In 2018, bulging bellies are becoming just as common as bulging biceps in gyms around Australia. Training for 2 during pregnancy has become not only accepted but actively encouraged by specialists, doctors and physiotherapists.
In days gone by, pregnant women were encouraged to rest, need to ‘take it easy’ whilst growing another little person. Once warned against exercise, expecting Mums are now being encouraged to keep exercising, in particular, strength train, as long as they can during pregnancy.
And let’s face it, mums need their strength! There are 2 very clear reasons why strength training is important before, during and after pregnancy.
Firstly, the average pregnant mother will carry about 12 kg of extra weight (including baby) during the nine months of her pregnancy. That’s 12 extra kilos on knees, back, hips and pelvis. At this point, you will be very happy for every ounce of strength in your quads and lower back!
Secondly, the average newborn in Australia weighs 3.3kg. On average, this doubles by 4 months and triples by 12 months. So on day 1 of motherhood, mothers will be lifting this weight daily, after a few months you might be lifting 7kg 100 times per day. A good question to ask yourself might be ‘How would I feel tomorrow if I lifted and carried a 7kg dumbbell all day?
This need to be strong explains the rise and rise in pregnant women frequenting specialist strength training gyms like Kieser over the past 2 years.
They are being referred by their GP’s, recommended by their obstetricians and guided by their maternity nurses because of the increasing evidence that not only is exercise during pregnancy good to reduce your back pain, it has many secondary benefits as well: less cramps, less risk of gestational diabetes, less swelling of the legs, amongst many others.
The second part of this trend towards pre and post natal exercise is that expectant Mums are engaging highly educated health professionals to supervise and guide their exercise. Alex Lopez is a trusted colleague of mine and as Physiotherapist and Chair of the Women’s Men’s and Pelvic Health Group for the Australian Physiotherapy Association (and a mother of 3) her authority is irrefutable. Alex says, ‘Strength training during pregnancy is ideal, but your program should be tailored by a health professional with a sound understanding of both exercise and pregnancy. You often have a specialist with you for every other step of pregnancy, I highly recommend you do the same for your gym program,” she says.
As one of Keiser Australia’s physiotherapists, everyday I highlight to patients the importance of being strong. For me, gone are the days as a Physio of only treating 20 year olds with hamstring injuries – today we see more people who need to exercise for their health. Pregnant women. Women with osteoporosis. Men and women with diabetes. Supporting pregnant bellies and protecting brittle bones has become more common that building bulging biceps.
Patients are attending Kieser, and other gyms run by health professionals, because of their confidence in the qualifications and experience of the staff. As an example, we know that strength training is beneficial during pregnancy. However, we also know that your core temperature drops during pregnancy and that you will commence sweating at lower temperatures, meaning that heated environments such as ‘hot yoga’ are not recommended for pregnant mums.
So if you are pregnant, or considering pregnancy in the coming months, then also think about getting strong. It will help keep your muscles and joints painfree as you carry around your growing baby and hold you in good stead for the marathon of labour. As with every other stage of pregnancy, seek the help of a health professional, someone who understands both exercise and pregnancy.
If you need a physiotherapist in your area, find one here: www.choose.physio
The Carousel would like to thank Tim Dettmann – Physiotherapist, Kieser Australia.