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What you need to know about exercise: Pregnancy-Postpartum to optimize your Autoimmune routine.



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Did you know Prenatal Exercise impacts your baby’s health and development?

We all know regular exercise is beneficial for our health, bone structure, and muscle building. It is especially important during pregnancy for a number of reasons--- BUT did you know that exercise benefits your baby too? Not just in the womb, but it can also directly affect positive neuromotor development and skills after birth.

In a study that looked into the reflexes, stationary, and locomotive abilities of 1-month infants--- it was gathered that the infants of mothers that had exercised 3 days a week had better development that those that did not. Why?

Exercising positively influences your baby’s developing systems which allows for improved neuromotor development.


So how does exercise have this effect?

Well, we could use some seriously fancy scientific terms --- but to shorten things down, prenatal exercise increases fetal nutrient supply – which ENHANCES fetal growth! How cool!!

So what does this mean?

With greater motor skills (from amazing fetal growth), infants will most likely develop faster and be more inclined to be physically active. They also will have improved abilities not only in day to day activities but also in sports (visions of Soccer Mama dancing in your head!).

This also translates into better brain development --- your little one may do better with critical thinking and therefore have higher achievements in schools.

What kinds of exercises are best suited for Pregnant Mamas?


When a woman is pregnant and wants to exercise, it is important to look at all aspects of her life in order to gauge what type of physical activity she is best suited for. These lifestyle factors range from previous exercise experiences, types of exercises she wants to do (because, FUN – duh!), medical diagnoses, and stage of pregnancy.

It is recommended that pregnant women get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, if not every day.

Low impact aerobics as opposed to high impact workouts are more highly recommended.


If a woman did not exercise before becoming pregnant and would like to start now (You GO Mama!!) it is not recommended to begin high intensity workouts that are unfamiliar --- A. because this is not the time to over-do yourself, and B. exercise should be fun – not terribly stressful!!

Some safe workouts for pregnant women include walking, swimming, cycling indoors, ellipticals, light aerobic workouts, or light to moderate strength training, prenatal yoga and palates.

Activities that require more swift movements such as jogging, tennis, and racquetball are considered safe, but again, only if the woman participated in them before becoming pregnant.



Activities that are not safe during pregnancy:


  • Jerky/bouncy movements that may cause a woman to lose her balance (gymnastics, skating, outdoor cycling).

  • Sports that put women at risk of getting hit in the belly (soccer, field hockey, other contact sports).

  • Exercises that put her at risk of hitting water at great force (water skiing, surfing, diving).

  • Exercising at high altitudes or lower pressure changes (in the mountains or scuba diving, sky diving).

  • Exercises that would make her body temperature too high (Bikram or hot yoga) or exercising in too hot/humid temperatures.

  • Exercises that cause you to lay on your back during the third trimester (where you sit may put pressure on a vein which may inhibit blood flow and decrease blood pressure which can be potentially dangerous).


Maternal Benefits to exercising while pregnant...


One of the benefits linked to exercise during pregnancy is the prevention of gestational diabetes as well as preeclampsia (a hypertensive condition during pregnancy that can only be solved with the birth of the baby--usually preterm – aka we want to do EVERYTHING to avoid it!!).


And...

Similar to when not pregnant, exercise can help with posture – yes, our chiropractors will be PROUD!

This is especially important with the extra stress pregnancy puts on a woman's body – AND better posture leads to the prevention of constipation, feet swelling, etc. that is commonly felt during pregnancy…


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How do I know if I'm ready for exercise Postpartum?





Many mothers get really excited thinking about jump-starting a postnatal exercise routine. This may be one of the first times that you are thinking about your own needs, rather than the needs of your new baby (COME ON, Mama self-care – woop woop!).


Often, new mothers return to exercise because they 'feel ready' or 'it's been a few months so I should be alright’ --- HOWEVER a new Mama NEEDS to be 100% confident in their inner core and pelvic floor health before beginning any type of training.

'Why should I be cautious when beginning to exercise post pregnancy?'

A new Mama’s inner core muscle changes usually revert back to 'normal' function approximately 4-6 weeks after childbirth.

However, each Mama is different, and some mothers take a longer time (and there is no shame in that!).

All inner cores heal uniquely in their own time...

Sometimes a mother's pelvic floor and abdominal region do not fully recover on their own or in a 'timely fashion' after birth simply because every Mama needs their own unique time to heal postpartum.

A new mother should refrain from beginning exercise before the abdominal region has fully healed.

If a new mother begins exercise prematurely (such as running, boot camps, yoga, palates, and weightlifting), it can lead to an increased risk of injury as well as possible pelvic health issues. For this reason, the pelvic floor should be strong before beginning any regular exercise routine (so make sure to be SUPER sure!).

THE BIG QUESTION: 'How do I know I am ready to exercise?'


The following are 5 steps to help understand if your inner core is as READY to exercise as you are.

  1. Make sure you aren't showing any signs that your inner core is NOT ready.

  2. Ask yourself if your body FEELS ready. If you try to jump a few times and your lower back hurts and you are unable to hold your pee in --- you are probably not ready for that local HITT class.

  3. Try the exercise-- but VERY GENTLY in the beginning. Even if you are feeling confident in starting your exercise routine, you may not have a clear grasp on the full health/strength of your core. While participating In your first exercise post-partum (be it lifting, Zumba, yoga, running, etc.) try to be AS INTUITIVE WITH YOUR BODY AS POSSIBLE! If there is any type of discomfort in your lower back or pelvic area.... your inner core may not be fully recovered.

  4. Increase your exercise intensity and frequency slowly and watch for symptoms. Because you have just completed your healing process, you will be more susceptible to injury. Watch for any subtle abnormalities as you progress with your workout routine.

  5. If you are indeed experiencing symptoms, take a break and re-evaluate your readiness. You may not need to stop exercise completely, and you may not need outside help. Simply reduce exercise to a level where you are not experiencing symptoms.


If symptoms do not come to a halt in a reasonable amount of time...

You should consider seeing a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist or your family physician. An assessment of your pelvic health will help you understand the cause of your pain, educate you on your possible risks, and will give you prevention and treatment strategies (including strengthening exercises) to help you get back to a normal post-partum exercise routine (which is 100% the goal!!).

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With Love,

Coaches Mikayla and Cassie <3



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