Read my answers to your pregnancy and postnatal exercise questions!

Fittamamma top

This week I have been working with the lovely ladies at Fittamamma (the UK’s first one-stop site for mums-to-be and new mums who want to stay fit and healthy, keep active and look good) and Babycentre to answer your questions about exercise during and after pregnancy.

Check out your questions and answers here and thank you to everyone that got in touch!

Questions include subjects like suitable exercises, c-section recovery, SPD and getting rid of the dreaded mummy tummy or skin flap! x

12 postnatal fit ball exercises for mums

In the same way that fit/gym/swiss balls (they have many names!) are great to exercise with during pregnancy they are perfect for new mums, particularly in the weeks and months following childbirth when you are gradually regaining your strength and fitness.

Your deep core muscles, back, surface abs and pelvic floor may all be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth and working out with the ball is perfect to aid their recovery. This is because anything you do on the ball is going to require you to balance and stabilise yourself using your deep abdominal muscles (or TVA – Transversus abdominis). You can also do a huge variety of exercises with a gym ball (especially if you also have a set of dumbbells) to work your whole body and keep your workouts interesting!

Check out my postnatal gym ball workout – 12 exercises to work your whole body:

http://www.bump2mumfitness.com/12-postnatal-fit-ball-exercises-for-new-mums/

Enjoy! x

Come and see me at the baby show on Friday!

I will be going along to the baby show this Friday at Earls Court in London to talk to all you lovely ladies about exercise in pregnancy.

I’ll be signing my book – The 3-Plan: Your Complete Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Plan and answering any questions about staying fit and healthy in pregnancy. I hope I can put your mind at rest and give you advice and confidence.

I’ll be on the Fittamamma stand (C25) wearing some of their beautiful pregnancy fitness clothes so come along and have a chat and get kitted out for a fit pregnancy. I am really looking forward to meeting you!

More about the show: www.thebabyshow.co.uk/earls-court

More about Fittamamma: www.fittamamma.com

Buy my book: www.bump2mumfitness.com/3-plan

Lucie x

Can I do sit ups during pregnancy?

The answer to this is yes and no!

You can carry on working your tummy muscles doing sit up style exercises up to around 16 weeks (or after the first trimester if they become any way uncomfortable). These will keep your rectus abdominis muscles (the top-most layer of abs) strong during early pregnancy. However, from the start of your pregnancy you should also be working your deep, core muscles (your transverses abdominis or ‘TVA’) and this is safe to continue for the whole of your pregnancy. You do this with moves like ab squeezes and superman raises (see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas), keeping your tummy muscles pulled in tight.

After 16 weeks you should avoid doing sit ups for two reasons.

  • Firstly, your bump will be growing and laying on your back for a prolonged period of time may make you feel light headed or restrict blood flow to your baby.
  • Secondly your rectus abdominis muscles will become thinner and weaker as your pregnancy progresses and your bump gets bigger. There’s nothing you can do about this! They may separate (diastasis recti) and doing sit-ups will make this worse and may cause a hernia.

You are much better of during trimester two and three focussing on working your core muscles and pelvic floor muscles using exercises which are stable and safe (again see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas). There will be plenty of time to do crunches until your heart’s content once your baby is born, although you need to wait until any abdominal separation has closed to less than two-fingers width.

I have seen a few web sites which recommend doing the plank during pregnancy. I would strongly advise against doing planks during pregnancy as the moves quickly raises the blood pressure and is pretty intense for most women with a bump (or without!) If you really want to continue then do a modified plank standing against the wall or on your knees.

Remember working your tummy won’t ‘squeeze’ your baby, give them less room or bring on labour. It will help your regain your shape more easily after the birth. Remember to try to do ab squeezes to work your floor and pelvic floor exercises most days; you’ll be glad you did!