Diet, Health, Inspiration, Knowledge

Exercise and pregnancy

This is also available in: Dansk

For Anne Nørgaard it is not only important to think about being in good shape, while she is pregnant, but also to train her body for the delivery – and life after. Thus it is not little things that happens to your body during those nine months you are pregnant.

Anne Nørgaard is 30 years old and is an office clerk. She has a daughter Mille who is 2 ½ years old and Anne is halfway through her second pregnancy. Therefore, she is prepared for the changes that happens to the body during a pregnancy. Nevertheless, it is something quite different from the first time.

The biggest difference is that I already have a small child. First time around I only had myself and could do whatever I wanted. Now we are a family and that requires a completely different planning.

There are many things that have changed since Anne had her first child. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and health and when she was pregnant with Mille, she worked as a deputy chief, dietician and instructor at a gym.

The daily routine at the gym made it easier to work out. I am a very structured person and it was a lot easier to plan everyday life back then. Since we had Mille I had to learn how to relax more and take things as they come.

For Anne it has meant that exercising at home has become her way to continue working out and keep herself and her body in shape.

Replace instead of limiting

In the beginning of her current pregnancy she could run with Mille in her trolley, but now she primarily does exercises at home with TRX, kettlebells and a yoga mat for floor exercises. Home training fits in well when you have a busy schedule.

It means a lot to me to keep my body in shape. Having a good fundamental strength was a great help during my first labor.

She has taken those experiences with her for this pregnancy despite the different circumstances and the fact that exercise is something she must find time for in different ways than before. She works out when it fits her everyday schedule and makes sure to stay active by running and biking.

There are of course things that you cannot do once you’ve reached a certain point of the pregnancy. E.g. she can feel that it will not be long before she cannot run anymore, and the weight of the dumbbells must be lowered. Instead the runs are replaced by walks and she uses lighter dumbbells and adjust the exercises by making more repetitions.

When something in the pregnancy sets limits, I try to find something different, that can replace it, so that I keep on working out and keep my body in good shape.

Anne focuses a lot on dividing her week into different types of physical activities. She runs or walks once a week and does yoga once a week. The home exercises she does whenever it fits with her schedule and there is time and energy from the family. It is not as structured as it used to be when she was a fitness instructor, where she had regular classes and afterwards worked out on her own.

This time around I work out more compared to, what I have time for. There is no overall plan, like there was the first time. Now I am fine with it. But it has taken some getting used to.

There are a lot of good reasons to exercise when you are pregnant.
The Danish Health Authority recommends that you exercise 30 minutes a day – also if you haven’t exercised before your pregnancy. Exercise strengthens you both mentally and for the work that lies ahead when you have to give birth. And your body easier recovers after giving birth if you are in good shape.

Seven good reasons to exercise while you are pregnant:

  • Exercise and strength training during pregnancy increases wellbeing and benefits your health
  • In general, it is recommended to exercise during pregnancy at least 30 minutes a day
  • Avoid contact sports or martial arts
  • Avoid diving and activities related to risk of fall injuries
  • Don’t overdo exercise during the pregnancy
  • Avoid overheating or dehydration when you are working out during pregnancy
  • If you experience general discomfort, pain, contractions, bleeding or your water breaks you should stop the work out and seek medical assistance.

Before, during and after

It is not just the stomach that grows during a pregnancy. There is actually nothing on your body that does not undergo a change. Anne is very aware of this the second time around, as she can use her own experiences from her first pregnancy. During her first pregnancy it surprised Anne, how much happens with the body. Suddenly there where a lot of things she could no longer do.

I was very surprised about how much happened to my body. You are not just pregnant. So much happens afterwards with the body, that I was not prepared for the first time. I have that as part of my experiences now. If you stay still during your whole pregnancy, you are in for a huge task afterwards.

It is important for Anne not just to think about what is healthy while she is pregnant but also train her body for the labor and life after.
Therefore, the composition of exercises is all about activating the whole body. She especially focusses on the back, as you need to prepare the body for carrying around a small child and breastfeed afterwards.

For me it is mostly about building a good fundamental strength, so you can also carry on with life after labor. You have this one body for your whole live, so you have to take care of it.

Anne’s three favorite exercises

These exercises you can advantageously make both while you are pregnant and after. But remember: when you make these exercises, it has to feel good and right for your body. Especially when you are pregnant. Do not exaggerate your work out during your pregnancy.

Hip thrust on mat

Difficulty: Easy-medium
This exercise strengthens your thighs, butt and lower back. If you are used to working out – and as long as it feels comfortable – you can add a weight disc which you place on your stomach.

  1. Lie down with your legs bend
  2. Lift your hips off the floor and keep them lifted for a few seconds
  3. Repeat the exercise as many times as you can

Russian Twist with kettlebell – core training

Difficulty: Medium
Your core – or your body corset – consists of all the stabilizing inner and outer muscles around your stomach and back. This exercise strengthens your core. You can advantageously make the exercise without kettlebells. This exercise is not recommended if you are not used to using kettlebells.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, keeping them about hip distance apart
  2. Hold the kettlebell at chest level and maintain a 45-degree angle as you lean back
  3. Move your torso from left to right, moving the kettlebell across your body as you twist
  4. Do as many repetitions as you can safely manage

Rows in TRX

Difficulty: Medium
This exercise strengthens your back. The back is one of the areas which needs strength when you are carrying the baby’s weight around both during and after your pregnancy.

  1. Place your feet with a hip distance to each other and keep a TRX-strap in each hand with the palms towards each other
  2. Walk forward until you are standing in a 45-degree angle with your arms extended. Your body must stay in a straight line
  3. Make sure your upper body is stable and your legs stretched. With both feet places solid in the ground, bend your elbows while you keep them close to your body. You now pull your body towards your hands
  4. Extend your arms again to lower your body. Repeat the exercise

This is also available in: Dansk

Related Posts