There are many things get my heart rate pumping and one of them is when a woman tells me that her trainer/coach has told her that her training does not need to be modified when she is pregnant because she is fit enough to continue training the way she has been.


Your body’s chemistry and hormonal system changes the instant you conceive.

The volume of blood you are pumping around your body increases fivefold. That is five times the amount you pump when you are not pregnant.

This alone has a huge impact on your ability to train. You become out of breath more easily. Your recovery between sets takes longer and you cannot lift the same amount of weight you did prior to conceiving.

The hormone relaxin increases in preparation for birth. As it name suggests, relaxin helps to relax your ligamentous system to allow movement in your pelvis to accommodate the growing baby and the opening of the birth canal.

You may find that you have more range of motion through your joints and for those of us – like me – who are tight, this can come as a welcome side effect of pregnancy. However it is important to remember that ligaments help provide stability to your joints and with a dulled down response to your regular range of motion, relaxin can put you at risk of loose joints, over stretched ligaments and potential for long term joint damage.

13351244_10157098136210533_156899027_oDuring my third pregnancy 9 years ago I developed a double hernia. My umbilical hernia was the first to appear very early in my pregnancy when my belly button ‘popped out’.

The second hernia occurred at the attachment of my rectus abdominus at my xyphoid process (the lower end of the sternum in the middle of the ribcage) WHILST I was doing assisted chin ups on a machine.

I know exactly the moment it happened because I felt and heard it tear. At this stage I had been a PT for a little over 2 years and believed I knew what I was doing.

I have since completed much study that suggests otherwise!

I underwent a double hernia repair when my daughter was 1 year old as training was unable to reverse the damage I had done.

Your abdominal wall is going to take a beating whilst you are pregnant. It is going to be stretched to its absolute limit. Your pelvic floor is going to have the added weight of a baby and it’s amniotic fluid, as well as the bladder that is compromised during the 9 plus months. Your spinal curves are going to change to allow the shift in your centre of gravity.

All of these changes are a natural part of pregnancy and need to be given careful consideration whilst you continue to train.

If you are considering changing trainers/coach or beginning training whilst you are pregnant here are the questions you should ask your potential trainer/coach:

  • How much experience do you have with pregnant clients
  • Can you tell me about Intra Abdominal Pressure
  • Can you measure and track my pelvic tilt
  • Will you allow me to continue overhead lifts (if the answer to this is yes, this is not the coach for you)
  • Have you had experience with someone with diastasis recti
  • How will you assess my pelvic floor activation and strength
  • How will you help me avoid developing a hernia
  • How will you monitor my heart rate

Now more than ever you need to find a trainer/coach who understands the changes that the female body goes through during pregnancy so that you can have a healthy pregnancy and sustain the health of your body post delivery.

Each pregnancy is individual to each person just as each human is individual. Seek the help of a professional if you are in doubt.


Tanya Carroll

Chek Practitioner level 1

Chek Holisitic Lifestyle Coach level 3

Livestrong Primal Fitness

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