Are you confused about the claims you might hear, that exercise during pregnancy could be harmful to your unborn baby? Or that it will affect your milk supply while breastfeeding? Or that eating pineapple will bring on early labour ? Do you want to know what is fact or fiction ?
Research has proven that safe and effective exercise during and after pregnancy has many benefits for mothers and many sequential benefits for their babies in utereo and improved post birth mortality rates.
Mums and Mum’s-to-be will attest that finding time to exercise can become tricky especially when juggling a career, sleep deprivation and a new little human, but it certainly isn’t impossible.
One in five women suffer from some form of maternal mental health issue including peri and postnatal depression and evidence shows that a lack of exercise during and after pregnancy has been associated with a higher rate of depression symptoms.
While it can be hard to make the effort to exercise – I guarantee you will ALWAYS feel better for doing it. Exercise releases endorphins that are guaranteed to make you feel energised. As always, please ensure you gain clearance to exercise from your medical practitioner and seek the advice of a certified pre and post natal trainer.
I recently caught up Live on Facebook with Melita from Mammojo who wanted to get the low down on about many of the “wives tales” that she had heard during and after her own 3 pregnancies about exercise during and after pregnancy.
1. Exercise during pregnancy isn’t safe ?
Fiction ! For the majority of women, light to moderate exercise during pregnancy is completely safe and strongly encouraged. Studies show women who stay active during pregnancy tend to have shorter, easier labour’s and a better post-birth recovery. Who doesn’t want that ?
As a general rule, you should only partake in activities at a level you were performing prior to becoming pregnant: pregnancy is not the time to suddenly “go for gold”.
Myth busted again ! contrary to this common belief, exercising when you are breastfeeding won’t actually affect your milk supply.
Although if you are an elite athlete studies have shown that excess lactic acid in your system can slightly alter the taste of your milk.
The key is to ensure you are eating a nutritionally balanced diet and enough calories to compensate for those you lose while breastfeeding (between 380 and 600 calories per day) and additional if you also exercise.
Ensure you support your energy levels and your baby’s health with additional protein, healthy fats and wholesome carbs. Learn more here.
Adequate hydration is also really important – breastfeeding mothers should be drinking about three litres of water every day. If you are exercising, be sure to also increase this accordingly.
3. It’s just too hard and overwhelming !
Fact …but let’s turn that into fiction ! I completely understand the overwhelm that can happen when you try to leave your newborn for the first time in a creche or with a carer, or if you try to exercise and all your toddler wants to do is climb on you. Plus stepping into a gym pregnant can be completely intimidating.
These reasons, are why I offer my services as a mobile personal trainer. Also jump into my #BFabSquad where you can learn some simple ways to get started with safe and effective exercise.
Also don’t put too much pressure on yourself as a busy mum you are actually doing a lot of daily incidental exercise…including pushing prams, lifting babies, and moving pretty much 24/7.
I always say if you are pregnant or post natal start with 10 minutes when you can, and tap into how you feel after you do that exercise and use that feeling to motivate you to slowly do some more !
4. I can’t exercise because nothing fits me !
Fiction ! I have fabulous news for you… the days of women staying at home under the cover of darkness during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, are thankfully, long gone.
A few short years ago finding comfortable, supportive and maternity activewear was also impossible, but luckily this has changed too.
Trust me, if you are wearing something that is comfortable and gives you confidence you are more likely to be motivated to exercise.
Oh and best of all you can wear it all day ! Win/win hey ?
I often witness pregnant and breastfeeding women attempt to wear traditional activewear when exercising but it is so impractical and actually compromises their posture and alignment. Breastfeeding supportive tops and core supportive tights really help protect a weaker core during and after pregnancy and expedite the recovery of abdominal muscles post birth.
Also did you see the gorgeous breastfeeding hoodie that Melita was wearing during our recent Facebook Live ?
Grab yours here….there are even little matching mini-me ones for your bub.
If you want to hear more about the facts and fictions of pregnancy and post natal exercise, make sure you tune in right here and feel free to post about any other myths you are unsure about.
Stay fabulous !