Pregnancy Fitness Quiz
How much do you know? As you know, here at Project-B, we want to help maintain your wellbeing throughout your pregnancy with products and expert advice. You may have spotted information from our lovely resident pre and post natal fitness expert Dr. Joanna Helcke on our Facebook page. Here Joanna quizzes us all on our pregnancy fitness knowledge! Take two minutes to answer true or false to the questions below and then read on for Joanna’s answers on how to stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy.
1. Now that I am pregnant it is important that I increase my fitness levels as I was unfit beforehand.
2. In the first trimester it is fine to exercise at a high intensity because I don’t yet have a bump.
3. I should start doing my pelvic floor exercises at least three times a day from the moment I know I am pregnant.
4. Yoga is the best exercise for pregnancy.
5. I used to train with weights but now that I am pregnant I must stop using weights.
6. My abdominals are being affected by pregnancy so it is important that I keep them strong by doing sit-ups, planks etc.
7. If I end up having a C section my pelvic floor will not be affected and so I won’t need to do pelvic floor exercises once I have given birth.
8. It is important not to exercise when I am feeling fatigued.
9. I feel faint when I get up from a seated position or from the floor, so it is best that I do not exercise.
10. Once into the second trimester of pregnancy I should avoid exercises which involve lying on my back.
How did you get on? Check out Joanna’s answers and expert advice below.
1. False. Pregnancy is a time for maintaining fitness and not increasing your fitness levels, especially if you have been inactive up until now. So go easy with your fitness rather than going into overdrive!
2. False. Although you don’t yet look pregnant, the first trimester is absolutely crucial in terms of the development of the foetus. There is so much going on and so much being created. Given this, it is important not to go all out on the fitness front – no bootcamps, no high intensity circuits, no HIIT training – no least because overheating is not good for the development of your baby.
3. True. Yes, you might not like to hear this but it’s important to start building up your pelvic floor muscles as soon as possible. They are in for a hard time!
4. False. Yoga has lots of benefits, such as improving posture and calming the mind but it also focuses greatly on stretching and lengthening the body. In pregnancy, your joints are much more vulnerable than usual to injury and you are significantly more likely to suffer from backache, pelvic pain and general aches. Given this, exercise which actively strengthens the muscles – rather than increasing flexibility – is perfect: weight bearing exercise such as walking, pregnancy Pilates, resistance work etc.
5. False. If you trained with weights right up to the start of pregnancy, and if you know that you have excellent technique, then you can carry on using weights during pregnancy. They will help keep your joints safe by strengthening the surrounding muscles. Naturally, if you are experiencing any complications, then all forms of exercise might be contraindicated by your health care practitioners.
6. False. Yes, your abdominals are going to lengthen, stretch and weaken. They have to, so what on earth is the point of trying to stop this from happening? So ditch the traditional abdominal exercises and start doing pregnancy Pilates-type exercises. Why? Because these will keep the deepest layer of abdominals gently toned and in turn, this will help with your postnatal recovery.
7. False. Your pelvic floor will have been under assault for 9 months during pregnancy. Don’t forget that your baby is growing during pregnancy and that this places ever greater pressure on your pelvic floor. So, bin the idea that pelvic floor exercises are only necessary for those who have a natural birth. We all need to be doing them.
8. True. Yes, it sounds corny but when pregnant please listen to your body, and if you are having a tired day, then don’t force yourself to exercise. Instead, curl up with a good book and have a duvet day! Your body will thank you for it.
9. False. Many people feel faint during pregnancy and this is due to what is called vascular under-fill. Put simply, when you fall pregnant your body produces high levels of the hormone relaxin, and this causes your blood vessels to dilate. In turn, the blood vessels – especially in early pregnancy – will, quite literally, be not full enough (hence the “under-fill”) causing a drop in blood pressure which will make you feel faint. Despite this, it does not mean that you should not exercise. You do, however, need to follow this advice: if exercising on the floor, get up slowly as this will help reduce feelings of faintness; don’t do exercise which involves getting up and down all the time; don’t do exercise which involves a great deal of standing in a static position.
10. True. Lying on your back for any length of time once your baby has grown out of your pelvis is not advised. It is liable to make you feel faint as your baby will be pressing down and stopping the flow of blood. So stick to exercise which is standing, on all fours or lying on your side.
So there you have it! Your pregnancy fitness is now spot on and you should be ready to get going. Make the most of it and keep yourself happy, healthy and fit!
Project-B are delighted that their pregnancy fitness expert, Dr Joanna Helcké, has been shortlisted for Fitness Professional of the Year. If you would like to help her get to the finals you can vote on www.fitpro.com/live14 by scrolling down the page until you find her picture. From all the Team at Project-B “Good luck Jo!”