Whether you should or shouldn’t train and exercise during your pregnancy in Dubai is often a topic of debate. Many women (even under medical advice) choose to stay fit and healthy during their prenatal term by taking moderate exercise daily.
If you’re confused by the conflicting advice you may be getting from friends, family and other internet sources this article from a professional prenatal personal trainer in Dubai will help clears thing up.
As always, if you think you might be pregnant and you train regularly it’s always a good idea to have a word with your medical professional too.
Q1: 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. In general, is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
As a personal trainer who works with pregnant women in Dubai I always advise my client that they need to get approval from their healthcare professional before conducting any training, even if the woman had been training before pregnancy.
This is always a precautionary measure that all pregnant women should take because pregnancy does change the body in so many way.
Of course it’s perfectly safe to continue your training when you are pregnant. In fact it’s healthy for you and your baby to do so.
The first three months (first trimester) are a critical time for fetal development, therefore, care should be taken. This is why you should always use a fitness professional with experience in training ladies who are pregnant.
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 regained.
Q2: What are the main benefits for prenatal women when it comes to exercising during their pregnancy?
There are various advantages of moderate controlled exercise during pregnancy, including:
Reduced back pain, improved posture, 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 labour; increased maternal wellbeing; decreased stress, anxiety and fatigue; maintenance of cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
Q3: How early on during pregnancy can women in Dubai start a new training schedule?
It is generally not advised for previously inexperienced 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.
However, if you have been training before you became pregnant you can continue to train but always under supervision. Of course your training schedule and what it involves will need to be adjusted accordingly.
During the second trimester, if the mother-to-be feels better and her doctor allows the training a new fitness plan can be started from light aerobic exercises, with no impact, and resistance training to improve postural deviations.
It’s important to listen to your body. If an exercise feels uncomfortable or you feel discomfort in any way stop doing that exercise.
Q4: 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 women who have previous training experience if she wants to continue training.
The main focus of prenatal personal 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 baby.
As there are multiple changes in woman’s body during pregnancy including increased body temperature, breathlessness even experienced woman will require more time to rest than before pregnancy.
Supine and prone positions are contraindicated, as well as resistance exercises for abdominal muscles.
During pregnancy there is an increased presence of 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.
Q5: As a prenatal personal trainer in Dubai how often would you recommend women exercise to maintain a healthy weight?
The average weight gain during pregnancy is recommended to be 11kg. However, some women put on much more, which is why some women have problems getting back to their original weight and losing the ‘baby bulge’.
Exercising during your pregnancy in Dubai can help you manage your weight but for safety reasons you shouldn’t be looking at this in terms of ‘dieting’ Nutrition will play an important part in maintaining healthy weight, and “eating for 2” is not justified in this period.
Q6: 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 already mentioned, up to 11kg weight gain is considered normal during pregnancy. Fat storage is increased during this period, which will be part of weight-gain.
Regular light-moderate intensity exercise and an additional 300kal daily intake will be sufficient to keep most women away from excessive weight gain.
For the health benefits you 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.
Q7: What are the best exercise for pregnant women and can you explain why you think each one helps?
The main focus for pregnant woman must be in stabilizing their pelvic floor in order to avoid further complications. As the baby grows this will put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles so keeping these muscles in good shape is a must.
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.
As well as resistance training exercise types like Pilates, Yoga and even swimming can all help with prenatal discomfort.
Q8: Because exercise and training needs to be done with caution are there any types of exercise in Dubai that should be avoided during pregnancy?
The main focus when it comes to fitness during pregnancy must be on maintaining fitness levels and posture.
Resistance training should 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 over-training is not advisable during this period, as this can cause overheating.
Prenatal Yoga and Pilates are more suitable forms of exercises, as they are lower intensity and focused on controlled movement.