modify as necessary.
The baby continues to grow and you are experiencing continued growth of your belly, hormones are prepping you for birth so joints become more lax. In addition, you may experience another round of fatigue and discomfort towards the end of the third trimester.
With increased growth, you have increased pressure down on your pelvic floor. So do not hold your breath during exercises. Make sure you are exhaling through the movement.
If you experience pain with single leg movements, modify it by changing body position.
All high impact exercises should be modified or discontinued (not forever): running, box jumps, jumping rope to name a few.
Shorten range of motion to accommodate a growing body, for example squat to a chair.
During the birthing experience, the body has to go through a lot of trauma. So no matter how fit you were before pregnancy, you need to allow adequate time for your body to heal. (Think of an ACL injury in your knee…it takes months to rehab from this type of injury so it should be no different than birthing a baby!)
During the first couple weeks, you need time to rest and adjust to the new changes! Love on that baby and get some sleep.
Simple Core exercises with breathwork and short walks (5-10 minutes building up based on your capacity) can be initiated.
You may feel a bit more “normal” but remember to not push too hard.
Continued Core and pelvic floor exercises, longer walks, supine (on your back) exercise with light weights.
You can gradually start to add more load, intensity, and impact but always monitoring symptoms. The focus is to build up strength before you return to higher impact exercises such as running and HITT workouts.
Gal, I hope this helped demystify what exercise SHOULD look like during pregnancy and postpartum.
If you are wanting more direction on how to heal your core and pelvic floor postpartum, take a look at my 6-week, step-by-step course! You can find it here!
I am here to support you!