Pregnancy training in Dubai – a Q&A answered by our expert female personal trainer in Dubai.
- Many pregnant women in Dubai want to exercise during their pregnancy. Either to continue with their current exercise routines or by starting a new exercise routine to maintain their weight. In general, is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Pregnant women must get an approval from healthcare professional before conducting any training, even if the woman had been training before pregnancy. In this case, training for maintaining fitness is advisable.
First three months (first trimester) are critical time for fetal development, therefore, women should not exercise or do minimal during that time if they have been exercising before. The nervous system, sensory system and main organs are formed during this time, and overheating or the production of access lactic acid by the mother can have severe adverse effects on these developments. Most women will feel fatigue at this time, and must be cautious, as miscarriage is very common in this period of pregnancy.
If woman starts to feel better during second trimester, light-moderate activity can be carried out but with the approval of her doctor.
- Main benefits for prenatal women exercising during their pregnancy.
There are many benefits of moderate-controlled exercise during pregnancy those include:
- Reduced back pain
- Improved posture and
- Reduction of pregnancy symptoms including constipation, varicose veins and leg cramps; a faster postnatal recovery; control of access weight gain and enhanced and psychological well-being;
- Better circulation
- Improved sleep patterns
- Enhanced self-image and confidence
- Increased body awareness
- Beneficial effect on the course and outcome of labor
- Increased maternal wellbeing
- Decreased stress, anxiety and fatigue
- Maintenance of cardiovascular and muscular fitness
- How early on during pregnancy can women start a new training schedule?
It is generally not advised for previously unexperienced, pregnant woman to start training routine in the first trimester (1-14 weeks) as that’s when fetus is developed and there is an increased risk of miscarriage. During the second trimester, if the woman feels better and doctor allows the training, fitness regime can be started from light aerobic exercises, with no impact, and resistance training to improve postural deviations.
- For women in Dubai who already exercise and train regularly do they need to change their exercise routines and if so why?
There are few things that must be adjusted for experienced women if they want to continue training. The main focus of training will be fitness and weight maintenance, rather than improved performance and weight loss. Women must avoid intense anaerobic training, as it can cause overheating and can be potentially dangerous for the fetus.
As there are multiple changes in a pregnant woman’s body like increased body temperature and breathlessness. A woman will require more time to rest than before pregnancy. Supine and prone positions are contraindicated, as well as resistance exercises for abdominal muscles. With presence of the hormone relaxin in the body, joints become more mobile, and overstretching can cause injuries. Therefore, stretches must be short and joint mobility exercises must be avoided.
- As a prenatal personal trainer in Dubai how often would you recommend women exercise to maintain a healthy weight?
Average weight gain during the pregnancy is recommended to be 11kg, some women put on much more, which may have more problems afterwards in regaining original weight and going back to the previous shape.
Prenatal women in Dubai should aim for 3 times per week of to exercise in a light and moderate manner: such as yoga, Pilates.
Walking can be done up to 5 times per week.
Nutrition will play an important part in maintaining healthy weight, and “eating for 2” is not justified in this period. Women can add maximum up to 300 Cal and mainly as a carbohydrate snack.
- Weight gain is of course part of being pregnant and while weight gain shouldn’t be a primary concern are there any tips or advice you can provide to help pregnant women in Dubai to avoid excessive weight gain?
As I have already mentioned above, up to 11kg weight gain is considered normal during pregnancy. Fat storage is increased during this period, which will be part of weight-gain, a part of growing fetus. Regular to light-moderate intensity exercise and additional of up to 300 Cal to daily intake will be sufficient to keep the woman away from excessive weight gain. Women must always focus on nutritious sources of food: vegetables, fruit, grains and lean proteins. Processed food must be minimal as a common rule both as before, during and after pregnancy.
- What are the best exercises for pregnant women and can you explain why you think each one helps?
The main focus for pregnant woman must be to stabilize pelvic floor, in order to avoid further complications, as growth of fetus will put pressure on pelvic floor muscles.
There are postural changes for pregnant women and many women will suffer from lower back pain due to the shift of center of gravity. Upper back muscles become lengthened and chest muscles tighter, therefore, one of the main focus of resistance training must be on strengthening back muscles and stretching chest muscles.
- Because exercise and training need to be done with caution are there any types of exercise in Dubai that should be avoided during pregnancy?
The main focus during pregnancy must be on maintaining fitness levels and posture. Resistance training must focus on good form, with more reps and lighter weight. Heavy lifting is not advisable as it puts a lot of pressure on linea alba and already unstable joints.
Any form of high intensity and overtraining is not advisable during this period, as it can cause overheating. Prenatal Yoga and Pilates are more suitable forms of exercises, as they are lower intensity and focused on controlled movement.
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