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Fit Mummy
Pregnancy and exercise






Exercise During Pregnancy has numerous benefits. Evidence of which, has been shown by multiple studies: 


  • Improved circulation may decrease the risk of varicose veins

  • Reduce fluid retention

  • Reduced swelling

  • Reduced leg cramps

  • Eased gastrointestinal discomforts

  • Reduced maternal weight gain

  • Enhanced muscular discomforts

  • Reduction in labour pain

  • Help to maintain fitness

  • Offset postural imbalances

  • Improved body awareness

  • Reduced risk of low back pain

  • Quicker post-natal recovery

  • Easier, shorter labours

  • Better self-image

  • Foetus more able to tolerate an intermittent oxygen delivery and hence better able to tolerate the labour period,

  • Babies tend to be easier to care for and are generally more alert

  • Improves the function size of the placenta

  • Improving maternal/foetal cardiorespiratory function

  • A woman who exercised prior to pregnancy, is better able to dissipate heat when she is pregnant that she could before she was pregnant

  • A women who are the most physically active in the pre-natal period have the lowest prevalence of gestational diabetes 


Pregnancy trimesters:


  • The first trimester is from 0 weeks to 13 weeks.

  • The second trimester is from 14 weeks to 27 weeks.

  • The third trimester is from 28 weeks to 40 weeks.


Each trimester is approximately 13 weeks and thus divides the 40 total weeks of pregnancy into three inter-connected phases that each has a new set of changes and challenges for the mother and unborn child. For example, it is common for mothers to experience fatigue during the first trimester, increased energy in the 2nd and fatigue again in the 3rd trimester.


Looking for pregnancy exercises or post natal fitness guidance in Lightwater, Windlesham, Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Ascot, Windsor, Virginia Water, Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley, Crowthorene, Bracknell, Guildford, Chobham, Weybridge and surrounding areas?


Whether you're new to exercise or experienced trainer my sessions with nutrition programmes will be effective, fun and tailored specifically to your needs. I facilitates your work out sessions by fitting around your busy scedule, meeting wherever is convenient for you .


I offer a precise programming guidelines during each trimester to ensure a safe and effective exercise programme and pregnancy.


Ensuring adequate hydration, wearing lightweight clothing that ‘breathes’ and avoiding exercising in very hot, humid environments when not acclimatised to such conditions.


Nutrition for the pre and post-natal client


The first and most basic step is to make sure that the you have a ‘balanced diet’ to begin with. If the mother-to-be is living on a nutrient poor diet with no real balance or method to it, there is no miracle food or supplement out there, which will suddenly prove to be a ‘cure all’ for both mother and unborn child. The mother’s diet should be continually evaluated toward ensuring optimum dietary content and habits.



Gestational diabetes mellitus can lead to Type II diabetes and obesity in mother and child.




  • monitoring blood sugar

  • exercise 2 h after eating

  • snack after

  • avoid fasting for 4h

  • weight gain likely. Total pregnancy  related weight gain in western society=24 - 33 pounds  (10-15kg) is considered normal. 


A good supporting (sports) bra is essential during exercise to prevent overstretching of the breast tissue.


The pregnant woman should be cautioned about the potential risks of falling and/or trauma to the unborn child if they participate in activities such as horseback riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics, football, rugby and scuba diving.


Postnatal: The post-natal period is often a difficult time in terms of maintaining the commitment to exercise. The ACOG (1994) recommend that women should avoid all physical stress for two weeks (i.e. ‘Don’t carry anything heavier than the baby’) and not resume full daily activities for a minimum of six weeks after delivery. It is also advised that those who delivered by Caesarean section should not exercise for twelve weeks after delivery to allow proper healing time. It is important, after birth, that the mother is cleared by a doctor before embarking on an exercise programme. 

Benefits of post-natal exercise:

  • ​improved posture

  • increased local muscular endurance increased stamina

  • increased energy

  • increased metabolic rate

  • increased weight loss

  • improved body image

  • increased self-confidence

  • reduced anxiety

  • training effect of pregnancy an improved respiratory function which carries over to the postnatal period most apparent 6-12 months postnatal.


Post-natal concerns: Exactly how long relaxin stays in the body is up for debate and will vary between mothers. Five months is often quoted although estimates vary from three months up to a year. In reality, the hormone can be present for as long as the mother is breast-feeding, which may be up to two years. The mother is the best judge and will know when she no longer ‘feels loose’. 


Exercise implications: maintenance stretching is strongly recommended and stretching to increase flexibility should be avoided for 16-20 weeks, when resistance training, adopt muscular endurance work and avoiding working to failure, avoid high impact activities for the first few months.


Injury from weak abdominals: It may take six weeks for muscles to fully recover or even longer if they were weak before pregnancy. Gentle abdominal exercises in the early post-natal period will be vital in encouraging this process. Tummy-tightening, pelvic tilting and lying and kneeling abdominal raises can be commenced immediately after the baby is born.


Breast-feeding: A point of caution here is that both breast-feeding and exercise are big fluid drains so to avoid dehydration, water intake around breast-feeding and exercise must be priority.

Other noteworthy points relating to breast-feeding and exercise are:

  • a good supporting (sport) bra is essential during exercise to prevent overstretching of the breast tissue

  • prone lying is inappropriate for early post-natal mothers

  • vigorous arm work may actually promote milk flow. Mothers should be aware of this to prevent any embarrassment. 


