Since becoming a gym owner, I’ve had the most wonderful experience training women that are pregnant. It wasn’t so long ago, that doctors told women to not do much of anything during their pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my son, I remember receiving a doctor’s note saying not to lift anything over 20 pounds. How times have changed! We now know that staying active is great for both momma and baby and can make pregnancy, labor, and delivery and recovery a much healthier and easier experience.
Any time we have an athlete tell us they are pregnant, we ensure their physician has deemed them healthy and not high-risk to continue. During the first trimester, we don’t change anything movement wise, unless the athlete feels uncomfortable doing anything. The thing I stress most, is LISTEN to your athlete and respect what she tells you. If you have a seasoned athlete who can push the intensity, it’s okay as their coach to reign them in as well or if you see they are struggling.
Once they are in the second trimester, I have athletes stop doing all core exercises such as sit-ups, toes to bar, plank and GHD sit-ups. While we can’t prevent diastasis recti from happening, we can ensure we don’t cause further abdominal separation by doing these movements. I also limit the amount of kipping athletes do while they are pregnant as well. The hormone Relaxin is produced by the ovary and placenta and it relaxes the ligaments and softens and widens the cervix. Those relaxed ligaments can cause an injury, so we keep moms from doing too much swinging. Most moms are feeling great during their second trimester however, and with the exception of core exercises we don’t limit training. A good rule of thumb that I tell mothers, is they should be able to speak if spoken to, while training.
During the third trimester, moms are showing much more, and at this point we change from conventional deadlifts to sumo deadlifts and we substitute dumbbells for barbells for the Olympic lifts because of bar path.
Because some moms will deal with coordination issues we also encourage all moms at this point to do box step-ups instead of jumps, and we encourage them to not do handstand pushups.
-Christina Spencer, CCFT