Prenatal Health

Prenatal wellness encompasses a number of things such as healthy eating, taking prenatal vitamins, adequate fluid intake, rest and of course exercise.

Research has shown that pregnant women who adhere to a regular Strength, Cardiovascular and Flexibility Program can…

  • Boost their immune-system with these benefits continuing even after the birth through breastfeeding.
  • More efficiently deliver blood and oxygen to their heart and brain, enhancing concentration and energy-levels.
  • Better manage or prevent gestational diabetes.
  • More effectively control weight gain, which – in addition to physical benefits – enhances body confidence and self-awareness.
  • Improve their posture, resulting in fewer aches and pains.
  • Aid in their post birth recovery.
  • Decrease their chance of having a fall with improved balance and coordination.
  • Reduce their stress, anxiety, and insomnia, leading to an overall improvement in sleeping patterns and mood balance.
  • Develop a larger placenta thereby increasing the capacity to exchange oxygen, CO2 and nutrients with their growing baby.
  • Increase the cardiovascular capacity of their unborn baby.

During Labor and Delivery, Fit Women Experience…

  • An easier adaptation to the lower-intensity endurance component of early labor.
  • Shorter first and second stages of labor.
  • Enhanced pain tolerance.
  • Increased stamina for labor and delivery, with less perceived exertion during labor.
  • Lower incidences of intervention during labor.
  • Good pelvic muscle tone – helpful for postpartum recovery and good continence health.

These are some of the important areas we focus on in our FitMums Classes:

Core Strength: for pregnant women, strengthening their core muscles, including their pelvic floor, has become highly important in recent years. Back ache, postural problems, continence and general recovery after birth can all be made far more manageable by keeping both your core and pelvic floor strong. Attending group pregnancy exercise classes, taking pre-natal Pilates, or working 1:1 with a Physiotherapist to guide you through the correct movements will all help with developing and maintaining your core strength throughout your pregnancy.

Lower Body Strength: during pregnancy a woman naturally gains weight – not only are they carrying a growing human being but they often retain more fluid due to increased blood flow within the body. This means their body will become heavier and by the end of the last trimester, on average, a healthy pregnant woman will have gained 12.5-15kg. As a result a woman’s legs, lower back and buttock muscles will all get more of a workout sitting down, standing up and just moving around on a daily basis. Therefore it is really important for a pregnant woman to continue stimulating and strengthening their muscles to ensure they cope with this increased load. Many women also find that during labor they prefer to be up, moving around, changing positions and sometimes even squatting. So to ensure their bodies can cope with these activities during labor, lower body strength should be a priority during pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, a mother will be doing lots of lifting from awkward angles, getting up and down from the floor and carrying a capsule around, so along with a strong core, they’ll need to learn to lift with their legs to protect their back. There are many versions of body weight squats, Fitball squats, and lunges a woman can do to safely increase the strength of their lower body during this time.

Upper Body Strength: adding to a woman’s weight gain during pregnancy is her growing bust which places immense pressure on the postural muscles in the mid back, neck and shoulders. In addition to this, once the baby arrives, holding, breastfeeding and lifting will see a woman use a surprising amount of upper body strength. Women are encouraged to continue working on their upper body strength and posture to ensure they don’t develop neck and upper back pain once the baby arrives. Postural work with hand weights like press ups, bicep curls, seated rows, and challenging movements incorporating a Fitball can really help make you more able to cope with these changes.

Controlling Weight Gain: pregnant ladies are to remember that weight gain is NORMAL during pregnancy! But keeping a healthy weight is important for both your health and the baby’s. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, riding a stationary bike, swimming and low impact aerobics can assist with controlling your weight gain and ensuring your heart and lung remain healthy throughout the pregnancy, which will benefit your babies health as well. Cardiovascular fitness will also be important during labor.

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