There are 3 primary goals most often mentioned by pregnant women who wish to get fit/stay fit during their pregnancy:
ONE: Become as healthy as possible in order to have a healthy baby
TWO: Develop the fitness level and skills to have an event-free labor and birth
THREE: To have the quickest possible recovery and rapid return to pre-pregnancy weight and shape
The IFPA Women’s Fitness Instructor Certification Course provides you with the knowledge, skills and abilities a personal trainer or group fitness instructor needs to manage the fitness goals of pregnant women safely and effectively. One recommendation in the course is for you to provide your client the following list of General Safety Guidelines for exercise while pregnant; make sure they understand and follow each of the listed 14 guidelines:
– Don’t work out so hard that you cant catch your breath or you feel you are burning up.
– Don’t exercise if you have a fever.
– If you experience bleeding or a large amount of discharge, see your care provider.
– If you are constantly light-headed, are seeing stars, or have an ongoing headache, see care provider.
– If you have swelling in your face and hands, see care provider.
– If you experience regular contractions or cramps that continue when you stop exercising, drink four glasses of water, void your bladder, and relax on your side; see care provider.
– Avoid lying on your back after the 3rd or 4th month; avoid standing still on your feet for more than 20 to 30 minutes; and do not suddenly change your position.
– Avoid fatigue, overtraining, and binge exercise.
– Avoid motions that produce discomfort or pain.
– Eat often in small amounts, and include proteins (eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, meat, soy, and beans and rice together).
– Drink at least 8 cups of water a day and avoid hot, humid situations.
– Wear good shoes, dress in layers, and make sure any equipment you use is in good condition.
– Take a rest on your side during the day in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
– Professional or competitive athletes or dancers and their fetuses should be carefully monitored by their care providers.
The 4 Components of Fitness that have the greatest impact on helping a pregnant woman achieve her goals are:
2. Aerobic Endurance
3. Anaerobic Endurance
Strength, Anaerobic Endurance and Flexibility Exercise Prescription for pregnant women require knowledge, skills and abilities beyond the scope of this article; however, a cautious, knowledgeable and experienced IFPA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer or IFPA Certified Group Fitness Instructor should have the skill to prepare an exercise prescription for an active pregnant woman (1st & 2nd trimester) who has doctors clearance to exercise. The exercise prescription is as follows:
Frequency: 3-7 days/week
Intensity: RPE 10-13
Time: 30-60 minutes
Type: Walking, stationary cycling, recreational swimming, water aerobics, prenatal aerobic/exercise class, low-impact/low intensity aerobics, beginning levels of modern dance, belly dancing, ballroom dancing, prenatal yoga, Tai Chi, and badminton (friendly, non-competitive game).
Remember to always check with the doctor since a problem could arise at any point during the pregnancy.
Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA