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LEARN HOW TO EXERCISE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR CORRECTLY

There are only two times you should bear down on your pelvic floor. One, when giving birth to a baby. Two, when you do a bathroom number two. Unfortunately, research shows women often bear down at many other times. When lifting things in daily life or a during their workouts – and even when they are trying to exercise their pelvic floor.

Much pelvic floor tuition focuses on the ‘up’ or squeeze’ phase of pelvic floor exercises and less on the ‘down’ phase. The up phase is very important as it determines the overall quality of the muscle and strength of the contractions it is capable of. This strength is needed for general back care and continence and the muscle’s ability to engage more strongly when you cough, sneeze, laugh or pick up a heavy object.

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PREGNANCY AND EXERCISE MYTHS – OVERHEAD MOVEMENTS

You might have heard it from grandma? Or read it somewhere on the internet? Let’s set the record straight about one pregnancy myth. So you know when to be careful and when to get on with exercise and daily life without worrying.

Pregnant women should avoid pushing their arms above their heads during exercise – and daily life tasks.

For generations mothers have passed on their wisdom to mothers-to-be on how to protect their unborn child. Mixed in with some great advice and the best of intentions are some old wives tales. These no doubt developed in an attempt to explain unexplainable loss. One of these myths is that movements which involve extending your arms above your head can cause the cord to wrap around the baby’s neck. So deeply was this believed that as recently as the 1960s women lowered the height of their washing lines to avoid overhead extension as they did the laundry.

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IS IT SAFE TO STRETCH DURING PREGNANCY?

To stretch or not to stretch during pregnancy, it’s confusing isn’t it?

On the one hand, you hear how loose and unstable your body is during pregnancy and how you must be careful of overstretching and injury. On the other hand, you hear about all the tight muscles, aches and pains that are associated with being an expectant mum and it seems logical to stretch. So what should you do?

Relaxin is the hormone that causes laxity in your body during pregnancy. Initially it’s job is to expand the arteries and veins ready for the increase in blood flow that will occur by around 16 weeks. It’s other job is to loosen the pelvis, a structure that is like a puzzle of bones held together by ligaments, so it can dilate for the baby to pass through during birth.

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PREGNANCY AND EXERCISE MYTHS – LYING ON YOUR BACK

You are not sure where you heard it, or if it’s fact or fiction. So how do you know how much to worry about it? Lets take a closer look at one pregnancy and exercise myth.

Pregnant women should avoid lying on their backs, especially when exercising.

The Australian College of Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends that expectant mums not lie flat on their backs after the 18th week of pregnancy. This is due to the possibility of compressing a main blood vessel in your back and inhibiting the return blood flow to the thoracic cavity – and your bub.

The first thing to remember is that this is a general guideline and women and their pregnancies differ greatly. How big your baby is, and where it is sitting in your uterus, the position of your placenta, your blood pressure and level of hydration, as well as how much weight you have gained, are some of the factors that affect return blood flow whilst you are lying down. Some women may feel fine lying on their back at 25 weeks and others feel dizzy, nauseas or ‘not quite right’ at just 18 weeks.

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IS WEIGHT TRAINING SAFE TO DO DURING PREGNANCY?

Resistance training refers to any kind of exercise that uses a form of resistance to strengthen and tone the body. This could be machines, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, bands, TRX, medicine balls... the list goes on. If you think about the extra pressure pregnancy and birth puts on your body, it makes sense that having a stronger body is desirable. Yet, many women do not do resistance exercise during pregnancy – even if they did before, because they are unsure whether it is safe.

The reality is resistance training can be both safer and more beneficial than many other forms of exercise for your pregnant body.

As your bump grows you need to rely on your leg strength for carrying this extra weight. You will use your legs more for bending down, rather than leaning over, as you no longer bend in the middle of your body as efficiently. The changes in your posture and breast size require strong back muscles to counteract the aches and pains that can follow. Weight training can be used to target these muscles in a safe an effective way, making daily life easier, whilst your growing baby is on-board.

Read more: IS WEIGHT TRAINING SAFE TO DO DURING PREGNANCY?
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