Training During Pregnancy:

The lady you see in the picture with me is Rebecca.

We’ve been training together for 5 years now which makes her my longest term and most loyal client (we go way back to when I was finding my personal training feet at Ben Dunne Sandyford!).

To say she is far more than just a “client” to me would be a massive understatement.

On a personal level – She’s a truly wonderful, warm and inspirational person. Anybody who knows her has nothing but glowing things to say about her and it’s very easy to see why.

On a personal training level – well a very considerable portion of my most loyal and committed clientele are direct contacts of hers, be it family or friends. Without her support, It’s quite possible I wouldn’t be in the position to make a living doing something I love and am truly passionate about. To say I am grateful would be another massive understatement!

I am fortunate enough to have just trained Rebecca through her third pregnancy (We also trained together throughout her second). She has just taken her training leave deep into her third trimester at 33 weeks so I thought this would be a fitting time to post some content on the topic.

The following guidelines come from the American College Sports Medicine (ACSM). For anybody training with any special clinical considerations, these are the guys to do your research with. Guidelines aren’t actually that different during pregnancy but there are a few specifics to take into account…

– Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy and has powerful health benefits for mother and baby

– Exercise should be done 3 / 4 days per week. Training during pregnancy significantly increases likelihood of healthy birth weight for baby.

– Both Aerobic and Resistance exercise are recommended

– Moderate intensity exercise is recommended for girls who are physically active. I used the R.P.E (Rate of Perceived exertion) scale with Rebecca. a very easy and practical method to measure difficulty. Get someone to do an exercise, ask how difficult it was on a scale of 1 – 10. Because Rebecca is super fit I usually targeted a 7 or 8.

– For women who are physically active but aren’t super fit, you could go a bit lower and still experience health benefits for mother and baby.

– For women who are sedentary, begin with low intensity aerobic exercise which can be gradually increased after first trimester (risks of pregnancy are lower after this time).

– Avoid exercising in supine position (lying on back, facing up) after 16 weeks to ensure venous flow obstruction does not occur.

– During pregnancy the body secretes more elastin, a hormone which makes you more flexible so be careful not to over stretch as this may lead to injury.

– Avoid exercising in hot, humid conditions.

– Metabolic demand increases by up to approx 300kcal. Caloric intake should be adjusted accordingly.

Because Rebecca trained so far into her pregnancy she has been able to maintain excellent muscle tone in her arms and legs throughout.

The tummy got a little bit bigger but unfortunately this is unavoidable! 🤣

Her muscles will be strong on the day of child birth which will obviously be very helpful!

When she reruns to training afterwards, she will have much less ground to catch up on in relation to her health and fitness because she trained throughout her pregnancy.

As I said at the top of the article, she really is inspirational and I believe she is setting an excellent example.

So if your a woman reading this and pregnancy is on your radar, I’d strongly encourage you to exercise (intelligently!) throughout it.

If your currently physically active, that’s great, keep up the good work when your pregnant 👌

If your current physical activity levels aren’t great, then now is the time to start. It will make exercise a whole lot more manageable when you do become pregnant!

Trust me, your body and baby will thank you for it…..well maybe not the baby 😝

Thanks for reading,

Paul Taylor PT

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