Lactic acid and breast milk: 

  • ​consider breast feeding before training

  • wait up to an hour after training before breast feeding to ensure milk of the best quality. This will also reduce the weight of the breast as well as avoiding any milk loss during training.

  • Be aware of vigorous arm work potentially promoting milk flow.


The abdominal muscles: As the belly grows through pregnancy, the abdominals are increasingly stretched and hence, will inevitably weaken. This is of concern for two main reasons: 

  • strong abdominals are needed to support the weight of the baby and to protect the back which is very vulnerable through pregnancy

  • strong abdominals will give the muscles of the uterus some extra help during delivery

The increased abdominal distention produced by the growing child, hormonal and biomechanical factors all contribute to decreased muscle tone and stretching of the abdominals which can often cause a splitting of the fascia (the linea alba) between the rectus abdominis muscles known as diastasis recti abdominis. This condition sounds more serious than it is but it can be troublesome, leading to an increased likelihood of backache during and after pregnancy. The condition is quite common and occurs in 66% of women in the third trimester. It has also been shown to persist for 12 weeks following delivery and in some cases even longer . The abdominals may regain tone and position depending on previous condition and post-natal exercise. Any potential diastasis recti can be determined via self check methods and is also completed by the nurse practitioner.


The pelvic floor muscles: act as a hammock to cradle and support the uterus, bladder, bowels and other pelvic organs. They form a figure of eight around the urethra, vagina and anus. During pregnancy the pelvic floor muscles can become weakened and dysfunctional. This can lead to urinary incontinence (leaking of urine), pelvic organ prolapse, haemorrhoids and other colonic-related issues. During labour and delivery, the pelvic floor must relax to allow the baby to move down the birth canal. Although, relaxin has increased its elasticity, the pelvic floor still has a tremendous amount of stretching to be done. Not only does a strong pelvic floor help keep urine and internal organs in but it will also help to push the baby out (it will also help the baby to turn). Research is showing that using exercises targeted at increasing the activation of the pelvic floor muscles can have a positive impact on issues such as urinary incontinence. There are some specific exercises that can be performed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. 

Pelvic floor exercises: It is important that the woman is made aware that these must be performed daily for the rest of her life and that she will not get the full benefits for about 6-8 weeks. 


Contraindications to exercise : Please fill out the                               if you wishing to exercise during pregnancy . If there is any doubt regarding the appropriateness of exercise, you will be referred to your GP.

There are four main contraindications that need evaluation prior to beginning or resuming exercise during pregnancy:

  • significant physical injury

  • an acute bout of illness or chronic underlying disease

  • the onset of persistent or recurrent localised pain

  • abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding


Absolute contraindications : should not train this individual: 

  • Haemodynamically significant heart disease

  • Restrictive lung disease

  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage

  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labour

  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding

  • Placenta praevia after 26 weeks gestation

  • Premature labour during the current pregnancy

  • Ruptured membranes

  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia).


Relative contraindications: this individuals requires special evaluationand supervision prior to and during exercise: 

  • Severe anaemia

  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia

  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia

  • Chronic bronchitis

  • Poorly controlled Type I diabetes

  • Extreme morbid obesity

  • Extreme underweight (BMI<12)

  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle

  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy

  • Poorly controlled hypertension/pre-eclampsia

  • Orthopaedic limitations

  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder

  • Poorly controlled thyroid disease

  • Heavy smoker


Warning Signs to stop exercising: 

  • vaginal bleeding

  • pain abdominal, chest, pelvic

  • palpitations

  • excessive shortness of breath

  • marked reduction in foetal activity

  • oral temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit

  • persistent nausea or vomiting

  • uterine contractions

  • dizziness

  • headache

  • chest pain

  • muscle weakness

  • calf pain or swelling (need to rule out thrombophlebitis)

  • pre-term labour

  • amniotic fluid leakage

You will need to stop exercising until the cause is ascertained. If you have any of the above it is vital that you discuss it with your mid-wife or GP.

Overtraining Signs: Mother: loss of motivation, fatigue, susceptibility to injury and common infections. Foetus: reduced foetal activity, a reduced growth rate over time.




pregnancy exercise lightwater surrey

First Trimester

Mermaid side bends

Sit on your right hip with knees bent to the left, left hand holding your left ankle. Reach your right arm overhead and lean to the left; hold for 1 breath, lifting your ribs and contracting your abs. Place your right hand firmly on the floor to the right and push into your hand. Lift your right hip off the floor, balancing on your right shin and top of foot, left leg straight and pressing into the foot. Then reach your left arm overhead and lean to the right as you squeeze the right side of your waist and tighten your abs [shown].Slowly return to the starting position and repeat sequence 4 to 8 times, then switch sides.


Second Trimester

2 point box

From Box position, kneel on all fours and place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your abdominals in, draw your shoulder blades back and down, and look down as you lift your right arm and left leg to torso height. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps each sides. Sit back on your heels between reps to rest if needed.

Third Trimester

Pelvic tilts

Get down on your hands and knees, wrists directly under shoulders and knees under hips. (If you have any wrist discomfort, place a rolled towel under your hands.) Inhale as you arch your back and tilt your tailbone up, then exhale as you tuck your tailbone under and round your back. Draw your abs in and contract your pelvic-floor muscles [shown], doing a Kegel by squeezing the vaginal muscles as if to stop the flow of urine. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps. Sit back on your heels between reps to rest if needed.

Slideshow: What Not to Eat When Pregnant

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