Here are some questions our Intermountain Moms community asked Shauna this week:
Q: Is it safe to start going to the gym even though I haven’t been in a while? Is it safe to lift weights on the machines at the gym?
A: Yes, as long as you are not having restricting complications. Start off slow and easy, and increase your time and intensity over the coming weeks. Exercise should help you feel better and so keep your intensity moderate so you don't feel wiped out afterward. The stacked weight machines are pretty safe generally. Anything after 20 weeks that requires you to be on your back should be modified or eliminated. If a certain exercise feels uncomfortable or too difficult, pass on it and try something else instead.
Q: What are some good exercises that I can do in 30 mins or less? Between work, chasing a toddler and keeping the house somewhat clean I'm tired all the time so exercising doesn't get done. What are some easy workouts for 3rd trimester to help boost energy and keep me healthy?
A: Simple things like planks and wall sits for time, push-ups modified for your fitness level, tricep dips, and overhead presses are great to start with. It does not need to take a lot of time. Do each for a few reps and then move on to the next. A round or two should only take 10-15 minutes tops.
Q: What are some absolute exercise "no no's" during pregnancy?
A: Anything that requires prolonged laying on your back after 20 weeks should be avoided. Any activity or sport that has a chance of you being impacted by an object or other player should be avoided, especially as you get further along. Any sport or activity that has a risk of fall, like skiing or horseback riding should be discontinued. Scuba diving is also be strictly avoided.
Q: What would you say are the top 3 benefits to mom and baby when mom exercises during pregnancy? Are there certain forms of exercise that are more beneficial during pregnancy?
A: I think the best things are feeling better during pregnancy, faster recovery, and minimized fat accumulation in mom. Babies get stronger hearts due to a mother exercise too, making it easier for them to go through labor and birth. I think yoga, walking, water-based exercise have long been regarded as safe and beneficial, but it is safe to use weights, resistance bands, and your own body weight to get in a workout if you start out easy and gradually work up.
Q: How do I keep my abs strong during pregnancy? And what are some good exercises that I can do now to speed up post-partum recovery?
A: It's long been believed you should not work your core in pregnancy, but you just need to work it differently. I think static plank hold is one of the best ones. If you are not very strong or have little muscle endurance, try plank modified on your knees. Hold for 20-30 seconds, or as long as you can stay well aligned. Focus on pulling in your abs while you hold the pose. As you get further along you can elevated your upper body on the edge of your couch to create room for your belly and make it easier. I also love wall sits for time, and some basic upper body strengtheners like push-ups, tricep dips, and overhead press. Gaining strength and endurance in your upper and lower body will really help you handle pregnancy, birth, and recovery much better.
Q: I am also post baby and was wondering about exercises to lose the baby fat after C Section.
A: Focusing on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats is best. Avoid common junk food pitfalls. You should be sure not to restrict below 1800 calories. On days you exercise make sure to eat the amount of calories you think you burned. An intense 30-45 min workout will easily burn 350 calories. I just don't want you to negatively impact your milk supply, so start off workouts at an easy pace and then increase week to week as you gain strength and confidence.
Q: At what point during pregnancy should I stop during core workouts?
A: As long as you are healthy enough to exercise, you are fine to keep working your core. The key is after 20 weeks, or before then if it feels uncomfortable, stop exercises that require you to be on your back and crunch the abdominal. Planks are a great and safe exercise throughout pregnancy, as well as cat/cow pose. While going into cat focus on pulling your abdominal area in and holding for a few seconds and then releasing. You can repeat several times. I've helped ladies work their core up until birth, so as long as you are well enough, keep it up
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