Pregnancy shouldn’t stop expectant mothers exercising. In fact, doing so through their pregnancy can be extremely beneficial.
The office of national statistics recorded that 731,213 births took place in 2018, just in the UK1.
So, what part can exercise play in a pregnancy journey and why is it important to tailor it for expectant mothers?
Women’s bodies are going through a number of biological and physical changes and, to reduce the chances of injury, exercise needs to be altered to effectively support your client through their pregnancy.
Unless an expectant mother is given specific medical advice telling her not to exercise or to limit the amount of exercise she does, then the more active and fit she is during pregnancy, the easier it will be for her to adapt to her changing shape and weight gain. It will also help the body to cope with labour and help in the journey to getting back into shape after birth2. The changes that occur in the body during pregnancy can cause conditions such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, backache, constipation, bloating and swelling3. While exercise can’t cure these conditions, they can reduce their risk and help during this period.
Similarly, if we look at the mental health aspect of pregnancy, at times it can be an extremely stressful period, however, exercise can play a role in helping your clients to manage their stress and anxiety levels4.
Furthermore, research has been done by East Carolina University into the effect on babies of mothers who exercise during pregnancy. They found that newborns whose mothers exercise during pregnancy may become physically co-ordinated a little earlier than other babies, according to a captivating new study of gestation, jogging and the varying ability of tiny infants to make a fist5.
So, if exercise is such a beneficial thing to expectant mothers how can you safely adjust your training to fit your pregnant client’s needs?
We have recently released two new courses that have been tailormade by Dianne Edmonds to provide you with the skillset to support clients through their pregnancy and labour. Dianne is a physiotherapist with more than 25 years of experience with pregnancy, postnatal and pelvic floor education, treatment and fitness programmes.
Our Ante Natal Core Training course explores techniques and methods to support your female clients to adjust their core training as their pregnancy progresses. Also, this course demonstrates how to help clients to tone their lengthening abdominals.
The Third Trimester: Training for Labour course builds upon this and provides you with a range of labour and birth preparation techniques, as well as the tools to assist clients in planning for their postnatal recovery.
In this extract from Ante Natal Core Training course Dianne discusses how the techniques taught in this course has benefited her client, Bobbie who is 40 weeks pregnant. They have been working together since she was 12 weeks pregnant.
In this extract from The Third Trimester: Training for Labour course Dianne demonstrates with the help of her client Bobbie, how to adapt hamstring stretches for pregnant clients and why this type of exercise is beneficial.
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- https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/vitalstatisticspopulationandhealthreferencetables, accessed on 7 January 2021.
- https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/, accessed on 7 January 2021.
- https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/exercise-and-fitness/exercise-during-pregnancy-what-know, accessed on 7 January 2021.
- https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/physical-activity-reduces-stress/#:~:text=It%20says%20that%20people%20who,a%20time%20and%20induce%20breathlessness, accessed on 7 January 2021.
- https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/well/move/exercise-during-pregnancy-may-have-lasting-benefits-for-babies.html, accessed on 7 January 2021.