Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Exercises to Induce Labour

Can Exercise Help Start Labour?
I am constantly asked if there are any exercises I can do to help start labour? This question is often from mums who are in the last couple of weeks during their pregnancies or who are overdue.
I created this exercise circuit based on 15 years experience and it works! I have used exercises that relax the hip muscles encouraging baby to descend deeper into the pelvis.
If your baby is not in optimal fetal position then avoid deep squats and follow my Turn Your Baby program

Do the circuit 4-5 times a week after a 10-15minute walk. If walking is uncomfortable or painful then avoid.
Good Luck and let me know how you go with the exercises. Make sure you visit my website for your 12 week Post Pregnancy Exercise and Health program

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CrossFit During Pregnancy- is it Safe?

Can I CrossFit during Pregnancy?

When there is a new exercise phenomenon around there comes the question sooner rather than later which is- ‘Is this OK to do if I am pregnant?”

As a pre and post natal exercise specialist I will guide you through the ins and outs of CrossFitting during your pregnancy.

Let’s first have a quick look at CrossFit- CrossFit is a functional exercise program with the emphasis on intensity. I have based many of my own sessions over the past 2 years on using a similar format and enjoy putting my clients through challenging W.o.w sessions (They are my workouts of the week!).

Many of the main exercises CrossFitters do during a session are perfectly safe to do during a pregnancy and can have many benefits for a pregnant athlete example squats, lunges, and lifts. The 'functional' exercises use many muscle groups at once and demand good core strength and posture. The variety of the classes are motivating as sessions and exercises change frequently.

Here are my guidelines if you are CrossFitting during your Pregnancy

1: Take the intensity down and train at your 70-80% during pregnancy. This intensity is more than adequate and training at this intensity will not lead to any extra tiredness or fatigue. Intensity video guide-

2: When taking part in WODs think about technique rather than time. Rest more frequently in-between each exercise if you need to and rounds, especially in first and third Tri-Mesters

3: Joints become flexible due to the pregnancy hormones relaxin and progesterone so I wouldn’t advise stepping up or jumping on to high boxes after 15 weeks, you are much more likely to 'go over' on your ankle during your pregnancy.

4: Reduce height of any jumps but continue jumping until you feel uncomfortable you can normally continue with low side or frontal jumps until 30+ weeks.

5: Reduce your weights as and when you feel necessary stick to the 70-80% intensity rule of thumb when training during your pregnancy. Centre of gravity changes significantly from 20+ weeks this will demand changes to lifts and how weights are carried/lifted.

6: 'Kippings' and Chin ups: I have seen women do these in their third Tri-Mester but I would personally definitely not recommend. I didn’t feel comfortable doing these after 15 weeks and there are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t:-
1, Can increase round ligament pain
2, Can increase your pregnancy diastasis recti!  Avoid diastasis during pregnancy-

7: Avoid all frontal planks, press ups and crunches  after 14 weeks- these exercises will increase pregnancy diastasis recti- that’s abdominal separation if you haven’t heard that term before have a look at the post above.
8: Low Blood Pressure is a common symptom of pregnancy so you may want to watch exercises/circuits that have you standing up then exercising down on the ground. Burpees can send you dizzy and light-headed these may be best avoided.

9: Avoid exercises that place a high demand on both the upper and lower body at the same time. This can drive blood flow away from baby also making you feel dizzy and or faint:.

10: Handstands- Do with caution, this is an exercise suggested sometimes to do in late pregnancy to help turn a baby in to optimal foetal position. I am also owner of and I too tried handstands around 30+ weeks to try to turn my second baby but they were far too painful even in the pool, so beware! 

Above all listen to your body, you are your best training coach
Every women is different and depending on how fit and strong she is at the start of her pregnancy will determine the exercise she can do during her pregnancy.

Some women have been CrossFitting for years before pregnancy and what may look extreme from the outside may feel perfectly OK and easy to her, the Crossfitting female.

You should NEVER feel exhausted after a training session and you should always if you had to be able to continue exercising for a further 10-15 minutes.

Keep hydrated too!
Make sure you trust your trainer and coach. Pregnancy is no time to be 'prooving a point'.
Often women during their first pregnancy may feel pressured into holding a high level of fitness and may push themselves a little too hard. Based on my own experience, pregnancy is a time to slow down and enjoy moderate training!
I am not an affiliate of CrossFit I am a pre and post natal exercise specialist of more than 15 years.

For further information about exercising during a pregnancy and for specific pre and post natal exercise and health programs visit my website