On April 22, 2015, Nikki Boswell, Women’s & Children’s Fitness Expert held a Q&A session and below is the summary of questions and answers:
Q: What are some good stretch ideas to do when pregnant to help with common aches and pains like hip pain, swollen ankles and legs etc?
A: There are so many wonderful stretches out there to help with aches and pains. I like to start at the feet and legs and work all the way up to the neck.
Try some hamstring stretches (simply reaching your toes is a good one) to help with back pain and pressing your palms towards the floor and tipping your head to the opposite side to release your neck.
Placing one foot onto the opposite knee (while sitting on the floor) is also a good way to release the glutes, hips and hamstrings (it’s one of my faves).
Q: I know last time when you were with us there were a lot of questions about which exercises or positions to avoid during pregnancy – could you give us a recap on what are the key things to avoid and why during pregnancy?
A: Sure, the very quick version is to just keep doing what you are doing – that is, pregnancy is a time to maintain fitness and prepare for birth not time to achieve new fitness goals.
Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester, (including crunches) avoid exercises that have the risk of physical injury such as high impact sports, be aware of your changing centre of gravity and work within its limits, listen to your body and rest when you need… I think that has covered it but if anything else pops to mind I’ll add it in.
Q: I have been really ill for the past two weeks and have therefore done no exercise at all. I was just wondering whether it will be ok for me to get back to being fairly active after being ill, or if I have to slowly build back up again so I don’t shock my body? Hope that makes sense.
A: You really just need to listen to your body. Without knowing your training history, pregnancy history etc I would simply say there is no need to rush, let your body get back to good health and just do some light exercise as you feel up to it.
Q: I have been advised to tone it down a little bit when at the gym. What are some steady workouts I can do to make labour a little smoother?
A: Without knowing exactly what your gym routine consists of the general recommendations are to keep your heart rate below 75% of your pre pregnancy max and keep your weights about 40 -60% if your 1RM and focus on higher reps (12 -15). Yoga is such a great exercise of strength and toning too – it really allows you to modify for both pregnancy and your own abilities
Q: Also a few ladies over the last week or so have asked about exercise after a c-section when to start and what to start with etc?
A: After a c-section get your doctor’s approval. There are many variables with pregnancy and recovery that need to be accounted for. Speak to your medical team at your 6 week check up for advice.
Q: I am fascinated by how much my heart rate rises with such small movements in the exercises I do in the new Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Eating & Exercise Plan. Can you explain how it is that these beautiful yoga type moves get my blood pumping so effectively?
A: I remember in the early stages of my first pregnancy being completely exhausted by things that I had previously done with so much ease! It’s amazing and it’s largely to do with the changes in hormones and blood volume. I have heard the analogy that being pregnant is physically equivalent to climbing a mountain. Yoga is great as the gentle stretching a strengthening helps strengthen deep stabolising muscles and assists to move nutrients and waste around the body via the lymphatic system.
Q: If I’m finding it hard to fit exercise into every day but I’m pretty active e.g. I walk to the shops, do the housework, run around quite a bit – do these things count as exercise or only setting aside dedicated exercise time should be counted?
A: Those things definitely count as exercise (fortunately for us busy mums/mums-to-be). The pre-pregancy recommendation of 150mins moderate activity per week still stands during pregnancy. Your body can’t tell the difference between setting aside 30mins to walk around the block to increase your heart rate and vacuuming and sweeping for 30mins at the same intensity.
Q: It was asked today whether riding a stationary bike was okay in pregnancy? I know a bike is a no no for the fall risk but is a stationary one okay?
A: As long as there are no (unusual) risks with the pregnancy it should be fine. Again keep the heart rate at the ideal 75% level, be careful on mounting and dismounting, and if at any stage it becomes uncomfortable or you feel any pain, stop and speak with your doctor.
Q: Is the Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD safe to do while pregnant?
A: Of course, The Healthy Mummy range is specifically designed to assist women keep active, safely, during and after pregnancy. Always check with your doctors before starting a new routine and as I said early, remember you are not trying to achieve new goals in pregnancy, just promote a healthy mum, bub, labour and recovery.
Q: I think your last comment has answered my question but I have been maintaining my exercise but trying to tone it down to suit my growing body. I went for a light jog on Sunday with my husband and felt some pain after. Almost as though my belly wasn’t supported and was really heavy. Should I be stopping the jogging?
A: I would definitely hold off on the running if you feel pain. Tell your Doctor what you experienced and what your concerns are. I know many women can comfortably continue to run/jog through pregnancy but I myself didn’t as I felt it wasn’t right for me.
Q: Having smaller meals throughout the day is often better for some pregnant women to help with feelings of sickness etc. So is having the Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie as a snack in between main meals a good thing after some exercise? And if so why would you as a professional recommend the smoothie?
A: It is definitely a good strategy to consume small regular meals if you suffer from morning sickness or even heart burn. The Healthy Mummy Smoothie could be used to assist during morning sickness by providing fluids as well as key pregnancy nutrients such as iron, iodine and folate, that can be consumes in small, regular portions which are often more settling on a nauseated stomach than a large meal.
Q: What would be your top exercise for anyone who is keen to have a healthy pregnancy but previous to conception hasn’t been exercising?
A: My top exercise would be whatever they really enjoy (that is low impact and within their capabilities). I really enjoy swimming; it ticks all the requirements to support a healthy pregnancy being low impact and the water adds extra support around a growing tummy and joints. If swimming laps aren’t your cup of tea you could try water aerobics, aqua zumba or just a gentle paddle or walk in the water to help relieve any aches and pains.
Q: I have always had pretty cruddy upper back strength. I know that it is really important for new mums to build up that strength to support carrying a baby and breastfeeding. What are some good exercises I can be doing to build up these important muscles?
A: Again hitting the pool is great! But there are so many options. I am also a big fan of yoga (if you couldn’t tell – although I don’t do nearly enough myself). Your body weight is a great, versatile resistance that can be used in so many ways and modified to support pregnancy. I know it sounds strange but crawling or anything from a crawling (neutral hands and knees) position is great for back/core strength as well as the upper body.
Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet,taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..
Our plans promote a health weight gain in pregnancy to benefit the mother & baby and you can read more on this here
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