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Robert Johnston – Exercises for Pregnancy

By on Oct 10, 2013

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Advice on exercises for pregnancy

Advice on exercises for pregnancy

We’d like to introduce to you, our resident expert on physical exercise and training. Robert Johnston. The following is a transcript for a Q & A session that we recently did:

(H3 = Healthy3, RJ = Robert Johnston)

(H3) How did you get involved in personal training?

(RJ) Coming from New Zealand I have always been interested in sports as a child, but developed an interest in exercise in my teenage years when everyone was growing taller and bigger than me. This lead to joining a gym with my friends and training and developing programs to gain our goals. My interest has never gone away and I found myself writing programs for my friends and correcting their technique came naturally. When I left University I struggled to find work in my field so I went for a job in a very large gym in Auckland. There I was exposed to so much more training philosophy’s and physiological methods, as the gym had all top of athletes (Professional/Olympic/Amateur/Sundays best) and Exercise Fanatics.

I spent 3 years at the Gym then moved to London, Uk and have been working as a Personal Trainer since 1998. I tend to view my attitude to training is it can be fun and enjoyable and not just a dull, painful slog that drives so many people away. My major specialities Fat Loss, Boxing, Sports Specific and Strength Training. But I am interested in all that will help in the quest for physical Fitness as you would expect.

(H3) What can women do to increase their chances of conception, in terms of physical exercise?

(RJ) Being underweight or overweight can delay the time it takes a woman to conceive. A woman’s weight before getting pregnant is often an overlooked factor in fertility. Keeping a healthy weight can help with conception.Time to conception was increased fourfold in women with a BMI below 19.  Pre-pregnancy BMI of 25-39 – considered overweight or obese — had a twofold increase in the time it took to get pregnant. A BMI less than 19 (18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal) is even worse.

(H3) Is it a good idea to diet whilst trying for a baby, so as to minimise weight gain during pregnancy?

(RJ) As long as you eat a healthy, balanced diet, it’s fine to lose weight while you’re trying to conceive. If you are overweight with irregular periods or no periods, losing weight may help to regulate your periods and make ovulation happen. Losing weight will also set you up for a healthier pregnancy, once you do become pregnant. If you are overweight when you conceive, you are more likely to experience complications, such as:

  • gestational diabetes
  • miscarriage
  • high blood pressure
  • pre-eclampsia

Eating a healthy diet that’s low in fat and high in wholegrain starchy foods (carbohydrates), fruit and vegetables is the best approach to take. Try to get plenty of exercise too. Bear in mind that you should aim to lose no more than between 0.5kg (1lb) and 1kg (2lb) per week. Fast weight loss may run down your body’s store of nutrients, which is not the best way to begin a pregnancy. And it may also be harder to keep the weight off later.

(H3) Whilst pregnant, what exercises would you recommend?

(RJ) Might be easier to say what you shouldn’t do as most exercises are fine throughout the entire pregnancy: Avoid overhead lifts (like: Military Press as they increase the ‘hyperlordosis’ sway back), Heavy lifting, lifting weights is fine but cautioned not to lift ‘excessively’ heavy weights, avoid exercising on your back (supine position) after the 1st trimester (3rd month), Not to go past normal range of motion (excessive movement in the exercise) due to joint laxity, Avoid lateral raises (shoulder abduction) above 70-80degrees, as it can cause impingement or rotator cuff problems (shoulder), Avoid any Deep squatting, lunges, High step ups, hyperextending the back, fast interval or sprint type training and hopping and bounding.

Also Do Not Hold Your Breath While Doing Exercise!!!

(H3)  Are there any exercises that can help and prepare you for labour?

(RJ) Kegals for the pelvic floor can’t be stressed enough!!!! Postural exercises and general fitness will all help in preparation for labour.

That was Rob’s take on pregnancy and we look forward to reading his next article.