Personal Training & Pregnancy: Everything you need to know

Staying healthy during pregnancy, as we all know, is super important! The benefits of a healthy pregnancy are not only extended to the momma’ but to baby as well. No matter how fit (or unfit ….*cough, cough* – me in pregnancy) you were before pregnancy, I’ve teamed up with Jenna Breznau of Breznau Personal Training to help break down everything you need to know about pregnancy and fitness!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what it is exactly that you do.

My name is Jenna Breznau! Newly married, I moved to Charleston with my husband in October 2020, to begin our own business –Breznau Personal Training. I’m passionate about helping women gain strength and confidence in the gym. Pre and postnatal fitness quickly became a part of my growing passion as I became aware of the gap in the fitness industry.

Women deserve better and more accessible care!

2. What effect does staying in shape during pregnancy have on delivery and postpartum recovery?

There are a lot of misconceptions on training during pregnancy. Certain precautions should certainly be taken, but *if you are HEALTHY and your pregnancy is NORMAL,(generally speaking*) it is completely safe to continue or begin an exercise program.

Why you shouldn’t hesitate:

-Supports a healthy delivery

-Encourages a smoother recovery process

-Boosts mood and energy levels

-Strengthens and improves posture as body changes/grows

-Promotes better sleep

-May relieve common aches, pains, and swelling

3. Are there signs that an expecting mom can look out for to know if her workouts are too intense?

The most important thing you can do is listen to your body and carefully watch for anything that seems out of the ordinary. With that being said, here are a few practical red flags that should NEVER be looked over:

-If you’re exhausted instead of energized after a training session

-If you have any pain or discomfort during a training session

-If you experience any dizziness or lightheadedness during/after a training session

-If you experience vaginal bleeding during or immediately following a training session

4. Are there any exercises an expecting mom should avoid?

Yes! Below are a few types of training that should be avoided to support a healthy pregnancy:

-High contact activities that could put your belly at risk

-Activities that could put you at risk of falling

-Activities that place high pressure on the pelvic floor (e.g. jumping, or activities that involve heavy landing)

-Exercises that involve crunching of the abdominals (can worsen diastasis)

-Exercises that cause visible coning to occur through your abdominals

5. What are some tips for moms who aren’t feeling the best in their 1st trimester to stay active?

Be flexible with your schedule -using the windows of time that you feel well enough to exercise. If the only thing you can do is take a quick walk around the neighborhood, then do it! Just do what you can, knowing that 1st trimester symptoms, for most, are temporary and will subside.

6. Should a pre-existing strength training routine be altered during different trimesters?

100%! Learning how to adapt is going to be extremely useful when training during pregnancy. This can look different person-to-person as we know that all pregnancy experiences are individual. Be open to a new approach to training, as your goals may look different than they did pre-baby.

7. What are some nutrition tips during pregnancy?

Stay hydrated.

Honor your hunger cues.

Eat foods that fuel yourself and your growing baby.

Focus on your own journey to avoid comparison.

8. Do you suggest any specific exercises during/after pregnancy to help strengthen the pelvic floor?

Learning different breathing techniques to engage the pelvic floor is extremely beneficial! To most peoples surprise, it’s very common for women to have overactive (or tight) pelvic floor muscles. This leads to women having a hard time relaxing their pelvic floor -which aids in achieving a full contraction. Remember it takes time for the pelvic floor to recover, so don’t rush the process.

9. What are some signs that a postpartum mom may be experiencing diastasis recti after pregnancy?

Typically Diastasis Recti (DR) presents itself as a vertical belly bulge. If DR is present, this bulge will appear as you’re contracting or straining the muscles in your abdomen. This gap of the abdominal walls could appear above or below the belly button. However, Diastasis is not always as big of an issue as people suspect. With proper progression of *safe* core exercises and correct utilization of pelvic floor muscles, DR should go away over time.

If you have further concerns -visit a pelvic floor physiotherapist for a consultation and quick DR examination.

10. What are some good exercises to help get rid of the infamous post-partum baby belly “pooch” – particularly in c-section momma’s?

There is no such thing as an imperfect belly -no matter what stage you are in postpartum. My advice would be to first focus on building key habits of health and wellbeing. Over time, adding in a slow progressing strength training routine to rebuild stabilizer muscles. This will get you back to feeling strong and functional!

11. What are the best workouts for easing back into things once you’re approved to exercise again after baby?

I focus a lot on mobility and basic movement patterns for my newly postpartum mommas! As you start to adapt to bodyweight exercises, I suggest beginning to incorporate use of a stability ball, resistance bands, or even light dumbbell accessory work.

Exercises to be mindful to avoid immediately postpartum:

-Activities that place high pressure on the pelvic floor (e.g. jumping, or activities that involve heavy landing)

-Exercises that involve crunching of the abdominals (can worsen diastasis)

-Exercises that cause visible coning to occur through your abdominals

Progress the intensity of your workouts at a rate that keeps you feeling energized after a training session.

Mothers have a lot on their plate as is,

exercise should be a time to enjoy yourself and focus on feeling good.

To get in touch with Jenna, you can find her by following along on Instagram (definitely follow her here for some yummy AND healthy meal ideas!) or you can visit her Website!