Pregnancy and training

Posted by: slavila

Pregnancy and training - 04/23/06 02:31 AM

I was wondering if there are any women out there who have trained while pregnant. If so, how long did you train and what kind of restrictions did you have? We are thinking of trying for our third baby, and I know I would really miss karate if I had to give it up for 9 months!! Thanks
Posted by: still wadowoman

Re: Pregnancy and training - 04/23/06 06:23 AM

I did some research on this subject and wrote the following when one of my students became pregnant. This was a few years ago so PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.

As long as all is going well, it is not only safe to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy, doing so has many benefits . The healthier and fitter you are, the easier your pregnancy, delivery and recovery afterwards will be.

However, there are certain exercises that you should not do and others that you may need to do differently.

This leaflet outlines the changes you may have to make to your exercise schedule.

The first thing you should do is tell your instructor/coach that you are pregnant., and if they have no experience of teaching someone who is pregnant, you can show them this leaflet so you can adjust your training schedule accordingly.

You should also consult your GP
And take on board any further advice he/she may offer.

Aerobic Exercise should be limited to low impact only. This means that for example GENTLE jogging is fine as long as it causes no discomfort but star jumps etc. are definitely out.

As your pregnancy progresses, and jogging becomes uncomfortable, marching and later, walking instead will be safer options.

If you practice martial arts, any technique that requires both feet to leave the floor at the same time i.e. jumping kicks are to be avoided.

You should avoid forced passive stretches such as reaching for your toes whilst standing and all hamstring stretches. This is because the pregnancy hormones soften the joints, so overstretching and muscle injury is a greater risk. GENTLE stretching either standing with bent knees or sitting are fine.

You also need to protect your back and abdominal muscles by using good posture and by avoiding exercise that will strain them. For instance, when doing sit-ups, you should place a cushion under one hip (pregnant women should not lie flat on their back for long periods) and keeping both feet on the floor with both knees bent, sit up until you can touch your knees with your fingertips. These should be done GENTLY and you should stop at the first sign of discomfort.

If your workout normally includes press ups, you can continue to do them if you do so on your knees with your body weight over your arms. You should stop if you experience any discomfort in the abdomen or in the knees. Do not do full press ups.

If you are doing leg raises, do not lift both legs off the floor at the same time. Keep one foot on the floor with your knee bent. Again place a cushion under one hip so you are not lying flat.

If you are a martial artist, obviously all contact or risk of contact should be avoided completely. You can perform line basics, and kata/forms/hyangs/poomse but as pregnancy progresses you may need to do them slower and in higher stances. Towards the end of term, you will probably need to do them at the speed of a tai chi set. Be guided by your body and stop anything that causes discomfort immediately. You should not do any throws or takedowns on your partner in case their body weight/momentum takes you with it.


PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD AVOID BEING BREATHLESS FOR LONG PERIODS. THIS IS BECAUSE YOU COULD BE DEPRIVING YOUR BABY OF OXYGEN. If you feel yourself becoming breathless slow down and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly and deeply until you recover.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Remember that even in the beginning, your body is working overtime to sustain two people.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are experiencing discomfort, your body is telling you something. Stop the exercise you are doing and tell your instructor immediately. Pregnancy is not the time to test your endurance limit!

Pelvic Floor Exercises

These exercises are crucial throughout pregnancy and beyond. You can do them at any time without anyone knowing. All you do is contract the muscles around the urethra, vagina and rectum as though you are trying to stop urinating. You should do them several times a day.

If you are not sure that you are doing them right, try to stop urinating whilst you are on the loo or do them whilst making love and ask your partner if they can feel the muscle contractions.

After the birth

Unless you have had a Caesarean , You can start gentle exercise including sit ups (starting with just 2 or 3 at a time and increasing gradually) within a couple of days.
Once you have been given the all clear at your six week check up and you are happy to leave your baby you can
slowly and gradually resume your normal exercise regime.

Again, please consult your doctor as you may have special circumstances that I am unaware of and current medical thinking may have changed since the above was written.

