Why shouldn’t you……..? Though there is not much that as a pregnant lady you can’t do. There are two exercise types that I have increasingly heard women pursuing which though not dangerous to the baby, will have a lasting effect on the Mother.
I was in a gym a week or so ago and was quite horrified to see a very pregnant women on a swiss ball performing sit ups!
I didn’t feel it was my place to tell her what to do but since I knew the girl who runs the gym I asked her if maybe she should be advising her not to do the sit ups.
Jane the manager informed me that on many occasion she has tried to warn her against the sit ups but has repeatedly been told to mind her own business and worse still was told by her personal training husband to do the sit ups!
I could hardly believe it.
But why I hear you ask……
You may remember I have blogged about the baby weight pressing on the inferior vena cava and may be lulled into thinking that sit ups on a swiss ball means this is no more a problem and sure this may not be a problem but as the baby grows this isn’t the only thing to be mindful of.
As your baby grows, so does you belly.
To accommodate your baby your body has to do a lot of stretching. This includes your abdominals.
By around week 18 you may notice a faintish dark line running from top to bottom through your belly.
This is called your Linea Nigra, this is a very visible sign that your recti abdominals are coming apart to make space for the baby. It is not always present but is a common sign.
Imagine performing sit ups while this abdominal separation has occurred. It can quite often produce a hernia effect and is actually encouraging the abs to stay separated.
For any Mum who is hoping to get her waist back this is not advisable. I have spoken to ladies who have never regained their waists because either they have performed sit ups after a certain point in pregnancy or have rushed back into sit ups before their tummy has had a chance to recover it’s natural position.
My second shock horror was to hear of pregnant women jogging/running.
You may say that is very hypercritical of me but first let me explain.
I am reaching 4 months pregnant. My baby is around 11cm from head to bottom. At this point my baby will start to grow more rapidly then my first months. The size change is considerable.
It is at this point that by treadmill days will become more of a jog/walk/sprint.
The reason for this is simple.
I want to keep my Pelvic Floor muscles in good condition.
There is a saying……….IF ITS WEAK THEN IT LEAKS!
Many women will suffer from weak pelvic floor, unable to control the urge to wee even finding that a cough or sneeze can make you leak.
This is not good ladies.
Thinking about the above and imagine the impact on the muscles as you are running/jogging with all the weight of the baby and uterus and amniotic fluid smacking into the pelvic floor.
Your uterus grow to the size of a water melon! That is a lot of weight for your pelvic floor to bare.
Alright so it supports the weight through pregnancy but it doesn’t mean you need to add impact to the game.
This is why my turn on the treadmill is now a mixture of fast walking up hills, short interval sprints (which will become less frequent as my baby grows) and light jogs for a few minutes.
Please I am asking all training ladies out there to heed any advise given to you. There are really good reasons behind the advise. If you don’t understand why you are being told something then please ask why.
Right I am off for a long walk. When I am back I will give you some advise on how to work your pelvic floor.
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach.