Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy - By Rose Cherry

by Renee Rice on June 01, 2021

We know pregnancy can make it super hard to train and keep fit! So we spoke with Rose Cherry from Team Cherry and asked for her advice. Here is what she told us!

There are many reasons why it is important to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy not only for your baby but for the mother as well. Being fit, strong and healthy before falling pregnant is ideal as you are already starting your journey with a strong foundation. 

When we exercise we release endorphins "happy hormones" that make us feel good. Pregnancy can be quite hard on some women and sometimes your mental health can suffer due to changes in your hormones, body composition, weight gain and changes to your lifestyle. Training helps boost your mood and morale. Training and staying active also helps push fluid and blood around the body.

During pregnancy your body produces an extra 1 to 1.5L of blood to help support the life of your baby. Your body also produces and stores more fluid. Movement and exercise can help move the blood and fluid around the body which helps with stabilising blood pressure and oedema (fluid retention). 

In the past women were told they shouldn't train too intensely while pregnant and if they weren't already doing resistance training before falling pregnant that they couldn't start once they found out they were expecting. This is outdated information. Even if you didn't do any resistance training before falling pregnant you would benefit greatly from some form of resistance training and it is recommended that you do some form of training/ exercise while pregnant. 

New studies and information indicate that you should lower your load and intensity by about 30-40% and train to about a 7/10. Don't get too sweaty and do not allow your body to overheat. I do not recommend HIIT training while pregnant, controlled resistance training, walking and swimming are great methods to stay fit, strong and healthy while pregnant. 

Pregnancy is hard on the body. Your joints move and change, your lower back may ache from the change in your pelvis anatomy and weight of the baby. Your upper back might become sore due to the weight of your breasts as they grow new tissue ready for breastfeeding. Your knees might ache from carrying extra weight. Your glutes and hip flexors might become weak and tight due to the anterior pelvic tilt your pelvis creates to carry the weight of your belly. All of these things can be improved and managed through resistance training and exercise. 

Childbirth is physically taxing on the body, you want to go into your labour as strong as possible. You also want to feel strong and empowered going into your birth and post birth. Lifting weights can help create a strong mindset and belief that you are strong enough to carry and birth your baby. 

My top tips for training while pregnant: 

  1. Do not push yourself too hard. 
  2. Do not try to lift what you used to lift. 
  3. Don't try to progress in weight and reps each week. Find exercises that work for you / don't cause pain and maintain a weight that is comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Keep in mind you may need to lower this and reps as you progress through your pregnancy journey. 
  4. If you experience any pain, especially in your pelvis, pelvic area or belly STOP, reduce load or remove that movement altogether.
  5. See a Women's Health Physio to assess your Pelvic Floor and to learn how to relax and contract your Pelvic Floor. 
  6. Be kind to yourself. If you are too tired or sick don't push yourself to train, maybe go for a walk instead. 
  7. Training will get harder as you get bigger/ further along, adjust load and exercises to suit your changing body, don't train consecutive days, try to stretch / stay mobile, walk on the opposite days. 
  8. Training for 45mins is enough. You don't need to be in the gym any longer than 1hour. 
  9. Find exercises that work for YOU. Don't copy what other people do on Instagram or what you see other women doing in the gym. Your pregnancy is unique to you. 
  10. Stretch your chest and hip flexors. Strengthen your back, hamstrings and glutes to help keep your spine strong for the weight of your baby. 

By following these tips, you can stay fit and healthy during pregnancy!

Massive thanks to Rose. These tips are amazing! You can find rose on instagram @rosecherry_icnfigurepro