Exercise in Pregnancy – A Primal Guide

Exercise in Pregnancy – A Primal Guide

by | Oct 22, 2013 | Exercises, Movement, Movement in Pregnancy | 0 comments

What do pregnant women and new mums need to know about exercising safely for the health of themselves and their babies? How much exercise is enough or too much? Which types of exercise are best and which should be avoided? Here’s your primal guide to exercising in pregnancy.

Internal body temperature

When exercising during pregnancy, you are essentially exercising for 2 people! Hence there are several things you need to think about. Pregnancy is not the time to start sculpting a new body. It is a time for maintenance only. Keeping your internal temperature regulated is very important to prevent overheating the foetus. If you are not very in sync with your body and do not know how to perceive your rate of exertion effectively, you can wear a heart rate monitor to provide this feedback. The average beats per minute you should aim to keep it below is 150bpm or a 7/10 on the exertion scale, 10 being a full on workout!

Pregnancy hormones and hip flexibility

During this time it is important not to load your joints past their passive range of motion. This is because the hormones Relaxin and Elastin are both elevated during this time. These hormones soften up the ligaments, tendons and connective tissue to allow the baby’s head to come through the birth canal, so your joints can become around 10 times as loose as they usually are which can lead to hypermobility, especially if you already score high on the 9 point flexibility test. Injuries can then become commonplace, hence reduce the depth and intensity of your exercise and don’t excessively hold stretches for a long period of time.

Supine hypertensive syndrome

When lying down on your back (supine position) for 2 minutes or more, the weight of the baby can press down on the inferior vena cava which blood from the pregnant uterus flows. This increased pressure can be transmitted to the placenta and could compromise fetal blood flow in the gas-exchange area, thereby limiting oxygen supply to the fetus. Therefore, it’s best to choose exercises that don’t have you lying on your back for more than a minute or so, especially as you get further along in the pregnancy.

pregnancy exercises how much is too much

Exercise intensity in pregnancy: how much is too much?
Pic from cnn.com

Exercise intensity

How intense your exercise during this part of your life is, is dependent on your original fitness levels. I’ve known plenty of personal training friends of mine to still be exercising and teaching classes even on their labour day! Know your body and monitor changes and symptoms.

The importance of stability

As you progress through the trimesters and your weight increases, it is important to realise that your center of gravity has now moved, and stability will play a more important role with you every day. Exercise using equipment that assists in your stabilisation will be an important thing to consider.

Great pregnancy exercises

pregnancy exercises swiss ball supported squats

Swiss ball supported squats against the wall
Pic from fittamamma.com

pregnancy exercises supine hip extension on swiss ball

Supine hip extension on swiss ball
Pic: womenshealthmag.com

pregnancy exercises swiss ball supported wall lunge

Swiss ball supported wall lunge
Pic from peak313.com

pregnancy exercises one arm cable pull

One arm cable pull
Pic: burrell education

pregnancy exercise cable wood chop

Cable wood chop
Pic: latino.foxnews.com

pregnancy exercise horse stance

Horse stance
Pic from fittamamma.com

Conditions that must be monitored

– Hypertension
– Anaemia
– Thyroid disease
– Diabetes
– Extremely over or under weight
– Extremely sedentary
– Breach presentation in third trimester
– History of bleeding during pregnancy

NO exercise when you have one of these conditions

The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) lists the following conditions as indicators for people who should not exercise drink pregnancy:

– History of three or more miscarriages
– Ruptured membranes
– Premature labour
– Diagnosed multiple pregnancies
– Intra-uterine growth retardation
– Incompetent cervix
– Placenta praevia
– Pregnancy induced hypertension
– Venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
– Known cardiac valve disease
– Primary pulmonary hypertension
– Maternal heart disease


Stretch marks are caused when the skin is stretched or overstretched, resulting in skin tearing. In this process collagen and elastin fibres are broken down and scar tissue is formed. Stretch marks most frequently occur on the breasts, abdomen, thighs, groin or bum. The condition of your skin prior to pregnancy greatly influences whether you develop stretchmarks. Dry skin is less elastic and tears more easily. Therefore prevention is better than cure! Drinking plenty of high-quality filtered water, and keeping your skin healthy and supple, is very important for prevention. Whilst there are plenty of creams out there, I’m a big believer on working inside-out rather than outside-in. If you do want a cream, consider using virgin coconut oil instead. Yes the one that you cook with!

