Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weightlifting During Pregnancy- Is it Safe

More Controversy yet again surrounding women exercising during pregnancy!

There is huge debate over this women weightlifting. Compare this to what there was with Zara Phillips horseback riding and still competing just a few months ago!

I have wrote many guides on exercising during pregnancy and what you should do to train safely during your pregnancy:-
Horse Riding
Trimesters Guide: First Second Third

Should we be concerned for the health of this woman and her baby?

I think not, this women is an experienced weightlifter and it is her third pregnancy, I would assume she knows her body and her limits. I know as a mum of 3 myself that she will hopefully not push herself beyond her individual limits as her baby is much too important to do that.

Lea-Ann Ellison has been lifting weights for a number of years and I am sure she has modified her weights to suit during her pregnancy. Every women is different what looks hard and extreme for some is actually easy and moderate intensity for others.

The majority of the photographs that I have attached here she has excellent form and technique. There is no excessive hyperextension of the lumbar spine and she is not swaying her back putting pressure on weakened abdominal muscles.*

Some of the articles that have been wrote about Lea-Ann will make many women fear lifting weights and this is very misleading  Here is one example:

Yes women can lift weights, the average toddler is 12kg+! This is what really annoys me when doctors advise not to lift weights. As mums we have to lift weights not only our kids but the average basket of wet washing would be 10kg!

Holding breath to lift a could be deprived of oxygen I'm sorry but one of the safest exercises recommended to pregnant women is swimming where you hold your breath for longer than any lift would take you!

Your waters will break due to pressure? Exercise has not been proven to induce labour- Dr James F Clap III MD

 This weight looks like an 8kg Kettlebell a lot lighter than your average toddler! My clients swing weights like this 3 times a week during their pregnancies

 This is one of the exercises that I feel she is using too heavy a weight to maintain correct form and it is stressing her lower back muscles and obliques, she would be better off using a lesser weight for this one

 Perfect technique- no excessive lumbar extension of her lower back and Lea-Ann definitely doesn't look like she is straining herself. Without training I can easily press 30kg above my head with training I could lift heavier, remember what looks hard for one person is actually easy for another.

 Now I do not recommend Pull Ups during pregnancy. I did try during my third and they never felt comfortable I always found that they did put far too much pressure on the uterus. After 15+ weeks this exercise will increase diastasis recti-abdominal muscle separation and Lea-Ann has got separation of the abdominal muscles as I can assess this from the photographs. 
This separation may well have been caused by too much heavy lifting during her third trimester. I don't know how often she lifts and how much heavy lifting she does in each session. 

Personally I would never recommend this type of exercise in late pregnancy as it will increase diastasis recti. *Even with perfect technique this exercise stresses weakened abdominal muscles. There are many safe alternative exercises.

So is Weightlifting safe?
Yes it is but again listen to your own body and modify your training throughout your pregnancy. Lea-Ann is a very fit healthy mum, I do not recommend starting any new fitness regime during your pregnancy.
If you are weightlifting/CrossFitting I would suggest you change your lifts and weights as you progress into your third trimester. Read my guide to CrossFit during pregnancy if you are unsure: CrossFit

Please comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Twins Have Arrived!

Congratulations to Gemma and Jay!

The twins arrived safely via C section Tuesday 17th September 2013. We have followed Gemma during her pregnancy from the 7 week scan when they found out that they were expecting 2.

So what are they?......2 Beautiful GIRLS- Twin 1-6lb 1oz and Twin 2- 6lb 2oz.  I guessed the gender and exact weights of the girls correct! 

Gemma looks totally amazing soon after her operation and managed skin to skin with both her daughters to bond with them. How beautiful is the photo and how cute are they?

Skin to skin contact is possible with your baby after a section you just need to make sure you talk to your DR. on what you want post the birth and safe delivery of your little one(s). 

Lets hope Gemma recovers quickly, rests as much as she can whilst in hospital and that she enjoys being a first time mum! Gemma is managing to tandem feed already, go supermum

Look out for blogs following Gemma's recovery post the birth of her beautiful angels 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Twin Pregnancy- Third Trimester Exercise and Wellness

We have followed Gemma since April 2013 during her twin pregnancy! Now at 37 weeks the babies will be here very soon.

Throughout the majority of her pregnancy Gemma has been so lucky in that she has felt absolutely fine and had no sickness or fatigue. In fact it was only on her last personal training session with me just before the 34 week mark that she felt quite tired and was starting to feel a little uncomfortable, especially after 2 very busy weeks at work. This is amazing for a multiple pregnancy!

The following day she went into premature labour which took 48 hours to stop with medication.

Since then Gemma has made it to her C section date which is scheduled for tomorrow Tues 17th September 2013 and she will be just over 37 weeks!

It took the scare for Gemma to slow down and stop working as hard. I know just how hard it is to slow down especially when you are feeling so good during your pregnancy.  Many of my clients also feel this way especially if self employed you just don't stop, you can't and the downside is that you can't really switch off either. You must listen to your body you need to rest.

Gemma's exercise over the last 4- 6 weeks has reduced in both intensity and duration. She has managed 2-3 easy to moderate strength sessions each week.

Our focus during her training sessions has continued to be on preventing lower back and pelvis pain. 
We addressed changes in her posture as the weight of the babies pulled Gemma's pelvis into excessive lumbar extension and continuing to prevent pregnancy abdominal muscle separation- diastsis recti.

Here are 3 video's:
Third Trimester exercises- exercises to help you prepare for birth, prevent diastasis recti and lower back pain.

28 weeks

31-32 Weeks

33 Weeks 

34 Weeks- Easy Exercise

I met with Gemma just last week to catch up and see how she was feeling, if she was managing to relax and how she has coped with not doing anything. She had been sneaking in some bicep curls, tricep dips and side leg lifts, well done.

These exercises can help you recover post a section and would help maintain the glute strength we had been working on over the past 8 months.

Gemma looked fantastic and still couldn't believe that the twins would be here within the week. 

Having really slowed down the past 2-3 weeks she was now rushing around to finish things off and sure enough had had a few braxton hicks. The plan for the next few days was to completely rest and enjoy putting her feet up on the last weekend before her scheduled section. It was especially important that the babies didn't make an early entrance as her obstetrician was not on the weekend roster. Gemma did not want to risk the babies being delivered by a different Doctor.

Still NO diastasis recti either! So if you want to prevent diastasis during your pregnancy follow the exercises in the Twin Pregnancy Series and purchase your Fit2BirthMum program from my website:

Gemma will unfortunately have a diastasis post a section as the abdominal muscles need to be separated during the operation! But she had been gifted by a C section recovery belt to aid recovery and healing, thanks Abdomend.

 I am going to write a blog on Gemma's recovery and how the belt and the Birth2FitMum program help her recovery post the birth of her babies. I will also post baby photo's! 

I will finish this blog by wishing Gemma and her babies all the best for a safe delivery. Can't wait to see them and find out what they are!

The Twins Safe Arrival: