Follow these pregnancy exercise guidelines and you can reap the rewards of regular exercise while doing what’s best for you and bubs.
The most important thing about exercise during pregnancy is to be clear about what you hope to achieve.
Pregnancy is generally the time for maintenance, not for striving for new fitness goals or working out at high intensity – the only marathon you want to be considering when pregnant is one that involves Netflix!
You should make sure your obstetric caregiver is aware of your fitness activities, drink plenty of water during exercise and stop immediately if you ever feel dizzy or uncomfortable.
Exercises to avoid during pregnancy
- Exercises that position you on your back after the first trimester, because this position can hinder blood flow to and from the heart.
- Exercise that may cause trauma to the abdominal area – now’s the time to give up your kickboxing, at least until the baby’s born.
- Exercising in high heat environments – wear loose, comfortable clothing to class, preferably with layers that can be removed.
- Long periods of stationary or motionless standing, as this can cause changes in blood pressure.
- Any exercise that may cause loss of balance, or put you at risk of a fall.
Exercise adjustments during pregnancy
- Modify your core training whenever possible so that you avoid lying flat on your back. You can do this by supporting yourself on your elbows (ensuring you keep the chest lifted), rolling over to do hover or plank work or embracing four-point kneeling.
- Reduce intensity whenever you, and your doctor, think you should.
- Chances are your range of motion is eventually going to change, making it uncomfortable to twist and jump, so just take it easy and really respect what your body is telling you.
The following workouts are not recommended during pregnancy:
- BODYCOMBAT™ is not recommended during pregnancy because of the joint instability. The release of hormones such as estrogen and relaxin can result in joints being less stable – so the kicks in BODYCOMBAT may aggravate the hip and pelvis.
- LES MILLS GRIT™ and LES MILLS SPRINT™ are both high-intensity workouts for people who are looking to really take their fitness to the next level. Pregnancy is not the time to be pushing your body to its limits.
All other LES MILLS™ programs are suitable for pregnant women. Simply listen to your instructor – they’ll help with options where needed.
Both BODYBALANCE™ and a low-impact version of LES MILLS TONE™ can be started for the first time during pregnancy as they use exercises that are appropriate for expectant mothers looking to make healthy lifestyle changes. During BODYBALANCE try to wriggle through your poses and make certain you are not too aggressive with your stretches – the hormones released during pregnancy can loosen up your joints. Stop immediately if you ever feel dizzy.
If you’re keen to maintain muscle tone during pregnancy BODYPUMP™ is a great option, as it uses lighter weights and a reduced range of motion compared to other resistance training modalities. When it is no longer comfortable to lie flat on your back in a BODYPUMP workout turn your bench into an incline bench by stacking more risers at one end (your instructor will show you how to do this).
Working your core in LES MILLS CORE™ should be safe in the first and second trimester and has been shown to minimize disruption of the abdominal wall during pregnancy, but there are a few adjustments you should make when you can. When it’s no longer comfortable to lie flat on your back you should switch to working your abs with 4-point kneeling, supporting yourself on your elbows (ensuring you keep the chest lifted) or rolling over to do hover or plank.
If you’ve already been doing BODYATTACK™ and BODYSTEP™ it should be safe to continue while pregnant, but stick to the low-impact options. During BODYSTEP, decrease the number of risers you use and make sure you have a stable base of support by ensuring your foot is always planted firmly on the step and keeping a slightly wider base of support.
During RPM™ you should modify the intensity by taking regular breaks, reducing resistance and avoiding the standing positions as you feel the need to.