Previous generations had a mindset that exercising while pregnant was a bad thing, but times have changed — that’s for sure! Staying fit will help the expectant mom during delivery and when they are trying to get back to a sense of normalcy following the baby’s birth.
Benefits of exercise for pregnant women include:
- Improved circulation
- Improved muscular tone and balance
- Reduced swelling in the extremities
- Improved gastrointestinal function
- Reduced leg cramping
- Improved trunk function and stability
- Easier postpartum recovery
- Alleviation of common pregnancy maladies such as varicose veins, backaches and joint or muscle soreness
- Improved posture and kinesthetic awareness
- Increased stamina which may help during labor and delivery
Of course, strenuous activities are not recommended, and a personal trainer should encourage expecting clients and gym members to use common sense when making choices. For example, the following fitness activities are not recommended because of the risk of trauma to the mother and the baby:
- Water and downhill skiing
- Skydiving, hang gliding
- Scuba diving
- Contact sports
- Horseback riding
- Any other activity which presents a high risk of physical trauma, especially to the abdomen
Just like with anyone, your client needs to consult a physician prior to beginning an exercise program. Exercises done previously by the client or member should be modified to accommodate changes in her body such as posture, balance, weight gain and energy levels.
If done properly, personal training sessions can help a woman reach the end of her pregnancy feeling strong and both mentally and physically prepared for labor. Once the baby is born and the new mom’s doctor signs off on her attending the gym again, you can help her get back to her pre-baby body! She might even send referrals your way once she starts receiving compliments on her physique!