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Kettlebells and Pregnancy

April 29, 2009 10:42 AM

The greatest Journey of my life….. and It has just started!

Are you pregnant? Or thinking of getting pregnant?
Are you a trainer and is your client pregnant…. Now what?

I have been in the health and fitness industry my whole life and being fit and looking good has been necessary to keep my career moving forward. Who wants to train with a fat and unfit girl? When I found out that I was pregnant I was so happy yet nervous at the same time.

Getting pregnant, having Marianna, the whole process was the best thing that ever happened to me. Along the way I started to develop some worries that naturally prompted me to ask many questions. Is my body going to be able to handle this? Could I workout? Should I? If I could, what type of exercises could I safely perform? How about the health of my baby?
There are so many theories and myths regarding pregnancy. To calm my nerves and gain confidence I decided to follow my instincts and have constant communication with my doctor who told me that times have changed for pregnant women!!! She informed me that the majority of healthy woman with a normal and uncomplicated pregnancy should exercise approximately 30 minutes a day 5 to 6 days a week.
When I heard all of the amazing benefits exercising brings during pregnancy, I didn't have any doubt that I needed to keep training. Some of these benefits of exercising while pregnant are:

- Better control over weight gain.
- Reduced possibility of developing gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes appears during pregnancy.
- Relieves stress and builds strength, endurance and stamina needed for labor and delivery.
- Makes you feel healthier and stronger.
- Allows for a faster return to exercise after delivery.
- Healthier baby.
- Easier and faster recovery.

According to the guideline of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women can and should exercise during pregnancy, unless there are medical reasons to avoid it.

…Where to start

Talk to your personal physician to see if it is safe and prudent for you to even workout. Remember every pregnancy is different and unique.

Pregnancy is not the time to begin a new exercise program especially if you had not been working out consistently prior to getting pregnant. Walking and/or swimming would be a better type of exercise for the women who enter pregnancy unfit.

For women that have exercised regularly prior to pregnancy, they should be able to continue and maintain their training program to some degree throughout the pregnancy. Women should modify the training as they progress through their pregnancy or if they are having a complication.

Listen to your body and use common sense. The body will naturally give signals that it is time to reduce the level of exercise. On a scale of 1 to 10, 70% should indicate the maximum level of work. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. Remember it is not the time to be a super athlete or get PRs… However it is the time to be a SUPER MOMMY!!!

Weight training should emphasize improving the strength of the postural muscles. Be careful with the joints as they are more lax in pregnancy and injuries may occur. A nice joint mobility session before and after the program would be great!

Starting the second trimester, avoid exercises that involve too much rotation. Also eliminate exercises laying flat on the back as this decreases blood flow to the womb. So Turkish get ups, windmills, floor presses are out of the program….but do not worry as there are many more you can do!

A healthy diet that includes protein, vegetables and unrefined carbohydrates have a very important role during pregnancy as does drinking plenty of fluids and taking Omega 3 essential fats. Many women make the mistake of assuming that because they are pregnant they can eat any thing they want including big quantities of sugar. Ouch!!! I think this is the most important time of our life to really watch what we are eating. It is sad to say but some people encouraged me to eat sweets and to over eat because I was carrying an extra person inside me. Well… let me tell you that a pregnant woman only needs to add about 300 additional calories to her diet during her pregnancy.

My favorite workouts!

The following routines were my favorite during my pregnancy. They kept me motivated to continue exercising throughout the entire process. People were looking at me as if I was crazy but the truth is that they worked great for me. They may work for you too but remember that each person and each pregnancy is unique and we all respond differently to training programs.

MEDICAL WARNING! You must consult with your physician prior to attempting any of these exercises.

Part One
DB KB Single Leg Deadlift 3 x 6R/6L
Single Bent Over Row 3 x 8R/8L
One Arm Swing 3 x 10R/10L

Part Two
Single KB Front Squat 3 x 6R/6L
Plank 3 x 1min hold
Alt. Swing 3 x 20


Part One
DB KB Alt. Front Lunge 4 x 8R/8L
Renegade Row 4 x 5R/8L

Part Two
Clean + Squat + Press 3 x 8R/8L
High Pull 3 x 10R/10L

If you are planning to get pregnant it is very important that you try to get into great shape and to follow a whole food based nutrition plan in order to reduce pregnancy complications. I encourage all women that are pregnant to speak with their Doctor and to have their Doctor approve their exercise plan. Pregnant women should do their best to continue exercising through the whole pregnancy because they are going to benefit in the long run.

Do not feel afraid to talk to your doctor about exercising and staying active during pregnancy. Remember that healthy babies start with a healthy Mom.

Keep fit, be healthy and God bless.

Yoana Snideman
Physical Therapist (PT)
Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Team Leader (RKCTL)
Author of the Revolution Kettlebell Fat Loss Program