By: Natasha Lowe Osho MD FACOG, NASM CPT, Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist
“I’m pregnant and I want to exercise, but I’m not sure what to do and how to do it safely.” I am sure many of you have said the exact same thing. In fact, a search of Google will bring up plenty of exercise videos that are supposed to be safe for pregnancy. However, there are no “one size fits all” when it comes to prenatal exercise programs. If you want to exercise during pregnancy, here are 5 fantastic reasons why you should consider hiring a prenatal certified trainer/instructor.
Reason #1: We have a passion for working with pregnant moms.
Just like anyone who is passionate about their work, someone who takes the time and effort to become prenatal/postpartum certified has a heart for working with this incredibly special population. We consider ourselves experts at providing programs and modifications for pregnant moms. We understand that your body needs to be its strongest for labor and delivery, and we take pride in preparing you for this event.
Reason #2: We know which exercises to avoid.
Pregnancy affects every woman differently, and these differences require attention to detail and appropriate modifications. However, there are some exercises that should be avoided. For example, we are aware of the possible effect of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is great for the body’s preparation for delivery, but it can make you unsteady and more prone to falls. As a prenatal certified trainer, we know to avoid performing movements on unsteady surfaces. Also, we are aware that if a client comes to a session with hip discomfort, this may not be a good day to do single leg exercises such as walking lunges. Maybe, a better alternative would be a modified squat.
Reason #3: We know how to appropriately modify exercises throughout the pregnancy.
These modifications can involve the type of equipment used or the exercise itself. For example, the first and second trimesters are great times for using a barbell. However, as you enter the late second and early third trimester, you may need to switch to dumbbells or resistance bands due to your growing belly. Another common modification is to avoid lying on the back for longs periods of time. Some women are better able to tolerate this than others, but whenever you lie flat on your back it can reduce the amount of blood flow to your heart which, in turn, reduces the amount of blood flow to the baby.
Reason #4: We understand how to safely monitor exercise intensity.
During pregnancy, your heart rate can increase by 10-20% in the second and third trimester when doing normal activity. Due to this, heart rate monitors are not the best way to determine exercise intensity. The simplest and easiest way to monitor exercise intensity is the “Talk Test.” I like to talk and engage my clients during our sessions. This allows us to get to know each other better, but it provides me with valuable information in terms of their level of exertion. If my client can speak in full sentences, I know she is not doing too much. If the answers are only 1-2 words, then I know it’s time to decrease the intensity.
Reason #5: We understand which exercises provide the most benefit during pregnancy.
Consider how a golfer trains differently than a basketball player. Pregnancy is a unique time in life that requires specific training. Having an extra focus on training your legs, hips, back, and core will be beneficial for your labor and delivery. We can even choose exercises to help build strength and stamina for your desired birthing position.
As always, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy. Once you have been cleared to start exercising, I hope you will remember these 5 reasons why you should hire a prenatal certified trainer.
Are you interested in becoming certified as a prenatal fitness specialist? I recommend PROnatal Fitness. Click HERE for more information. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.