bACTIVE pregnancy & post-natal
BECOMING A MUM DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO FITNESS
Making a baby is hard work! Inevitably, pregnancy and birth will take a toll on your body and it can be a while before you bounce back. With expert guidance and a bit of hard work, however, there is no reason why you have to wave a permanent goodbye to your pre-baby physique and fitness levels.
Exercising during pregnancy is great for mum and baby; not only will it help you to stay healthy and give you a powerful endorphin boost, research shows that it may help to prevent gestational diabetes. Staying fit is also beneficial to help you through the physical challenge of labour. If you have a pre-existing medical issue or a pregnancy-related condition, be sure to consult your obstetrician prior to starting a fitness routine.
YOUR PREGNANT BODY
Your pregnant body has to cope with the extra demands posed by your growing baby. Not only do you need more oxygen and use up more energy while expecting, pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments to stretch, which is the culprit for those pesky aches and pains you will be experiencing and which also leave you at higher risk of injury. The extra weight you are carrying and the presence of your baby bump shifts your centre of gravity, making it easier for you to lose your balance while putting added stress on the joints and muscles in the lower back and pelvic areas.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
If you were fit before pregnancy then you will be able to carry on, within safe parameters. For example, opt for low-impact aerobic activity rather than high impact. If, however, your pre-pregnancy self was much better acquainted with the TV remote than the inside of a gym, now is not the time to take up a demanding exercise regime. Instead, commit to 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as walking or swimming, or take a pilates or yoga class - just make sure that your instructor is qualified for pregnancy exercise.
It is wise to wait until after your postnatal check (between six to eight weeks), before resuming any exercise other than light walking and Kegels. Your body is in recovery from giving birth and will remain affected for several months as a result of the pregnancy hormone changes. Easing slowly back in to fitness will help to avoid potential injury. Listen to your body, don't push yourself too hard and rest when you are tired. Be patient with yourself if you are not progressing as quickly as you would wish; despite the paparazzi shots of celebs getting back into their skinny jeans and bikinis within (what seems like) five minutes after giving birth, it is normal for your body to take a while to recover. Keep the 'nine months on, nine months off' rule at front of mind!
THE 'MUMMY TUMMY'
Fed up with having a tummy that still ’pooches’ or sticks out, months and even years after giving birth? You may be suffering from Diastasis Recti, a condition that causes a gap between the two sections of the Rectus Adominis (the abdominal muscle). If you did a lot of crunches or obliques post baby you may have developed a ‘cone’ shape on your abdomen; this is where you have worked the muscles hard but in the wrong direction. All is not lost however! With guidance from a qualified trainer who is experienced with this all-too-common issue, you can improve the condition by following a program designed to activate and engage your core transverse abdominis muscle, and re-align and strengthen your core and pelvis. You may not bring the muscles back together completely but you can certainly make a significant improvement to your strength, stability and the way your tummy looks.