What exercise is best for pregnancy and postnatal?
Do you ever get overwhelmed with where to start exercising? What movements are best, how many times a week or what type of workout? This post will help you get started. The best thing to remember is to keep it simple and make sure you enjoy it!
There are so many different exercises, types of workouts and classes available now it can feel overwhelming to know what is best for you. Try to keep it simple and have a personal plan for you and your body.
Exercise can be fun and enjoyable. I promise this is possible, and if you have a coach or personal trainer then your workouts should be something you enjoy.
So how many times a week should you workout?
This is very dependant on if you are pregnant or postnatal and how active you are. On average aim for 3-4 workouts a week with active days of walking for example on your non-workout days. For pregnancy and postnatal aim for around 20-45 minutes of workout time. During pregnancy exercise exceeding 45 minutes can cause you and your baby to overheat. The government recommends 150 minutes of activity a week, which breaks down nicely into the 3-4 workouts and a few brisk walks. Please remember this may vary week to week especially during pregnancy and its most important to listen to your body and energy levels, you might find in the first trimester you really don’t have the energy to workout and in the second trimester your feeling great and can happily do 4 workouts a week. Be kind to yourself and remember don’t push through.
What type of workout?
Again, dependant on your goals and how your pregnancy or recovery is going, it’s good to aim for a mix of both cardio (light impact cardio is best for pregnancy and at least the first four months postnatal) and resistance (body weight, free weights or resistant machines) to help build strength, tone and stabilize.
What movements are best?
When we’re talking about pregnancy and postnatal you definitely want to be focusing on your core (all levels of your core, not just superficial abs), pelvic floor and glutes. As well as movements that will help improve your posture, for example, rows and band pull opens. It’s not only about exercise and strengthening, its also about stretching and relaxing overtight muscles, as too tight muscles can cause pain and imbalances in the body.
Always ask, what’s the point of this exercise, workout or training program?
There have been so many online and free workouts over the last year, which is great for accessibility but isn’t great as there is no standard or regulation for this. Not everyone is quailed, teaches form or even has the correct form themselves. 99% of these aren’t suitable or considered for the pregnancy and postnatal period. Please make sure your teacher is aware of your pregnancy or stage of postnatal recovery, so it’s safe and effective for you! We’re all here to get stronger and fitter without injury or setbacks.
A good workout and training program considers what you’d like to achieve, where you’re at and what you can do. Making every single exercise and rep count. No one has time to waste time on poorly programmed plans or energy to spend on an exercise that isn’t going to get them closer to their goals.
A good trainer or coach will always be happy to answer your questions about why you’re doing something. If you are doing it by yourself, just take some time to think about if its really going to benefit you right now. I’ll admit heel slides aren’t the most exciting exercise, but in postnatal recovery, they are going to do amazing things for your core and are a lot more beneficial than attempting planks or scissors too early.
Would you like more advice and guidance?
If you’ve found this post useful but are still unsure where to start, I’d love to help you. Head over to the events page and you can sign up for a free online or in person class to understand your pregnant or postnatal body needs.
You can also join the wait list for our Strong Mama Club, a pre and postnatal fitness membership built to empower and guide your journey. Helping you with progressive workouts, programs, educational content, live classes and a community of supportive mums.
The Strong Mama Club is suitable for you if you are pregnant, postpartum, have a diastasis, pelvic floor weakness and for all types of birth.
Get your body back to feeling like yours again, regain full function, improve your fitness and boost your energy and body confidence.
Lucy is a pre & postnatal corrective exercise specialist and mum. She is on a mission to empower, educate and inspire women during pregnancy and motherhood to feel fit, healthy and body confident.