1. Now that you’re pregnant you need to eat for two.
FALSE: The notion that expectant moms need to double up on their daily food intake is completely incorrect, as you do not need to meet the caloric needs of another fully grown person. All that needs to be consumed is 300 extra calories daily, which amounts to an additional balanced meal. It can actually prove detrimental to the health of mother and baby if you eat too much, as this can contribute to excessive weight can and even obesity during pregnancy.
2. Now that you are pregnant, it is important to start exercising rigorously.
FALSE. You cannot begin a vigorous exercise programme if you’ve never done one before, especially if you never worked out pre-pregnancy, as your body is not accustomed to doing this type of exercise. However, pregnancy is the ideal time to get moving. Nowhere in the medical literature does it say that moderate exercise such as walking is unsafe, even for previously sedentary women. So why not put on those walking shoes and take a stroll?
3. Now that you are pregnant you need to stop exercising.
FALSE. Exercising during pregnancy is extremely beneficial to both mom and baby. It is however important to note that training needs to continue at the same pace (maintenance level) as what you were doing before pregnancy and no harder.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY
• Increases the size of the placenta and therefore the transport of blood flow of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
• Increases the use of fat as an energy source at rest and while exercising.
• Reduces insulin resistance and the risk of gestational diabetes.
• You will get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and fitness levels quicker.
• Energy levels and self-image throughout pregnancy will be elevated and the risk of post-partum depression will be reduced.
• Improved circulation and therefore less swelling will be experienced, as well as reduced levels of water retention through sweating.
• Helps maintain/create good posture, preventing lower back pain.
• Weight gain throughout pregnancy will be more controlled, as less fat will be deposited.
• Prepares you for labour if you are planning for natural delivery and decreases recovery time postpartum from either natural or cesarean deliveries.
4. From the second trimester you should not do any exercises lying flat on your back.
TRUE. Ladies, this is one rule to abide by. From the beginning of the second trimester, when you lie on your back, the weight of the pregnant uterus slows the return of blood flow to your heart by putting pressure on the vena cava, which reduces blood flow to the fetus. This means the baby is getting less oxygen and fewer nutrients. Furthermore, exercise requires the muscles to utilise more oxygen and nutrients, which has a compound effect when exercising on your back while pregnant. Luckily, GLOW’s pregnancy programme guides you through safe, effective workouts with exercise modifications to accommodate the changes your body goes through during each trimester so you never need to worry about what you can and cannot do.
5. If you do any abdominal exercises during pregnancy you will get Diastasis Recti.
FALSE. Abdominal exercises are not only safe during pregnancy, but they are also recommended, which is why you will find them in our pregnancy programmes. All you need to do is focus on the types of abdominal exercises you do. You are not aiming to build a six-pack during pregnancy, but strengthen your core, specifically the deep core. During pregnancy, your core weakens due to stretching and hormonal changes that prepare a woman’s body for the birthing process. It is therefore extremely important to focus on strengthening your core with specific attention to pelvic floor and transverse abdominal exercises, both of which impact your deep core and help to support your growing belly. Diastasis Recti occurs when the ‘six-pack muscles’ begin to pull apart from the midline of the body, most notably around, above, and below your belly button for a width of 2 fingers. Therefore training your Rectus abdominals should not be your main focus.
6. Training during pregnancy puts your joints at risk.
TRUE. As your body prepares for labour, a hormone called relaxin is released throughout the body, causing connective tissue to relax. As a result, the joints and ligaments between the bones in your pelvis will begin to loosen to allow the baby to pass through during labour. HOWEVER, relaxin is mostly present during the third trimester of pregnancy and for three months post-pregnancy. You do not need to stop weight training or exercising; you just need to be mindful of doing any exercises that put joints in an unstable or strained position. It is therefore recommended that you keep all leg exercises bilateral, where both feet are on the ground – such as a squat or leg press and to stay away from unilateral movements, such as lunges as your pelvic region does not offer you the same support at this stage of pregnancy. As a result, the muscles in the surrounding areas will try to pick up the shortfall for the instability in the joint and ligament region – potentially causing muscle or ligament strains that will take months to rehabilitate post-pregnancy. If all this sounds too much to think about, it’s all accounted for in our third trimester workout programme so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
7. Running is unsafe during pregnancy.
FALSE. You can’t “shake your baby loose”; they are safe and sound, swimming around in amniotic fluid while you jog around the block. As long as there are no changes in your joints and ligaments, you can continue running, just as long as you used to do prior to falling pregnant. Some runners are able to keep going many months into their pregnancies, but eventually, discomfort may cause them to switch to lower-impact activities such as walking, water workouts or the elliptical trainer.
8. Cravings indicate that your body is lacking something.
FALSE! Stress, anxiety, and emotions can all impact our ‘need’ for certain foods – take carbohydrate foods like bread, biscuits, and sweet treats, for example. Eating them has a calming effect and boosts levels of the good-mood brain chemical, serotonin – which is just what you crave when you’re feeling down, or you’re stressed out. Remember that even though pregnancy is a wonderful process, it still puts stress on your body – especially if you are not getting a balanced daily diet. Your baby will begin to leach all the nutrients it needs from your body if they are not present in your diet. Therefore, the best way to curb the cravings is with a balanced and healthy diet, where nothing is left to be desired and luckily our GLOW meal planner and wholesome recipes have never made it easier! We even have meals that cater to nausea and healthy treats to satisfy the urge to eat things on the sweeter side wholesomely.
At GLOW, our passion is to ensure that you have a happy, healthy pregnancy that results in an equally healthy baby and postpartum period.
Discover the GLOW pregnancy programme when you sign up for your FREE TRIAL now.