Firstly, I’d like to express my excitement and joy at the thought of what this precious time of your life means and will become. It is my honour to help advise and guide you towards optimizing your fitness during this sometimes challenging and yet very rewarding chapter of your life.
Guidelines for exercising during pregnancy are as follows:
A pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters: the first trimester is from week 1 to the end of week 12; the second trimester is from week 13 to the end of week 26; and the third trimester is from week 27 to the end of the pregnancy.
During your first Trimester: if you were previously living an active lifestyle, then you can continue as per normal. If, however, you were sedentary prior to falling pregnant, then start slowly with your exercise routine and build up gradually.
There are no specific exercises that must be avoided during the first trimester, so just use your common sense and be gentle and kind to your body – do what feels good.
From the start of the second trimester onwards: For some women, pregnancy can cause abdominal separation, also called diastasis recti. It is a condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominis, the so called ‘six-pack’ muscles, spread apart at the stomach midline (the linea alba). During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles will separate anyway in order to make space for the growing foetus, and usually these muscles knit back together post birth. Over-exercising the abdominal muscles during the second and third trimesters can increase your chance of developing diastasis recti (in some cases, the muscles do not knit back together), therefore, we recommend avoiding the following exercises during this period:
Avoid loaded flexion exercises, for example “crunches”, sit-ups, “V-sit” or yoga Boat Pose, Pilates Roll- ups, Pilates Teasers, certain inverted exercises such as yoga Shoulder stand, Pilates Roll-Over, etc. Anything that bends the spine forwards (spinal flexion) by contracting the abdominals, especially with speed and load (added resistance or weights).