The post is longer because there is not much written on how female athletes train during pregnancy. When I found out about my pregnancy I was looking for informations on training and exercise for athletes and not much informations were provided…
Pregnancy was a completely new world to me, it scared me a bit, although I wanted it so much as becoming pregnant for an athlete is not always easy.
I am a scientist so I wanted to prepare for this pregnancy journey armed with facts and knowledge that would make it a healthy and happy journey. I did not want to rely on pregnancy forums or pop-up web pages.
I knew I wanted an active pregnancy as I am sports addict and sport has been a part of my life since I could walk. Movement makes me feel good and it is a source of inspiration for everything I do. I knew I would have to make changes in my workout programme so seeking a professional help was a must. During pregnancy mistakes are not allowed. Research on pregnant women is limited as it is risky, so it was like my own little research on pregnancy exercise. I ordered some books on pregnancy workout, I searched for scientific articles and scheduled a meeting with coach Simon. Before starting the programme I obtained a positive opinion from my healthcare provider. (OG). The first three months are the most “critical” so being a little more cautious at the beginning is not be a bad idea. I did not rely much on other mom’s reports as every pregnancy is different and each woman is unique so individual approach is the safest.
Before pregnancy I trained in gym 3 or more times per week, because for me this is the best recipe to stay injury free despite having high volume and intensity of training. How much and how often a pregnant woman should lift? There are not straight forward answers to this question, opinions are mixed and there is not much research on this topic. It is generally agreed that pregnant women should continue exercising but with adjustments. Simon worked with me before pregnancy, he knows my skills, knows how and how much I train, knows that I don’t like the word rest…
At the beginning we analysed my previous workouts and set a provisional line of trainings: pelvic stability, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, strengthening the muscles I will need after delivery, maintaining good posture and muscle tone were some of the objectives. As I used to have three strength session per week, about 5 aerobic sessions (running, swimming, cycling, hiking) and yoga sessions. I kept doing them all. I adapted the activities to how I felt as it is impossible to predict how each day during pregnancy will feel. Simon and I planned out weekly training plans so we could easily adjust weights and reps. The quality of execution and my sensation after training were the most important in setting the plan.
Even in month three when I experienced nausea and fatigue I continued training. In fact, that was the recipe to feel good for few hours a day. This has been dragging on me for the whole month, my energy levels were very low and I could sleep all day long. In the second trimester the energy level was really high, my workouts were filling me with positivity. In this period I still lifted “heavy” but with awareness of activating the key muscles that protect me and the baby. In the third trimester I kept the training frequency, gradually decreased the weights and increased the repetitions. At the end of pregnancy, I felt strong, I had no pain (not even the slightest back pain that is so common pregnancy), I felt full of energy and my mood was at the top level… for me this was one of the most beautiful period in my life.
To sum up, Simon chose the right exercises for me, at no point I felt pain or discomfort. I always felt safe and strong. Pregnant women should not lift is still pretty common opinion and I was warned so many times…I agree that lifting for another pregnant woman may not be appropriate although I am sure that there is some form of exercise that is suitable for her. … aafter all training hours and weights are not important at all; wellbeing and health state should guide you. I have managed to maintain balance between mind and body and can describe my pregnancy as pure joy. Thank you coach Simon 🙂
Till next time,