As a qualified HG Hypnobirthing Teacher, Student Midwife and Mum, there are a lot of aspects of pregnancy and birth that I’ve got covered! But I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in every field! So I’m really excited to be launching our ‘Ask The Experts’ series on the Positively Birthing blog, where we chat to the real pros in their fields and you can find all that key information in one place! And we’ve got quite the line up! From Midwives, Obstetricians, GPs and Physiotherapists to Personal Trainers, Yoga Teachers, Aromatherapists and Reflexologists. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see covered, get in touch! And if it’s not already on it’s way, we’ll make it happen!
First up, we chat to Charlie Launder, Co-founder of Bumps & Burpees and Pre & post natal personal trainer about all thing exercise, when it comes to being pregnant.
So, we hear a lot about postnatal recovery or ‘getting back in shape’ after we’ve had a baby, but what are the benefits of exercising when pregnant?
Pregnancy changes all sorts of things about your body in such a short space of time so to remain strong and mobile is key to staying as pain free and comfortable as possible. It will help you to hold a good posture, prevent excess weight gain, all of which will set you up for a speedier recovery post birth. It can also help you mentally stay on top of all the changes, you will feel more in control and the endorphins will keep rushing around the body making sure you feel good!
What sort of exercise should or can pregnant mums be doing?
There is actually so much that you can still do while you're pregnant. People tend to focus on what you can't do but in reality there is only a handful of exercises that are a straight out no.
A big emphasis should be on strength training during pregnancy. This doesn't mean lifting super heavy weights, it just means using resistance to build up your strength. You need to support your joints with the hormone relaxin rushing round your system making your ligaments softer and slightly less stable.
And is there anything they should avoid, exercise wise?
There is no rule book that is perfect for everyone's pregnancy so listening to your own body is vital. Avoid getting too hot too quickly, sweating is fine just make sure you warm up properly and let your heart rate rise steadily. Avoid getting yourself so out of breath that you can't hold a conversation, but if you can talk through your cardio then it should be fine to continue. Keep hydrated and take rests when you need them. Now is not the time for crazy sprints and HIIT training unless you are very used to this sort of exercise.
What if we’ve never really exercised before? Is now really a good time to start?
It is always a good time to start exercising, but make sure you get the right advice and guidance. Seek out the help from a qualified and experienced personal trainer or gym instructor. Even if you are on a tight budget, i would recommend seeing a trainer for a couple of sessions so you can ask them all the questions you might have and learn the correct posture for certain lifts to make sure you don't get injured.
How often should we be aiming for? And for how long?
It is always good to aim for 3 activities a week, whether that is 1 gym session, 1 swim, 1 yoga or all 3 in the gym. Everyone is different so make sure you do what feels right for you and you may find that this is 3 lots of 30 minutes, and then working up to 3 lots of 60 minutes. There is no rule that works for everyone here, but 3 times a week is a good place to start.
What about the pelvic floor, should we be thinking about that antenatally?
It is never too early to work on your pelvic floor. You'll be grateful that you did. There are tonnes of great videos on youtube if you are not able to get to a physio or pilates instructor that can show you some exercises. Also remember that holding the correct posture for exercises such as lunges and squats will also help to strengthen your pelvic floor - and the opposite is true if the wrong posture is consistently used too!
Any final tips or words of wisdom?
Use this time wisely. Pregnancy is a wonderful time to focus on looking after your body, but also to prepare it for birth and motherhood which require a lot of mental and physical strength! This is 9 months of prep time and if you see it like that you will set yourself up to be in the best possible position when it comes to giving birth, recovering and being the best mum you can be!
You can get in touch with Charlie or follow along for some exercising inspiration at