07 Apr What does a Healthy Pregnant Woman do? She Gets Moving!
Who better to ask about pre-natal wellness than a healthy pregnant woman?
Victoria Tang – co-founder of creative agency Thirty30 Creative and the daughter of prominent businessman David Tang – says her pregnancy has not stopped her from enjoying an active lifestyle.
We asked Victoria, now 35 weeks pregnant, to share her journey from working-out solo to bringing her bump to class.
Q: What kind of exercises/classes have you done when pregnant?
A: I’ve been on my spin bike at home, along with Xtend Barre, Pilates, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and yoga classes at Flex.
Q: How has pre-natal exercise affected your energy levels?
A: It’s helped boost my energy levels and it’s great training for D-day. I like to keep myself active because I know it’s hard to keep that up in the 3rd trimester when the bump gets bigger.
Q: How has exercise affected you physically during pregnancy?
A: It’s helped me maintain a steady weight gain – and sweating during exercise has helped lessen bloating. So I always get moving, counting the steps I take each day and sometimes taking the stairs if it’s a few floors. Sitting or lying down for too long is tiring. More importantly, exercising gives me a good night rest.
Q: What exercise advice would you give to someone newly pregnant?
A: Exercise before falling pregnant and of course, maintain a healthy and balanced diet. If you already have a workout routine, continue working out when you are pregnant and let your body tell you what you can or can’t do. Don’t be afraid to break a sweat just because you are pregnant!
Q: What did you do to stay active before you were expecting?
A: Circuit training in Victoria Park (I love working out outdoors) TRX , Xtend Barre, Pilates and HIIT. Sometimes, my husband and would go jogging in Victoria Park and I’d bring my skipping rope (to stop and skip along the way) because I found that sometimes, just jogging on the track was quite boring.
Q: What does the future hold as far as activity goes?
A: I’m now preparing myself for motherhood, which is very exciting. I love being pregnant, but I also cannot wait to get back in shape and my exercise routine after I give birth.
Flex offers comprehensive pre and post-natal yoga and Pilates for all levels. Please visit: https://flexhk.com/group-classes/group-pre-natal/
The Best Pre-Natal Exercises – A Pro Trainer Tells All
Flex Studio Photo
First things first – the wellness needs of every pregnant woman are different.
But it’s a medical fact that regular exercise during pregnancy can improve posture and decrease common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue.
As pre and post-natal Pilates instructor Nicole Serje says, there is also evidence that physical activity may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, build more stamina needed for labor and delivery and will help with recovery after birth.
So, unless a medical professional tells you otherwise, what do you have to lose from sticking to a proven pregnancy exercise activity, such as Pilates?
Here, Nic tells us her favorite five Pilates-style moves to get it right (and one thing NOT to do):
- Bridge it, baby!
In the initial stages, do simple Bridging. Lie on your back with knees bent and heels close to your backside, neck and shoulders relaxed, arms long by your side. Slowly roll your spine off the floor so that hips lift towards the ceiling. Keep the bottom ribs and hip bones connected. The work should be coming from the glutes (butt) and hamstrings with no pressure on the lower back. Lower slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae. Repeat. From the second trimester onwards, lying on your back can become uncomfortable. It’s also not recommended as it may affect blood flow to the baby while exercising; which takes us to the next step.
- Get Catty!
Simply kneel on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. On an out breath, gently push the floor away from you, hug your belly towards your spine and round into the back, like an angry cat. Breathe in to return to a long spine position (do not sink the lower back to the floor). Repeat. This is to maintain spinal mobility for as long as possible. The flexion in the spine allows you to better hold yourself upright and avoid back pain and strain.
- Back It Up!
Sit or stand comfortably with upper and lower back pressed against a wall. Reach your arms straight forward, then open them straight out to the side without letting your back come off the wall. Repeat. If you feel strong enough, use a thera-band (stretchy resistance band).
- Get To The Bottom!
Standing with your feet a little wider than your hips, take a breath in and start to bend your knees and lower yourself as though about to sit in a chair. But before your bottom touches the chair, stop yourself, start to breathe out, “hug” the baby with your abdominals and engage your glutes (butt) to stand up again. As you get bigger, you may need to hold on to something for balance. This helps strengthen legs and glutes, which is important to help stabilize the pelvis and to help reduce lower back pain during pregnancy.
Flex Studio Photo
- Breathe, ladies!
The easiest and most effective exercise – that you can do anywhere at any time – is breathing. Take a deep breath in through the nose – letting the ribs expand, abdominals and pelvic floor release – then fully exhale out through the mouth, feeling the lungs deflate and ribs funnel down towards the waist. Draw baby gently towards the spine using abdominals. This will help with better posture and alignment, especially as the baby grows. It also helps reduce tension.
- Flexion Faux Pas!
As you get bigger, avoid extreme rotation (that is, twisting your upper body past your comfort zone) or what we call loaded flexion, which is sit-ups, for example. Ligaments and connective tissue become less supportive due to changes in posture and the onset of pregnancy hormones, so undertaking something like sit-ups can increase the risk of abdominal separation.
Remember to stay well hydrated and don’t try to set any world-records. As with any exercise, but especially while pregnant, if you feel unwell or experience any pain or discomfort, stop exercising and see your doctor if you have any concerns.