Nell McAndrew certainly not afraid of working out in pregnancy – wow!

Nell McAndrew has exclusively revealed her second pregnancy to HELLO! magazine. (Check it out now!)

No stranger to exercises – the model is 20 weeks pregnant and is keeping up her fitness regime by running six miles a day along with twice-weekly gym sessions!

You have probably realised by now that I advocate exercise in pregnancy 🙂 This story from Nell is a great example of how pre-pregnancy fitness levels inform how much activity you can do when you are expecting. A super fit 39 year old mum of one Nell was running 90 miles a week and was a seasoned long distance runner before she became pregnant again. In her case the amount of exercise she is doing is fine as long as she feels ok and makes sure she builds in some rest time. Also, that she listens to her body and tapers of her sessions a bit later on in her pregnancy. I say – well done Nell! Another fit mum changing preconceptions, I hope your pregnancy is a happy, healthy one.

Just remember if you aren’t as fit as Nell (and most of us aren’t), you will need to set your pregnancy exercise levels according to YOUR fitness and individual pregnancy circumstances 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!

Complete pregnancy and postnatal fitness plan on your ipad

I haven’t talked about it for a while but don’t forget you can buy The 3-plan: your complete pregnancy and postnatal exercise plan for your ipad for just £4.99!

Click here to buy from the apple bookstore

The 3-Plan is a comprehensive exercise plan with over 75 exercises and exercise combinations for pregnancy and the 9 month postnatal period. Flexible and easy to follow, the 3-Plan will have you feeling fab in just 3 hours a week! The only book you need from the first days of your pregnancy to slipping back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Enjoy your pregnancy, embrace your changing shape, get your body strong and healthy for a smooth labour and delivery and become fit, toned, healthy and full of energy as new mum.

Cheap | safe | effective | flexible | fun | for all levels | real results | flat tum – what more could you want from a pregnancy and new mum exercise plan?!

If you don’t want an ipad version and prefer good old fashioned paper then there are lots of other places to buy the book.

My app PregnancyFit 250 is live on the apple App store!

I can’t believe it – after months of hard work writing and developing the app it is now live for everyone to buy around the world! I wrote the app to be a useful tool for women in pregnancy; not just about exercise (although there are tons of tips about exercise!) but also about making sure you are getting all the right elements in your diet, you know what is going on with your (often strange) body and are mentally and practically prepared for the challenges ahead. I hope you like it and share it with your friends. More detail below…..

All the information you need for a fit, healthy pregnancy.

This pregnancy app gives you a daily tip, fact or snippet covering EVERYTHING you need to know about exercise, diet, staying sane, lifestyle and your body during pregnancy. You can view one a day, read them all in one go, search for something you are interested in or browse by category. Most tips are related to that point of your pregnancy, some are just plain interesting!

Includes:

  • what types of exercise are safe during pregnancy, including classes, types, equipment and how much you can do safely
  • exercise ideas
  • what you should and shouldn’t eat
  • common ailments and advice
  • what to expect from your changing body
  • lifestyle tips
  • recommendations for health, fitness and nutrition
  • postnatal advice
  • ideas to calm your mind
  • tips about labour and birth
  • practical tips
  • five myths busted

Tips are divided into five categories:

  • Body and common ailments
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Headspace and wellbeing
  • Lifestyle and practical

You can read what a Midwife of 20 years said and see some example tips on the app page.

Trimester 2: How you might be feeling, safety and exercise examples

How you might be feeling

You might be feeling any number of things during Trimester 2. You may be full of energy or still suffering from the ravages of morning sickness. Now that you have had your 12-week scan you can be sure that everything is OK (a huge relief!) and confidently get stuck into the 3-Plan – even if you haven’t exercised before. Just remember to go at your own pace and listen to your body. You may feel the baby moving or even get some practice contractions in the latter part of this trimester.

You may notice a line appearing on your tum; this is called the linea nigra and it fades after your baby is born. You might also have more bad wind, piles and varicose veins – oh the glamour! You are going to start looking pregnant sometime soon, if you don’t already. You might become a bit light-headed getting up and down, so take your time with transitions. Make the most of this time before your bump gets bigger and remember to try and enjoy every step of your pregnancy. Exercise will continue to make you feel good, strong and energised, so keep it up.

Trimester 2 safety

Avoid sit-ups, twisting too much, fancy footwork, lying on your back or front for too long and anything unbalanced. Most activities are still fine as long as you start to moderate the frequency and intensity.

Want some more? Try the book.