Personal trainer Ange Noy has recently had her first child and has been trying to maintain her fitness level as best as possible while navigating sometimes conflicting advice from her endocrinologist, GP, midwife, family, friends, assorted fitness instructors, online forums and phone apps. When you fall pregnant, how do you keep fit while doing what’s best for baby?
I’m not gonna lie; those final few weeks were tough. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, pregnancy really takes it out on you! From your exponentially growing belly, to sore swollen feet, little elbows pushing into your ribcage, nighttime sleeping issues, the feeling of constant pressure on your bladder and pelvic region, the desire to just rest to relieve the discomfort in the last weeks leading up to the birth far outweighs the desire to hit the gym. Of course it’s all worth it in the end 😉
While I did continue safely going to the gym up until the week before giving birth, that final week I was very much ready to sit down, put my feet up and play the waiting game for bubs to arrive. Up until that point I was also doing my final assessments for a yoga teachers’ training course and came out the other end feeling very tired.
Although it was all manageable, in retrospect I do wish I’d taken more time off work and college towards the end. Especially because this was my first baby and no matter how much advice people give you, there is not really any way to know what to expect.
The most important things to remember
- Your health and baby’s health come first. No exceptions!
- If doctors give you specific advice regarding diet or exercise, listen to them.
- Resist the urge to play Doctor Google. If you have health concerns or questions about your exercise routine, ask your doctor, midwife or a fitness professional before turning to the internet for research. Websites will always end up showing you worst case scenarios or give you advice specific to someone else’s situation.
- Listen to your body, if you are tired and need to rest, have a nap and put your feet up. If squats and lunges place too much pressure in your pelvis, reduce your range or leave them out of your workouts. This is not the time to ‘just push through’.
- Consider giving yourself more than just a few weeks of work before baby’s due date. The due date is always calculated to 40 weeks. I had my baby at 38 weeks after just one week of time to rest which didn’t feel like enough! This is a mistake a number of my friends have also made, and all have wished they allowed themselves more time off in the leadup to baby’s arrival.
- Tone down your exercise regime and simply concentrate on keeping active. This may mean just doing a few 15-minute walks, some gentle stretching and pelvic floor exercises each day.
- I know I said it above, but I cannot stress how important pelvic floor exercises are. Make them part of your daily routine!
- Gentle walking can help baby ‘drop’ into position and getting on your hands and knees on all fours is thought to help rotate a baby from a posterior position to a more ideal anterior position. Having said that, I was getting in plenty of walking alongside doing a yoga course for most of my pregnancy (and spent most of the yoga classes in safe positions – notably cat/cow stretch on all fours). My bubs persisted in remaining posterior and didn’t drop until the last minute!
Image / NZ Real Health