I am 10 weeks away from estimated date of arrival of our baby Felix. A pregnancy journey is truly amazing. First thing that I learned a few weeks into my pregnancy was that I no longer made the decisions about my body, it turned the other way around.
I have been active competitor in gymnastics before I started with jiu jitsu. I have trained a lot throughout the years and I have pushed myself and even ignored signs of being exhausted, injury or ignore hunger when on a diet.
Pregnancy will hit you in the face with the fact that these rules do not apply any longer.
You will find a lot of advices and different kind of work-outs for pregnancy online and through different social media accounts.
How you choose to train and stay active, with or without jiu jitsu during your pregnancy is up to you, but here is some advice from my own experience. In addition to professional advice which I learned from the many personal trainers I worked with through the past years in the fitness industry.
First and most important, your body is unique, your pregnancy is unique. One thing that you can keep in mind if you feel insecure what to do, is that what your body is used to do, you are still able to do.
There is some general advice regarding putting yourself in danger during pregnancy, and material arts is considered one of them. You don’t want to risk putting your belly in danger or any kind of violence of course. I have felt comfortable training jiu jitsu until around week 26 when my belly became significantly bigger and heavier.
I have chosen to pick my partners (a few chosen ones) and instead of focusing on sparring, I focused on technique, movement, self defense and letting my brain work more than my body. I have done almost every position, but I have preferred working from top position. I have done some flow roll but with very reduced speed.
Regarding strength and cardio training. Be careful with training in high temperature, while pregnant your core temperatur rises and you have around 40 percent more blood pumping around in your body. Hot yoga classes might make you overheated with dizziness, headache and dehydration, also your baby is not able to sweat inside your belly so it will affect the baby too.
General advice in strength training, is to lower your weights and do more repetitions. Don’t expect to set new records during the upcoming 40 weeks, but there’s nothing wrong with continuing your strength routine, just adapt the weights.
During cardio excersie, do you already have a routine for running? Keep running as long as it makes you feel well, but start to measure how you feel rather than your actual pulse. You will notice that it is a struggle at times getting enough oxygen so more breaks during your workout are needed.
Schedule an activity for 30 minutes per day, and don’t make it too complicated. Daily movements such as walking to work, stretching or bicycling to the grocery store is also activity and if you feel really tired this activity is better than none.
What have helped me feel well is to prioritize mobility and balance in addition to a stretching routine for stiff muscles, especially the area around thighs, butt and lower back. This can help you avoid pain in the lower back or hip area. Yoga classes for pregnant are a perfect way to focus on breathing (preparing you for labor) and you get a good stretch for stiff muscles.
Strength training for the upper part of your back and shoulders will prepare you for all the lifting and carrying your baby.
Around mid pregnancy (or for some earlier) your uterus will get heavier, lying flat on your back can compress the vena cava, a major blood vessel which will disrupt blood flow to your baby and leaving you dizzy, nauseus and short of breath. Get used to lie on your side, not flat on your back.
I put together a short workout including some stretching at the end. I have been very stiff around my neck and shoulder area, to stretch one side and work different angles with your head is a good way to loosen up the muscles a bit.