Pregnancy is a marathon – and delivery is the sprint at the end.
We are ALL ‘fit’ enough for the sprint. We are not training for birth, but for the life that comes after it.
We want to train for the life we want to live postpartum.
This means that we consider our core and pelvic floor throughout pregnancy as a stressed, hard working system. We do not need to add to this stress in an unproductive way.
Exercise in Pregnancy is:
Safe to continue- and it’s not what we are doing, but how we are doing it that matters most.
Hugely beneficial physically and mentally.
Safe to begin during pregnancy.*
*If there are no contraindications noted by your healthcare provider.
It is about maintaining the movement patterns you have worked hard to learn in your activity/sport of choice – while managing and considering the huge changes your body is experiencing.
The HUGE Changes
Our belly grows- hey major shift to our centre of gravity!
Hips widen, and sometimes take on an external rotation – the ‘waddle’ feeling.
Ribs widen and ‘flare’ to accommodate the growth of baby.
Our linea alba (the line between our 6 pack abs) thins and stretches to accommodate growth (this is called diastasis recti and occurs in 100% of pregnancies).
Our pelvis shifts (tilts forward or back to balance out the changes to our centre of gravity) – this takes time and (sometimes mindful) awareness to shift back to neutral postpartum.
Our joints may feel more laxity in movement- reducing our feeling of stability.
The arches in our feet can ‘flatten’ or shift to accommodate changes in hips and centre of gravity changes.
Our glutes can become less active due to the postural shifts we experience.
Hamstrings can become more difficult to ‘turn on’ in movements and may need attention to strengthen.
Our abdominal muscles stretch to 4x their length during pregnancy – and take time to return to their neutral length postpartum.
Our pelvic floor is consistently under stress as baby is sitting on these muscles – and gaining weight rapidly throughout your pregnancy!
All of this leads to a stretched, disengaged system in our core and pelvic floor.
It makes good sense to consider these incredible changes to our body as we look at exercise and movement in pregnancy.
Can we do what we’ve always done?
But its likely not the best course of action.
Should we limit our heart rate to 140BPM or our lifts to 20lbs and under?
No. This is old news and not supported by research. In fact, your toddler, infant car seat or stroller probably weighs 20lbs + and you’ll need to feel capable to lift these things in short order postpartum!
We need to train for the life we live – and the one we’re working towards.
We can learn how to leverage our breath to support our movements, exercise and symptoms in movement (incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, diastasis).
We can learn how to adapt movements for where we are at right now.
We can learn to leverage our drive, and control what we can in pregnancy.
We can learn to de-load our exercise intensity, volume and load over time.
We can learn to leave ego behind, and support the body you’re in right now.
We can learn to listen to our body for real. Pregnancy is not the time to ‘push through’, nor is it the time to pull back completely.
We can learn how to adapt our posture, tension and movements to suit your “now.”