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Guide posted by Coachbronze Lorraine S in Pregnancy and Exercise - Pregnant Fitness

Pregnancy Exercise:First Trimester

Weeks 5-14

Have you just found out that you are pregnant? Huge congratulations and welcome to the first trimester hormonal roller coaster ride and 24/7 hangover, without the party the night before!

In this article I can hopefully help and give you the answers to your many exercise questions that you have, now that you are pregnant! 

Exercising during your pregnancy is not only good for you but it is best for baby and in this next series of articles I will tell you in detail about all those benefits.

Miscarriage

Let’s get this over with first as it is a very common objection to exercising during pregnancy. Exercise has never been connected to causing miscarriage.But you need to be sensible it’s not the time to compete!

Think about your exercise, for example yesterday’s high box jumps will be better left out and instead opt to do lower jumps or alternative exercises.

It’s important that you try to maintain some level of exercise during this testing trimester, your body is used to exercising and you and your baby will benefit from it. Try not to worry if there are weeks when you don’t manage any exercise, this is normal and expected. You will get back into the swing of it once your hormones have settled from around weeks 11-14.

Cardio Vascular Changes

I know you felt fit just a couple of days ago but almost straight after that exciting positive test result you feel as though you can’t run as fast as you could last week!

In early pregnancy the increase in the pregnancy hormone progesterone stimulates breathing, which improves the transfer of gases to and from your growing baby. It is these changes that can make you feel short of breath even when you are not exercising but your lung function actually remains normal, you have not lost fitness.

Intensity of Exercise

Due to the Cardio-vascular changes it was once thought that you should not exceed 140 beats during exercise but this is not the case as the old guidelines have been up-dated and new ones are now advised. I have always advised clients to listen to their own body during pregnancy and this is your best exercising tool as this will help determine your exercise intensity and duration and will also help monitor pregnancy tiredness.

Every women is different and each mum-to-be will start her pregnancy off at a different fitness level than the next and will have probably reached that fitness level in many ways and through various types of training and sports.This is why you must LISTEN TO YOUR BODY as one women’s perception of hard is another women’s easy.

This is how you manage YOUR Intensity during pregnancy. First you don’t need to monitor your heart-rate, what you do need to do is exercise between 70-80% intensity. This intensity is where:

  • You are sweating lightly but you can still hold a conversation if needed.
  • You should always feel as though you could continue to exercise for a further 10-15minutes if you had to after a training session
  • You should never feel exhausted after exercise.

If you do exercise at intensity higher than 80% your exercise becomes uncomfortable very quickly. Your heart-rate and breathing will rapidly increase, forcing you to naturally slow down and even stop.

If you do have to stop to and catch your breath you have probably been exercising at too higher intensity and for too long. During my first pregnancy I could quite easily run and it felt comfortable. When I did track my heart-rate for research it would generally be between 150-160 beats per minute. This is why heart-rate should not be used as a guide as some women would not even feel as though they are exercising keeping their heart-rate below 140 beats.

Duration of Exercise

During the first trimester you can be plagued by nausea and pregnancy tiredness this may automatically decrease the duration of your daily and weekly exercise.

Now that you are pregnant your body is working 30% harder so a 40min run is equivalent to a 60min run non pregnant. I would suggest you reduce your weekly volume by 10-20% during your first trimester but if you are feeling well then you can continue to exercise daily.

Aim to eat every 2-3 hours even when you don’t feel like it, it will help reduce nausea and tiredness. Increase your water intake to 2-3 litres a day now that you are pregnant.

Sore Boobs!

This is probably one of the first real physical changes that you can see happen and wow can your breasts hurt and grow quickly in size. These changes alone can make you stop running or from enjoying your regular aerobics class.

You may need to consider low impact options if this tenderness is too painful; strength training is one of the best exercises to do during pregnancy along with spin classes and swimming.

I would suggest you invest in 2 good sports bras and wear them at the same time, this really helps.

When should I stop certain sports?

  • Ask yourself these questions about the sport/training you are doing
  • Does the activity pose any threat to you or your baby?
  • Does the activity require a base level of skill to be done safely?
  • Is the activity easily modified for pregnancy?
  • Does your health care provider support you taking part in your activity?
  • Do you continue to feel comfortable and safe with the activity as your pregnancy progresses?

The list below includes activities that may be unsafe as your pregnancy progresses

  • Downhill Skiing
  • High Altitude Sports
  • Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Horse riding
  • High Intensity or extreme endurance sports
  • Scuba Diving
  • Water Skiing

Keep in mind that your skill and fitness level play a large in determining whether an activity is safe. A woman skilled in horse riding may well be able to continue under her health provider’s advice. Listen to your body!

Click here for my guide to exercise in the second Trimester - http://tribesports.com/guides/pregnancy-exercise-second-trimester

Lorraine Scapens is the founder of http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz she has more than 20 years experience training pre and post natal clients. Pre and Post Pregnancy Exercise and Health Programs are available to purchase on the website. Follow on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pregnancyexerciseand Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mummytrainer/

If you feel any pain or discomfort whilst exercising, stop. If pain continues consult you L.M.C or G.P. The information included in this article has been written by Lorraine Scapens: She is not able to provide you with medical advice, information is used as guide. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for any injuries that may occur whilst training. 

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