Here’s How Pregnancy Is a Life-Changing Experience
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience in many ways. None more so than the various natural adaptive changes that occur when you are pregnant. These changes will affect your body, your lifestyle, your weight, your comfort levels, and your sleep.
Here are just some of the ways these various changes will impact on you. AND what’s more important, is that you know how these changes will impact on your prenatal workouts and what changes must be made with each trimester.
You May Experience Increased Low-Back and Pelvic Pain
• The weight of your growing breasts may cause your shoulders to become rounded and lean forward.
• The weight of your growing foetus can result in your pelvis being pulled forward into an anterior pelvic tilt (lordosis) position.
• Throughout each trimester, you may experience pregnancy-related pelvic-girdle pain and lower back pain.
You Will Experience Increased Body Weight
• A woman will gain, on average, around 0.29 kilogram (0.64 pound) of weight per week in her lower trunk area (Jensen, Doucet & Treitz 1996).
• A pregnant woman will gain approximately 25–35 pounds of weight overall at a rate of roughly 1 pound per week in the second and third trimesters (ACOG 2013).
• As a result of this increased weight gain, your balance will be significantly impacted.
Therefore, there are some exercises that you were able to safely do pre-pregnancy that you should avoid when pregnant. Losing your balance when pregnant and falling over is something you need to avoid.
You Will Experience Postural Changes
• Pregnancy strongly impacts your stabilizing muscles. As your belly grows with each week of pregnancy, your abdominal muscles are gradually lengthened over your growing uterus.
• Your rectus abdominis muscles can often separate resulting in a condition known as diastasis recti.
• As your abdominals lose tone, they become less effective in being able to maintain correct posture thus leading to pregnancy back pain.
• Prenatal workouts should aim to effectively recruit and use three important groups of muscular stabilizers: the hip abductors and rotators, the deep abdominals, and the scapular stabilizers (Boyle 2004).
• Your hip stabilizers will also be impact by unusual stressors. Research (Foti, Davis & Bagley 2000) has shown that the physical adaptations of pregnancy were likely to place additional demand on hip-abductors, hip-extensors and ankle plantar flexors when walking.
You May Experience Increased Joint Laxity
• When pregnant, your body produces more of the hormone relaxin, which essentially causes your ligaments to relax.
• Relaxin production increases tenfold throughout pregnancy, peaking between weeks 38 and 42 (Calguneri, Bird & Wright 1982).
• This occurs significantly in the pelvis, hips and low back (Clapp & Cram 2012).
• The purpose of this is to accommodate your growing uterus as well as preparing a woman to give birth vaginally.
• From a prenatal workout perspective, caution is advised during stretches.
Being empowered with this knowledge should motivate you to seek professional medical and health care advice that you need and deserve when it comes to your health.
We use scientific research and recommendations form the governing bodies such as ACOG as a basis for exercise prescription for our clients.