There are so many unknowns when it comes to exercising when pregnant. So we asked Lynn Duffy, a Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Trainer based in NYC to give us a little insight into being effective while staying safe.
Lynn has worked over the past 15 years perfecting her method of training female bodies and has worked with Victoria’s Secret, Sports Illustrated and supermodels Erin Heatherton, Irina Shayk, Jessica Perez, Candice Swanepoel and Lily Aldridge. Through her collaboration with expert doctors, midwives, doulas, physical therapists, maternity/fertility specialist, acupuncturists and masseuses, she has developed one of the only tailored prenatal/postnatal programs available.
Lynn says if a woman was exercising before pregnancy she should absolutely continue. If however the woman was not exercising, she and baby can also benefit greatly from movement. Of course, in both cases, only once you get clearance from your doctor for exercise.
Benefits of moving while pregnant include:
- Limit weight gain (most of Lynn’s clients gain maximum 25 lbs) - important factor in labor and recovery
- Eliminating or easing of lower back and pelvic pain
- Increases blood flow to the uterus and placenta which is critical for the babies growth and development. In fact, mothers who exercise during pregnancy tend to have leaner and smarter babies
- Helps control hormone fluctuations
- Aids in digestion and constipation
- Provides better energy and sleep
- Core/Abdominal strength which helps to prevent diastasis (separation of the stomach muscles during pregnancy)
- Prepares mothers for a better labor and higher probability of a shorter labor, decreasing c-section risk
Lynn’s method is based on trimesters, weekly and monthly anatomical changes with the goal is of having the most comfortable, healthy, safe, pregnancy, labor and post labor body through exercise.
Lynn’s Tips by Trimester
- In the first trimester women can continue all the same exercises as she had been doing before she was pregnant e.g. running, strength training, group classes etc. Concern at this stage is exercising with lack of proper oxygen and being overheated. Exercise in the first trimester will help nausea, fatigue and early appetite changes.
- In the second trimester things change and as such modifications should be made. The baby is growing and there is more changes to the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Proper Posture should be key with an emphasis on strength training to help carry the baby and decrease body fat. However, there should be no back lying exercises and no sit ups or crunches. About this time the woman might also want to consider a belly band or brace - see below for suggestions.
- The final (third) trimester should emphasize flexibility. The body becomes more weighted and uncomfortable and so the focus at this stage should be to prepare the body for a safe, quick, easy labor with proper openers and flexibility.
After labor, it is recommended women wait an extended period of time, typically 4-6 weeks, before resuming physical exercise. Women of course should always follow the advice from their doctors and wait for the clear. Reestablishing a strong core and reactivating muscles should be a top priority. If the core is weak, and muscles are not “firing” properly there is a great risk for injury after labor. Jumping into exercise too soon or too aggressively can result in an injury. Lynn’s postnatal method is precise core/abdominal training with gradual strength and cardiovascular progressions. Weight loss and endurance focused.
BBM Belly Support Recommendations
Disclaimer: The above publication is not intended, nor should be used, in place of professional medical advice