I have made a big point of the advantages of training and exercise during pregnancy so let’s have a look at what signs mean you should probably rest or need to slow down.
The major concerns for a pregnant athlete are dehydration, hyperthermia, and hypoglycaemia.
Dehydration is an easy one to answer as it is just as important not pregnant. A simple test is to take a look at the colour of you urine. The darker it is the less hydrated you are. During pregnancy you want to try and keep it as close to clear as possible.
Hyperthermia is a greater concern during your first trimester when the foetus has trouble regulating temperature and can easily get over heated from an exercising mother. The good thing is that ladies who are well trained before pregnancy are better able to dissipate temperature then others. That doesn’t mean you can totally disregard the point. Some athletes will take their temperature before a workout and just finishing a workout to gauge more accurately temperature change.
There are different forms of hyperthermia but the three types most common for a pregnant exerciser to watch out for are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat syncope.
Heat exhaustion is where the body is starting to over heat possibly from exercising, watch out for cold clammy skin. You may feel one or all of -giddy, thirsty, nauseated, weak and sweating profusely (although I don’t think sweating is a good sign as I sweat loads anyway)
Heat cramps are a painful muscle spasm in the arms legs or abdomen, usually after strenuous exercise or activity. Heat cramps are usually a lack of salt in the body.
Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness experienced after exercising in heat.The pulse is weak but the heart rate is rapid. Body temperature is normal. Skin is pale and sweaty but cool and moist to touch
If you find yourself or a client suffering from hyperthermia you must –
- get them out of the sun into a cool area or room.
- get fluids into the body, fruit juice or water.
- take a cool shower or bath or sponge down body.
- lie down and rest in a cool place
Hypoglycemia again is a concern for a general population as well as pregnant ladies. You will find though that with changing blood pressure and increased blood volume this will be more sensitive for the pregnant ladies. You may feel light headed or unsteady on you feet, a quick look back at when your last meal or snack was should help distinguish hypoglycemia from a possibly more serious sign on the below list. Ensure that meals are regular and snacks are readily at hand post workout, should ensure you keep this at bay.
If any of the below symptoms occur you need to stop, cool down and replenish your body. I would also advice you check out your symptoms with your doctor as it could be an early warning sign.
Unusual absence of foetal movement (note that during exercise baby is usually quiet)
Shortness of breath
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green