Are your partner, family, friends and professionals fully on board with your decision to stay fit during your pregnancy?
Women have often told us they’d like to exercise during pregnancy but their partner is concerned that exercise might damage ‘his baby’ and would prefer them to ‘take it easy’. Or that they’ve been discouraged from using the gym because the instructor is anxious about insurance risks if a pregnant women is using the equipment. Sometimes it’s friends and family who make negative and generally ill-informed comments, surprised that anyone should choose to exercise throughout their pregnancy.
Here’s the reassurance you need to make sure your support network supports you!
Is your partner anxious about the baby ‘bouncing around’ during vigorous exercise?
Research undertaken on fetal response to maternal exercise showed no negative outcomes for the baby, only the positive benefit of increased blood flow via the umbilical cord. Despite the movement of your bump during exercise, your baby is unlikely to change position. If you or your partner are concerned, the easy answer to minimise bump movement is to hold it securely with appropriate supportive maternity exercise wear.
Have people expressed concerns about ‘protecting your baby’ during exercise and the ‘risks’ you’re taking?
Of course it’s important to exercise safely and we don’t recommend contact sports or exercise where there is an increased risk of falling and injuring yourself – and if weight lifting is your preference, modify your routine as necessary to avoid any risk of weights falling on your abdomen.
However…. Mother Nature is already taking the protection of your baby seriously. Your baby is safely tucked up behind the thickened wall of your uterus and rocked gently in amniotic fluid and with the added cushion of your placenta. Not to mention your own bone structure providing a strong and safe environment for your baby.
Has your instructor expressed concern about you using gym equipment?
Sounds like it’s time for them to improve their training and understanding – not time for you to leave the gym! Remind them that women who give up exercise during pregnancy are less likely to head back to the gym after pregnancy and statistically they might lose you as a client for up to FOUR years. Point them in the direction of REPs who offer a full programme of training for fitness instructors, including pre and postnatal fitness training courses.
Is your health professional worried about your exercise programme?
Are they worried about your health or the health of your baby? In which case of course you must take their advice. Or are they simply telling you vaguely that you should ‘take it easy’? In which case you should recognise what ‘take it easy’ means for you. If you regularly run marathons, ‘taking it easy’ might mean slowing down to a half marathon, easing up to 10kms or recognising that speed and time has no importance during pregnancy. If you lift weights, ‘taking it easy’ will mean lighter weights and more repetitions, not ditching the gym in favour of the couch.
Are your friends and family querying your decision to exercise during pregnancy?
Many women are undermined by negative comments about pregnancy exercise – which is why we launched the ‘Pregnant Not Powerless’ campaign. FittaMamma is determined to support women in their decision to stay active during pregnancy. Our range of motivational maternity exercise vests are designed for you to wear with pride! Flaunt your active pregnancy, don’t be deterred by naysayers!
Don’t lose sight of the fact that exercise is good for you and good for your baby!
Exercise improves your strength, stamina and flexibility – it raises your mood as well as your heartbeat and helps you to sleep better at night. Your pregnancy exercise routine is preparing you for labour and will boost your recovery period afterwards, giving you the strength you need to look after your baby. Women who exercise throughout their pregnancy are less likely to suffer from discomforts such as backache and varicose veins. And babies born to Mammas who exercise develop faster, are less chubby at birth and more likely to develop an exercise habit themselves as they grow older.