Exercising after pregnancy

To be on the safe side you should not exercise until 6 to 8 weeks after birth. If you’ve had a C-section, then 12 weeks. The uterus can take up to 6 weeks to shrink back to its normal size and for the internal organs to return to their normal positions.

Stability exercises for the hip, core and back areas are very important at this time. Avoiding jumping, running and stepping are important too as these can cause incontinence, hernias and other gynaecological issues.

Allow one hour of recovery after exercise before feeding your baby. This is because after your work out your PH level will be elevated due to higher amounts of lactic acid in your blood from the exercise you have just done. This can affect the taste of the milk and potentially put the baby off their feed. If this happens a lot, this could turn the baby off breastfeeding altogether.

Breastfeeding – The jaw and the core

Breastfeeding is far more important than you think. It is an important stage of the 6 stages of physical infant development, in particular core strength and development. The movement of the mandible (jaw) backwards and forwards when breastfeeding causes a co-contraction of the abdominal muscles of the baby and acts as a pump for cerebrospinal fluid to move from the skull to the sacrum. Were you breastfed? For how long? Try sucking on your thumb and placing your other hand on your abdominal area and see if you can feel the abdominals moving in and out as you suck on the thumb. If you can, this is a good indicator to show you have good communication between the jaw and the core.

Exercise in Pregnancy – A Primal Guide – October 2013

Related Posts

22 Outdoor Exercise Ideas

Brad shares a range of different exercises that he does when he travels using a playground, strap system, tubing and skipping rope.

The 9 Point Flexibility Test

Dr. Mariano Rocabado’s test for systemic (overall) human flexibility. A simple way to determine how much strength / stability you need vs. flexibility / mobility.

Crossfit Affiliates Around The World

As a health professional, I’m a CHEK Practitioner first and foremost, but CHEK style functional fitness studios are hard to find when traveling.

Primal WOD! – Workout Of the Day

Needs some ideas on how to move your body outdoors in nature, with minimal equipment? Check out these YouTube videos I’ve made to keep you on your toes!

Functional Underwater Surf Training with Tom Carroll (Testing Recovery with Hydro FX Supplement)

For surfers, confidence and composure underwater is key, so 2 x World Surfing Champion Tom Carroll takes the kettle bells underwater for some functional training.

Pros and Cons of CrossFit – Part 1/2

If you are interested in fitness and human performance of any sort, you must have now heard of CrossFit. If you haven’t heard of CrossFit or barely know what it’s about, then read on and I’ll explain. It’s had a huge influence over the last several years on the fitness industry at large and is now an industry within itself worldwide, especially within the United States from where it originated around 10 years ago. It’s an extremely intense, demanding form of fitness, which is now a sport in it’s own right. Here’s an in depth analysis of my experience of it, so buckle up and get ready for the ride :-). It’s definitely the longest blog I’ve written!

Coaching with Kaiya: Basic Yoga

Learn basic yoga from 4-year-old Kaiya! Kaiya, co-founder of Primal Health, shows you how to do some unique variations on some of her favourite yoga poses.

Exercise in Pregnancy – A Primal Guide

What do pregnant women and new mums need to know about exercising safely for the health of themselves and their babies? How much exercise is enough or too much? Which types of exercise are best and which should be avoided? Here’s your primal guide to exercising in pregnancy.

Working In: Qi Gong and Tai Chi

If you are stressed, working-out will only make it worse. Instead, allow yourself to relax and feel the buzz that you will get from this working-in qi gong video.

Meditation Made Simple

Don’t be scared of the word meditation. Brad will show you some basic breathing techniques that he has used with clients for years, with great success.

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 5/5: Kneeling Overhead Press

Brad shows you how to make an overhead press much more exciting! It’s a good idea to use a spotter the first few times you do this until you’re comfortable.

35 Everyday ‘Exercises’ You Don’t Have to Make Time For

Movement, defined as “The act, process, or result of moving” (your body, in this case), is the 5th of the Primal 6 keys of optimal health. We all know that movement is important, yet all we ever talk about is exercise, defined as “bodily (or mental) exertion”. By definition, they are not much different. However, exercise seems like something we have to make time for, sign up to, schedule in. Yet we have many opportunities for movement every day!

Primal Cleanse

Primal Cleanse

Blog Categories

Pruvit Keto Reboot – 60 Hours

Pruvit Keto Reboot

Ketosis, Ketosis and Keto OS!

Ketosis in 30min!


Related Results

Offers from the CHEK Community