I hope it helps.
Posted by: Cord

Re: Pregnancy and training - 04/23/06 08:21 AM

As a cover all policy, Sharon's post is excellent. However i would add, that more important than heart rate in exercise, is your temperature. Getting overheated draws blood away from the core (womb), whilst 140 bpm will prevent overheating for most women, if you are unfit/inactive it may be too much, and a highly trained lady may be able to work at relatively higher levels. Pregnancy is never the time to start training, or attempt to get fitter (this is a knee jerk wish for some who panick about loss of figure, and aim for a pre-emptive strike), merely maintain where you are in regards to fitness.
For long periods of cardio, you want to work on prolonged intervals- 10-15 mins in a low /moderate cardio zone, then 5-10 mins low steady pace to allow a cooldown before the next period of exertion.
Avoid inner/outer thigh machines,(you know, the undignified ones)and be carefull with shoulder work in the gym. Your hormones weaken all your ligaments during preganancy, even though the target is the pubis symphysis- the ligament that holds the pelvis together (it has to break open to allow the babies head to pass through ). These hormones make the joints hyper mobile and unstable- especially your hips and shoulders (both ball and socket joints).

As the baby develops, so it becomes more robust,so the safe limits change a bit dependant on trimester. In a gym I used to work at we had a competetive distance runner who did 10 miles on an eliptical trainer the day before she gave birth to a healthy baby boy!

Guidelines are good, but now is also the time to listen to your body, respect your new limitations and adapt to training for 2
Posted by: still wadowoman

Re: Pregnancy and training - 04/23/06 08:47 AM

Thanks for the clarification cord. My post was aimed ONLY at women who already train and then become pregnant.
Posted by: Cord

Re: Pregnancy and training - 04/23/06 02:40 PM

And a mighty good post it is too ma'am
Posted by: clmibb

Re: Pregnancy and training - 09/20/06 12:31 AM

I know this post is a little on the old side but I thought I'd share my story as well. I've had two kids and trained all the way through until my 8th month. With my son my doctor was a little unsure simply because he never had a martial artist asa patient. He told me to just be cautious and don't go hog wild, no sparring and take frequent breaks so my body temp wouldn't get too high. With my daughter he was a little more relaxed and said that I knew my body best (after all it was mine for 25 years at that point) and to be careful. He urged me to stop two weeks before my due date. Both my kids are happy and healthy. My doctor also said that I did better than most first time moms in the delivery room because I was in excellent condition (my son was born in 45 minutes when the average first time delivery is 1 1/2 hours). My daughter was born in 20 minutes. Again because I was training hard before I got pregnant with her and trained as hard as I could during pregnancy. Talk with your doc first and if they are ok with it then go ahead and train away!!!
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: Pregnancy and training - 09/21/06 12:07 AM

I have never experienced this, but have seen a couple of women that continued into their 9 month. They had trained before they were with child & continued. Of course they did it under the care & guidance of their doctor. One even competed in a tournament, patterns only, no sparing. I don't remember how she did.

Good luck!
Posted by: UKfightfreak

Re: Pregnancy and training - 08/16/07 06:08 PM

I'm glad I'm a bloke!?!?!

Interesting posts though everyone
Posted by: bjjxprt09

Re: Pregnancy and training - 08/21/09 01:37 PM

My wife trained until the 7th month but then she developed SI joint pain and decided it was time to stop. Delivery was fine and our baby is healthy. I think she would have trained for another month if she didn't have SI joint problems.
Posted by: mrlee

Re: Pregnancy and training - 07/31/10 03:22 PM

My wife found out she was pregnant in December last year, continued to train very lightly in kickboxing though.
Posted by: MassPadawan

Re: Pregnancy and training - 02/08/17 01:37 PM

My wife continued to train really lightly for about 2-3 months into the pregnancy. Thank stopped. She will return after that wink
Posted by: Max8811

Re: Pregnancy and training - 08/14/17 11:23 AM

Low training is ok, i don't think heavy training is a good idea. The doctor said everyday my sister should have a bit walking. That would be easier when she give birth.
She is 4 month pregnant and has stopped taekwondo for pregnacy.
She will come back.