So here's a no brainer. We asked strength and conditioning coach Frank Baptiste whether pregnant women should work out under the supervision of a personal trainer. His answer?
"Absolutely," says Frank. "The number one thing you want to think about with any pregnant client is the safety of the baby. If a woman decides to exercise through her pregnancy, there should be a team of three: the mom-to-be, her doctor and her trainer."
While many of you are familiar with the types of questions a personal trainer will ask a pregnant client (like how does this feel, are you in pain, and what does your doctor recommend), what you may not know is why these issues are so important to consider.
Frank, a Zeel Expert, explains the science behind prenatal training in the simplest of terms.
Hormonal changes. During pregnancy, women produce higher levels of the hormones progesterone and relaxin. Progesterone causes a decrease in the activity of the blood vessel walls, which can lead to lightheadedness. Relaxin, on the other hand, makes the joints excessively lax and pliable-especially the ankles and wrists. Personal trainers can adjust for these physical effects to prevent injury.
Proper blood flow. Blood flow to the uterus should never be restricted during pregnancy, and a personal trainer with prenatal certification can design a workout that ensures this never happens. Exercise should be moderate to intermediate in intensity, and the level of intensity should be constantly monitored and gauged by the trainer.
Muscular structure. It's no secret that a woman's body changes tremendously (literally) throughout her pregnancy. Naturally, there will also be changes in how she can and can't move. (Frank jokes with pregnant clients: "Stop stealing the medicine balls from the gym," referring to their increasingly round midsections.)
Muscles in the front and core become longer and tighter; back muscles get shorter and weaker; feet become externally rotated. A personal trainer can help to modify exercises to cater to these physical transformations.
Blood pressure. Women may be advised to steer clear of exercises that require them to lay flat on their back after the first trimester to avoid what's called supine hypotensive syndrome. In layman's terms, this position places pressure on the vein that pumps blood from the torso and legs to the heart (it's called the vena cava). The decreased circulation can cause blood pressure to drop and create a sudden feeling of dizziness.
Did you work out through your pregnancy? Did you enlist the help of a personal trainer for your yoga, Pilates and exercise routines? Let us know!
For personalized prenatal training programs, performance coaching and online consulting, book a private session with Frank through Zeel.