Expert pre-pregnancy fitness advice

Qualified fitness instructor Nahid de Belgeonne answers your questions on getting fit to get pregnant.

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Nahid de Belgeonne, owner of the Goodvibes fitness studios, joined us for a fitness and fertility webchat. 

Here are some of the questions posted by our babyexpert.com users along with Nahid’s advice on the best ways to get fit before getting pregnant.

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Question: I currently do regular aerobic exercise and I’m trying to get pregnant with my first baby. Is it safe to continue when I first fall pregnant? I would feel a bit strange telling my instructors as soon as I found out as I don’t plan on telling anyone until I’ve had my first scan.

Answer: It’s great that you have an exercise regime going on now as it’s really beneficial to stay active throughout your pregnancy. Although it might feel a bit too intimate to discuss pregnancy in the first trimester perhaps you could have a chat with them to let them know that you are trying for a baby? This way you can start a discussion more gently to find out how the classes can be adapted for you – there are some exercises that you should avoid when pregnant so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember they are professionals and are trained to keep your discussion confidential.

Question: I had a miscarriage but have decided to start back at the gym, as I am worried that it is my weight that is affecting my ability to hold on to a pregnancy. What fitness can you advise would be good for me to take up, not only for my health and fitness now but also to aid me getting pregnant?

Answer: Sorry to hear about your miscarriage and it’s good that you are looking to see how you can improve your health. Getting fit pre-pregnancy means that you can more easily deal with the stress that pregnancy puts on the body.

For an ideal exercise regime you should include cardiovascular exercise, a long brisk walk or a swim where your heart rate is increased for at least 40 minutes three times a week.

Then you need to add in resistance training, you can use resistance bands at home or weights. Add yoga to your exercise regime as it works on calming the body and mind and as trying to conceive can be such a stressful time, you’ll need something to keep you in a relaxed state.

Question: What exercises are safe to do during the 2 weeks after ovulation? I worry about doing too much and risking implantation?

Answer: 
Excessive exercise has been seen to cause a change in the ovulation cycle, marathon runners for instance can acquire exercise-induced amenorrhea (skipped periods) but that does also seem to go hand in hand with their low calorific intake as well. This is reversed if they increase their food intake and ease up on their activity. But I am talking about intense exercise here and it doesn’t sound like either of you are doing this. It’s important that you are fit and healthy so check that you are at your ideal body weight for your build and work out to stay there.

I don’t think anyone would claim that there are exercises to aid conception, however I believe in a holistic approach to the body so would introduce yoga into your exercise regimes as it helps to calm the mind and that’s half the battle sometimes

Question: I would like to lose weight but can’t afford a gym membership. I also work quite long hours. Do you know of any alternatives to the gym, which I could fit in around work and that would be effective? It’s finding the time to exercise that I find hard.

Answer: Buy a mini trampoline – they are brilliant for relieving stress, burn more calories than jogging with less stress on your joints. Do not use when pregnant.
Join a dance class – it’s fun and there’s one of your cardio workouts
Buy a dance/workout/yoga DVD and make time to do it.

Resistance bands are a great way to strength train at home and come with exercise ideas.

A weighted hula-hoop and hula is great way to trim that waist.
Walk briskly for an hour a day – buy good walking shoes and walk to work – your legs and bum will tone up quickly!

Exercise does not mean going to the gym – I don’t go to gyms. I use Power Plates, walk, dance and yoga – find fun things to do and make a firm appointment to do it.

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For more information about Good Vibes Power-Plates studios visit goodvibesfitness.co.uk.

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