Thanks to Everyone who came out for Burn’s 3rd Pregnancy and Fitness Seminar. What an amazing group of smart, healthy and strong women! It was so nice getting to know all of your stories, and I was inspired by all of the fitness professionals who came to gain a better understanding of how to train and work with pregnant and post-natal clients. Thank you all SO much.
After 3 seminars, it has become very clear to me that there’s a need for more discussion around the psychology of exercise during pregnancy. Confusion, lack of information and resources, anxiety, and even guilt are frequent topics of discussion. Lack of control over one’s body can be very challenging and scary. Some women feel afraid that they will hurt the baby, so they avoid exercise. Others feel anxiety about gaining weight and begin to exercise a lot.
The most frequent questions I hear are:
- How much exercise should I be doing and what should I avoid?
- What will happen to my abs/body after I have the baby?
- Will my body ever be the same?
- If I do crunches during pregnancy, will I get diastasis?
I want to reassure all of you that exercise during low-risk pregnancies is generally a good thing (as long as your health care professional has given you the green light). Pushing yourself until you feel light-headed/dizzy is not. It’s ok to do cardio, but don’t overheat, dehydrate, or push your limits. Try not to compare your pre-pregnancy fitness levels to where you are now. Accept that your endurance/fitness level might not be what it once was, and respect and listen to your body and do what it tells you to do.
You can do gentle and subtle core and pelvic floor exercises while pregnant, but once you start to show, it makes sense to ditch the crunches and twists and focus more on upper and lower body exercises.
I think it’s really helpful to remember that you can build your abs again, and this time in a stronger, more focused way. You probably know a lot more about core work than you did when you first started working your abs, right? Once you are ready to build your core again, you can apply all of your knowledge to slowly and consistently regaining strength the right way. Ask your doc to check you for diastasis at your 6 week post-partum appt, and don’t freak out if you have it. It might get better with time, or it might not. Try to have someone check in another 4 weeks to see if you simply needed more time to heal. If it hasn’t gotten better, ask your doc or a physical therapist to help you, and be sure to let us know how we can help. Rest assured, there are lots of wonderful techniques and exercises you can do to reduce diastasis.
So… Yes. Your body can and will be strong and fit again, but it won’t happen right away. Stop buying magazines with pictures of celebrities frolicking on the beach 3 days after having twins looking perfect, O.K.? It’s not real. You are.