Fitness, Lifestyle, Postnatal, Pregnancy

Pre and Post-Natal Exercise During Lockdown: What You Need To Know

by Angele Satariano, Pre/postnatal fitness specialist

Who would have thought a few weeks ago that we’d end up in a situation where we cannot even attend our usual appointments?! It still all feels a little surreal. Whether you’re pregnant or recently had a baby, exercising should still be on your agenda because there are so many benefits to be gained from it.

I’m aware that training alone (i.e. without professional guidance) during these life phases can be a bit scary. Like “should I be doing this?”, “is this workout suitable for diastasis recti?”, “is this a pregnancy safe workout?”. All of these concerns are valid and I hope this article will help you to choose which workouts to trust in a time when access to specialised women’s health fitness trainers is limited.

The first thing to beware is following fitness videos posted to social media by any Tom, Dick & Harry. Many people who aren’t even fitness professionals are posting workouts too! It’s nice to see so much fitness inspiration being put out there, but as pregnant or post-natal women, not all exercises are beneficial for you. Many could actually be harmful and damage your core (including your pelvic floor), giving you serious issues a few months down the line. Following these workouts is just not worth the risk and I suggest avoiding it unless you are positive that the person instructing is a qualified professional in pre/post-natal fitness & recovery.

Another thing I would like to highlight is that, even after getting clearance to resume training from your gynae at your 6-8 week check-up, you are still at risk of post-natal haemorrhage for up to 12 weeks if not longer. This is why you need to start slow and go gentle even if you feel ok. Don’t assume that just because the baby is out you can go back to burpees, planks and jumping jacks! There are plenty of suitable exercises out there for the post-natal phase, but traditional high-intensity exercises are not on that list!

Instead, focus on re-connecting with your core (with breathing and gentle core activation exercises), resting as much as possible and eating/hydrating well.

With regards to exercise during this ‘online’ revolution, here are some tips that I hope you’ll find helpful:

  1. Schedule online 1-1 sessions with a specialist women’s health fitness professional, especially if you’re newly pregnant and want to keep active AND also if you’re in the post-natal phase and want to get back into training. DON’T just follow the next video you see on your Instagram feed. It would be my pleasure to guide you through these delicate phases so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if needs be.
  2. Find & follow fit pros who you are certain are qualified & experienced in providing specialised exercise for pregnant/post natal women. And only follow their content. I have some pre/post-natal appropriate exercise videos on my Facebook and Instagram pages @activespiritmums and I’m also holding virtual classes which are specifically planned for pregnancy and post-natal.
  3. When following online workouts, always stop and rest whenever you need to and change any exercises that don’t feel right! Be sure to always think about your core in every exercise that you do. A gentle abdominal activation throughout all exercises is extremely important.
  4. Remember to breathe. Breath-holding is one of the most ‘non-ideal’ things to do when training, especially if you’re pregnant or post-natal. Try and exhale whenever making effort and keep a nice constant flow of breath during any faster paced exercises.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any advice about your training.

Angele Satariano

An accountant by profession, Angele spent 8 years at a desk job, until she decided to follow her dream to become an athlete and open her own health and fitness studio – Active Spirit. Her focus is on women’s wellbeing, particularly pre natal fitness and post-natal recovery. She qualified as a Personal Trainer with Premier International Training in London and also undertook a pre/post natal certification with Premier. Appreciating the importance of proper guidance and support for women during these key phases of their lives she dove in deep and qualified in two advanced certifications with Burrell Education. Angele is determined to make a difference by empowering women to take control of their health by educating them and giving them the tools to live happy, fit and healthy lives!

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