(If you have been advised by your midwife or doctor to hold off on exercising, then you need to listen to them until they give you the green light ‘GO’. )
Setting Personal Bests During Pregnancy???
The other day we reposted a video of a pregnant woman that hit a PR in her front squat. There was lots of action on our social media platforms as a result. Many of the comments were positive and uplifting. However, there were also many questions and concerns. There were actually no negative comments, just questions. Woohoo!
Many women and their partners are fed a lot of misinformation or what I like to call “safe bets.” Some women are instructed to keep the weights at 50-75%, while other women are instructed not to lift anything over a certain amount or squat below parallel. Other women are instructed to keep things "moderate." And yes, some are still told to keep their heart rate within a certain limit.
Here’s what I do: QUESTION EVERYTHING!
A lot of the “safe bets” or word vomit we are fed seems to be passed on from mouth to mouth like the game of telephone. A lot of the guidelines are made up just to cover their (healthcare provider) butts. So with that please-don’t-hold-me-accountable-for-anything mentality many instruct their clients or patients to be overly cautious.
Fortunately, we live in a world in which Google is a few taps away or a consult with a coach or an expert in a field can be set up immediately. I encourage you to QUESTION EVERYTHING. Remember, you are in charge of your body. If you think the weight limit or the mileage you were given is bullshit, then go out and get educated. Ask Why! Or, Ask Us!
Nearly 95% of pregnancies go off without a hitch. However, only in our country are we TAUGHT to fear pregnancy, labor and delivery, and forget all about the woman in the postpartum phase (which is a whole other blog). Yes, there are those few pregnancies that need medical intervention early on or in labor and delivery. But, for the majority, our bodies know what to do and will get the job done.
Continuing to work out or starting a functional fitness workout program is ideal for mom and baby. If you have a regular workout routine or schedule that you did prior to pregnancy, then most likely, you will just have to make a few modifications along the way. If you are new to the workout scene, then I advise getting with a BirthFIT coach or experienced trainer or physio to start with one or two sessions a week. Learn proper biomechanics and ease into a workout schedule that works for you.
Yes, people go into mild shock when they see a pregnant woman lifting a barbell, even if it’s a 15lb barbell with a 10lb plate on either side (totaling 35lbs). Yet, when I question people about the weights and/or intensity, there only legitimate concern is: the fear that the woman may go into labor early or rupture something. The people with this fear are always the ones that are not pregnant, do not workout, and/or do not care to actually know the truth.
Research has proven that while pregnant and training, there is no evidence that a woman will increase the chances of rupturing her membranes or go into early labor (Clapp 2012). This still appears to be true if the woman is working out more than she did prior to pregnancy.
In his book Exercising Through Pregnancy, Dr. Clapp writes that there is no suggestion that continuing regular exercise during pregnancy increases the incidence of delivering early enough to cause a problem related to prematurity for the baby (prior to 37 weeks). He also states that a woman, who continues regular, sustained exercise until the onset of labor usually delivers five to seven days earlier than a woman with an active lifestyle who does not exercise regularly.
By continuing to train throughout your pregnancy, you are going to GET BETTER. In fact, you are going to be a better version of yourself than you were the previous day. You will continue to build muscle mass, enhance your proprioceptive abilities, increase your anaerobic and aerobic conditioning, while also mentally preparing one workout at a time for the birth of your child. As a result, personal records may be shattered along the way and new personal bests may be set.
- Listen to your body morning, noon, and night.
- Keep a workout journal to log your weights and time domains.
- Check in with baby prior to the workout and 30 minutes after workout.
- Hydrate and Recover. Seriously, nourish your body and soul.
- Take a minimum of 2 rest days a week.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. If we don’t know the answer, we will help you find the answer!
-Lindsey Mathews, DC