{Prenatal} Training Tuesday

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
My racing buddy/bro in law and I racing together, when I was 4 -5 months pregnant with Aria.

Good afternoon friends! I thought it would be fun to start a Tuesday Training post, where we talk about prenatal health and fitness.

First things first...This will be a reflection of my training, education and experience as a Prenatal and Postatal Exercise Specialist, a Personal Trainer, Labor Support Person, as well as my own personal experiences with pregnancy and fitness. 
I am not a doctor or midwife, nor am I your doctor or midwife. It's always important to discuss starting a new exercise routine with your care provider.

Now on to the fun stuff.

I'm a huge advocate for exercising during pregnancy. It's a great choice you can make for you and your baby!

Babies born to mothers who exercise experience:

Increased physical health scores
Increased intelligence scores
Fewer fetal interventions
Fewer pregnancy complications
Improved nutrient and waste exchange
Improved ability to adapt to the stresses of labor
Easier transition to life outside the uterus

Mom's who exercise during their pregnancy experience: 

Decreased need for non-surgical interventions
Decreased risk of surgical interventions
Fewer pregnancy discomforts
Less weight gain
Reduced likelihood of gestational diabetes
Reduced likelihood of preeclampsia
Faster recovery time after birth

And I just want to get this out there because it seems this old information is still being passed around.

The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology published their revised recommendations and guidelines for exercise in 2002. The old ACOG guideline recommended that pregnant women not elevate their HR above 140 beats per minute.

The new guideline says "target heart rates cannot be used to monitor exercise intensity in pregnancy". That means, each woman is different, so each woman's guidelines for HR will be different!

The fact that each woman is unique, each pregnancy is unique, and we aren't as delicate as we've been made to seem, is finally getting out there!

Listen to your body ladies! Trust it! You were made to do this!

I'm often asked, "What should I be doing for exercise during pregnancy?"
And the answer I give is "There's no one size fits all prescription. It's different for every woman. So let's talk about what may be right for you."

You don't have to do what your pregnant friend or coworker is doing for exercise, what I'm doing or what anyone else is telling you is the right thing for you. Each woman and each pregnancy is different. While the biology is the same, no two pregnancies are the same. Check in with yourself and with your baby every day. Exist in the space where you feel comfortable!

If you weren't big on exercise before pregnancy, that doesn't mean you can't start during your pregnancy! The important thing will be to start at a place that is comfortable to you. Lower impact exercise can be a good place to start.

These are some good options for lower impact exercises where the intensity can be changed to accommodate your needs as a beginner and how those needs change:

Walking
Elliptical
Swimming
Yoga (YouTube has a ton of prenatal yoga classes of various lengths for free!)
Prenatal Fitness Video's (YouTube has a ton of these for free too!)

If you've been exercising prior to pregnancy, pick up where it feels comfortable for you! Do your thing!

Our bodies are wise. They have a way of letting us know their limits.


During my pregnancies, the only type of exercise I was previously doing, that I determined to be off limits for me, was/is riding my bike outdoors. The reason being...I've had some rough falls over the past few years. Obviously none of them were planned or could have been avoided in the moment. So it just feels like a better option to me, to trade it in for indoor spinning.


Labor

The average amount of time the first time marathoner spends training for a marathon, in total, is about 300 hours.
The average length of time it takes for a first time marathon runner to complete the big event is about 5 hours.

The average time a first time mom spends in labor (her big event) is 12-24 hours.
That's a long ass marathon!

When it comes to preparing for labor, building your strength and stamina in any way, can be hugely beneficial! Labor is very physically demanding, with or without pain management. And for most first time moms, it can be very long. Building up your endurance and your strength prior to, can be very helpful when it comes to managing your energy effectively through the duration of labor and pushing.

For women who have very short or fast labors, it can be just as essential to have that strength and stamina for the big show. Fast labor does not mean easy labor. Your body does the same amount of work in a much shorter amount of time. Having some fitness under your belt can help manage the precipitous changes of your body.


One important thing I learned from my last pregnancy is that my prenatal training schedule is best as a fluid entity. Sure, I plan what I would like to do. But, I listen to what my body is telling me and I change things weekly and even sometimes daily, as needed.

I just recently had a low 2 weeks where I just felt like crap. I went from great runs, spinning, crossfit style strength training to total exhaustion and soreness. My soreness wasn't exercise induced. It wasn't that type of sore you feel after a tough strength session or a long run. It was my hips and under my belly, right where my round ligaments sit.

The relaxin hormone in my body, my muscles and ligaments stretching to accommodate baby, mixed with my growing uterus, were a cocktail for total physical defeat.

During those 2 weeks I took a good look at how I felt physically and I made necessary adjustments for baby and I.

The 2 weeks I was feeling sore and tired I wanted to be sure to give my body what it needed. I toned my runs down to less frequent, sorter runs. I worked in an online Prenatal Yoga class for some stretching and body awareness, so that I could really understand how and what these new feelings in my body were. And for strength, I went low intensity with a Beginner Prenatal Barre class from YouTube.

Additionally I drank a ton of water and allowed myself extra rest days.

I made it over the hump and I am feeling fantastic. I have energy and the soreness has completely subsided. I'm back in the saddle with my runs, spinning and more strength training...and planning for some upcoming races hopefully!
Sometimes it can be hard to wait it out, especially because your body is always changing. But we just have to trust in our wise bodies to tell us what they need.

Stay tuned next week for the Physiological Considerations for each Trimester.

Happy Tuesday Ya'll.

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