Pre and post natal fitness

 Recently I attended a pre and postnatal specialist certification program in which I had the opportunity to work with other health and wellbeing professionals. pregnant woman exercising The course was put on by Fit 4 Two – an organization founded by Melanie Osmack- a dynamic pre and post natal fitness specialist, trainer, developer, presenter, and writer.
The course covered prenatal anatomy and physiology, fitness guidelines, strength and core exercises for pregnancy, labour and beyond, as well as class planning and personal training.  I was amazed at the changes that a woman’s body goes through and the special challenges that can present and ways to help make it a wonderful and unique experience. As a health care specialist and woman myself I can understand these challenges,  and by being up to date with current research I can provide a  great exercise program for keeping mom -to- be and baby happy and healthy. Fit 4 Two provided the most current literature including guidelines from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada ( SOGC ) and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) .
 There has been in the past misconceptions about exercise and pregnancy such as having to stop an exercise routine, or whether or not a mom- to- be could start a program safely during pregnancy.  The bottom line is that there is an abundance of research that suggests that we should be more concerned about the risks associated with NOT exercising during and after pregnancy such as “loss of muscular and cardiovascular fitness, excessive maternal weight gain, higher risk of gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hyper tension , development of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, a higher incidence of physical complaints such as dyspnea or low back pain and poor psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy.” (SOGC/CSEP)
The recommendations are that women with uncomplicated pregnancies with or without a previous exercise history should engage in both cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility exercises as part of a healthy lifestyle. (SOGC/CSEP) Guidelines can be found at
Coming from a physiotherapy background and the discomforts that I see in my clinical practice, I strongly encourage women to participate in physical activities to enhance their pregnancy experience. I recommend following up with their health care provider with specific questions about their health and lifestyle and be referred to someone who has specific training with pre and post natal fitness to ensure an optimal and rewarding experience!
Suzanne Robinson
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