MY PRE- AND POST-NATAL STORY
I always knew that if I was fortunate to get pregnant, I would carry on exercising, if I was medically fit to do so. In March 2016, we received the incredible news that we were pregnant and I felt excited about what my pregnancy would look like in terms of my own health and fitness. I was already an avid cross-fitter, and knew that was not going to change. I continued to go to classes, I focused on nutritious foods and keeping myself fit and strong.
The peer pressure for me to ‘sit down’ and do nothing was all around me, especially from my mum. I knew she was only looking out for me, but I also knew she did not know the amount of research that had been done around pregnancy and exercise, and that me stopping exercising would have worse consequences for me physically and mentally. So despite this peer pressure, I listened to my body, rested when I needed to and exercised when I wanted to. I took modifications in my exercises as I progressed through my trimesters, and stayed fit and strong and I never experienced back pain. I exercised right up until the day I went into hospital!
Due to a stubborn little girl, I had a caesarean section, much to my initial distress, as I had only heard negative things around this. However, looking back now, what I will say, is ignore everything you hear – we are all different and how we recover will be different to anyone else. I put my speedy recovery 100% down to my fitness throughout my pregnancy, and within a few days I was back up and walking and on the road to recovery.
Keeping fit and healthy is possible during your pregnancy – trust your body; trust that you’re doing the best for you and your child, and giving them the best start. I can help.
PRE AND POST NATAL FITNESS
Physical activity is known to be part of a healthy lifestyle and many women wish to pursue an active lifestyle during pregnancy as well as into the postnatal period, whether they are an experienced exerciser or a newcomer. Upon becoming pregnant, many regular exercisers wish to continue participating in their chosen activities without fear of harming themselves or their baby.
In past years, women were often urged to ‘take it easy’ and to cut back on or avoid exercise during pregnancy. In addition, the ever-changing nutritional advice made food choices very confusing for pregnant clients.
However, in more recent years there has been a surge of research, and strong evidence now exists that, not only can exercise be safe during pregnancy, it can actually have a positive effect on the health of both mum and baby. The UK National Health Service (https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/) now provides clear guidelines on dietary needs and supplementation during pregnancy and for those considering becoming pregnant.
Both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2017; https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/patient-leaflets/physical-activity-pregnancy/) and the American College of Sports Medicine (2017; https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/publications-files/pagac-papers/msse-d-18-00723.pdf?Status=Temp&sfvrsn=9080fe0f_2) list a number of benefits to be gained from participating in regular physical activity during pregnancy and into the postnatal period. These benefits can be both physical and psychological.