A huge population we have the pleasure to look after are the ‘ladies that lift.’ Each woman we look after is on their own journey, we will often care for those who are pre, during or post partum.

For a long time there has been a stigma (or lack of information) for a while around training and pregnancy.

Current guidelines are definitely in favour of maintaining movement and encourage moderate intensity exercise during pregnancy as well as maintenance of strength in the pregnant population. Although these guidelines have been created based on limited research in this particular area we strongly advise ALWAYS BE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE TEAM.

Current guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for general populations is:

  • 150 hours of physical activity of moderate intensity (30 minutes, 5x per week).

  • 2x strength  sessions/wk.

This can be carried over to those who are pregnant.  The goal here is maintenance not gains!

What is MODERATE intensity. Using rates of perceived exertion (RPE’s) as a general guide (subjective grading of one’s physical activity) can be very beneficial. Ideally, moderate intensity in layman terms translates to being able to maintain a conversation during exercise without taking excessive breaths (talk test).

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Strength training will improve the body’s resiliency to the ever changing demands on the body during the pregnancy. Better coping from not just the physical, but also the mental and emotional demands of pregnancy. Better load management and strength training has been issued as a first line care approach in a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions and presentations such as:

  • Low back pain (90% of mothers reported!!!),

  • Upper back pain and

  • Pelvic girdle pain which are very common amongst the pregnant population.

In a nutshell, we understand it is safe to continue the style of training you have been exposed to prior to pregnancy and this will influence what you do during.

And if you’re not doing anything prior, it is strongly suggested to do some form of physical activity. All physical activity should then be modified to that individual based on stages of pregnancy to avoid things such as overheating and changed based on low vs high risk pregnancies. Most importantly, it should be fun and enjoyable!

Last but not least… PELVIC FLOOR. It is always highly recommended to commence the retraining. Please stay tuned for my next blog regarding the pelvic floor and the core.

In summary, physical activity is well documented to be beneficial for the quality of life in the general population’s as well as pregnant mothers (advantageous for both mother and baby).

To finish, it is always advised to consult your health care team prior to engaging in physical activity.