Mum and bump prenatal fitness – the new normal

We are always excited at Kalila when we see good press about pregnancy fitness and encouraging mums to stay active during and after pregnancy. The physiological and psychological benefits of exercise are well documented in everyday life and yet there is a common misconception that this all has to stop as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. We’re encouraged to sit down, take the weight off, not to over do it, which is all great advice but, and there is a big bump of a but….why can’t we just carry on as normal with our fitness routines? Does being pregnant have to signal the end of all things active?

Well the answer is a resounding No! Not from us at Kalila but from the women of the world at large. Social media is awash with pregnant women posting images of themselves working out. In the gym. In the pool. Running laps. Doing yoga. Lifting weights. It seems no sport is off bounds. And why should it be if practiced carefully and with the ok from your doctor. The common guidance is that (unless otherwise advised by your doctor), it is generally safe to continue with activities that you participated in pre-pregnancy. Even sedentary women are often advised to start gentle walking during pregnancy so it’s a myth that you can’t start a new exercise program. It’s more a case of being sensible. Many mums move towards prenatal yoga and swimming classes which offer added benefits of core support, breathe-work and planning for birth as well as maintaining overall fitness but many women just want to do what they’ve always done. And they’re doing just that!

Female athletes are leading the charge and showing the world that pregnancy does not have to be career defining. More and more professional athletes are taking career breaks to have children and coming back stronger to win medals. Britain’s Paula Radcliffe pioneered marathon running in pregnancy and went on to win the NY marathon  shortly afterward the birth of her first child. Serena Williams stormed to victory in this year’s Australian open final whilst in the first trimester of pregnancy and reports claim to plans to defend her title next year. These and more stories were recently covered in a brilliant BBC article on pregnancy and how sports stars bounce back after the births of their children.

For the rest of us, we may not be aiming for an olympic medal but that’s not to say that maintaining our mental and physical equilibrium during pregnancy isn’t just as important. Research suggests that staying fit and active during pregnancy can positively contribute to the long-term health of your child giving even more motivation to stay active. Furthermore, it can help prepare the body for the changing shape of pregnancy, for the physical exertions of birth itself and for regaining shape post partum. And lets not forget the social aspect. Prenatal fitness is a great opportunity to meet other new mums-to-be and build a friendship network ahead of the birth of your child. Check out our Kalila prenatal 20 min cardio workout for inspiration and our prenatal yoga page.