STRONGMom Training Guide
Working out before, during, and after pregnancy has incredible benefits for both the mom and the baby! Some of the benefits may be:
- Reduce risk of complications like developing gestational diabetes, unplanned cesarean sections, high blood pressure
- Help prepare the body for labor and delivery
- Easier post-delivery recovery
- Boost mood and energy; reduce risk of depression and anxiety
- Less pain and aches like lower back and pelvic pain
- Improve sleep and fight fatigue
- Relieve constipation
- ACOG’s recommendation on exercise during pregnancy is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. This can be divided up into shorter workouts, like 5 times 30 minutes per week and can include both strength training and cardiovascular workouts.
- Always listen to your body’s signals! If you feel any discomfort, pain, or any unusual feelings please back off.
- Please follow the instructions. Start the workouts with warm up, followed by the workout, and then cool down and stretching.
- Drink plenty of water, eat nutritious food, dress in comfortable workout clothes, invest in a well-fitted bra to give you breast support, and wear supportive shoes.
We are here for you! Please contact STRONGMom’s Head Coach Tilda, email@example.com, with any questions or concerns. Please allow a 24 hour response on a weekday.
Posture and Alignment
A good posture during the pregnancy is an important factor to a healthy pregnancy. As the body naturally changes during the pregnancy the alignment can change along with it. So stand tall with neutral back. Tuck the chin gently and keep the shoulders down and back. Avoid slouching forward, tilting your pelvis forward or backward, or locking your knees. Strive to maintain good posture both while performing the exercises and throughout the day.
Pay attention to your breathing during the workouts. Do not hold your breath. Breathe comfortably and naturally, without forcing the breath. Breathe in all the way to the pelvic floor, then breathe out comfortably. Connect your body with the breath while exercising.
We mention “activate your core” often during the exercises. We would like you to gently activate the core by gently “wrapping” the core muscles. Please do not hold your breath or draw the belly button in too aggressively, just a gentle activation of the deep core muscles to maintain proper posture and core stabilization. The deep core muscles (Transverse Abdominals, TA) work together with the pelvic floor (PF), diaphragm, and the deep low back muscles, multifidus. That these muscles are working correctly together during and after pregnancy is a very important factor to avoid injuries, complications, and pain.
Start healthy habits and build a solid foundation before you get pregnant to give both you and the baby the best start.
Working out during the pregnancy has great benefits for both you and the baby! Maintain strength and stamina to avoid complications and discomfort that can occur during pregnancy.
Exercise after pregnancy will help with your recovery and rebuilding your body. It can also boost your mood and energy by releasing feel-good hormones. When can you start working out after delivery? This answer is very individual and it depends on a few factors: How active were you during the pregnancy? Did you have a vaginal birth or C-section? Did you have have any complications during the pregnancy or during labor? Generally speaking you can start with the program “After pregnancy, level 1”, a couple of days after labor or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section the recovery is slightly longer. The “After pregnancy level 1”, program includes gentle exercises that help you retrain and reconnect with your body and recover safely. Please consult with your physician at your check-up visit if you are unsure or have questions.
After Pregnancy Care
We strongly recommend seeing a physical therapist or a physiotherapist who specializes in pre/postnatal care and has special training in diastasis recti, pelvic floor dysfunction, and other complications that could occur after pregnancy. This is especially important if you experience any of these situations below:
- Diastasis recti
- If you are leaking urine or stool
- If you have pressure or heaviness on the pelvic floor
- If you have any pain in your hips, pelvic floor, or lower back?
- If you feel pain during sex?
Vaginal delivery. Every delivery is different and so is the recovery. You might experience bleeding, cramps, and discomfort 3-5 weeks after labor. If you had a perineal tear or an episiotomy the healing might take longer.
Cesarean. A C-section can be planned or unplanned and usually the recovery is slightly longer than vaginal delivery. You might experience bleeding, cramping, and pain in the insertion 5-8 weeks after delivery. Avoid heavy lifting, carrying, and strenuous exercise during the recovery.
Diastasis recti—abdominal separation. Most women, if not all, have some degree of separation of the rectus abdominal muscles in the late stages of pregnancy and after pregnancy. In many cases the separation will go back to normal or close to it, but in some cases the separation stays and could lead to some complications. We recommend seeing a professional who can measure and diagnose the conditin.
Pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues support the pelvis and the organs within it. You can strengthen these muscles by doing “Kegels”. See Kegel exercise description in the After Pregnancy program. Kegels are not for everyone. If you have tight or overactivated pelvic floor muscles you might be better off retraining your muscles to relax and release rather than contracting.
Pelvic organs prolapse. The bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum are supported and held in place by the pelvic floor muscles, tissues, and ligaments. If these muscles weaken or stretch out the organs can bulge and droop down out of the vagina. If you have pain or pressure in the pelvis or lower back, urinary problems like leaking or feel the need to urinate constantly, constipation, or painful sex, we strongly recommend that you contact a pelvic floor specialist.