Having a baby doesn’t mean you need to give up on your favourite sport…
Staying active during pregnancy is just as important for your health as when you’re not pregnant, although you’ll have to change the way you approach training. Assuming you have a normal pregnancy, doing some activity will help to balance the hormones and make you feel more balanced and positive. If you’re used to exercise then it’ll help keep you sane too!
Reduce your volume of training during your pregnancy. This has to be very reactive, so don’t expect anything to be set in stone. In your first trimester you’ll encounter huge fluctuations in your energy levels from day to day. In your second trimester you’ll feel more energised and more like exercising. In your third trimester your size and energy levels may affect how you feel when exercising, and any exercise that you do at this point should be of a low intensity.
Which disciplines can I do?
Your approach to each triathlon discipline will vary throughout your pregnancy. You’ll find your swimming will be the least affected and the weightlessness in the water offers relief as you gain in weight.
Swimming is non-impact and will help you to regulate your body temperature. Cycling will also offer you a great non-impact way to exercise until your last trimester, when you may find the bent-over cycling position uncomfortable. Try raising the handlebar height to help this. Also, you may opt for training on a stationary bike to reduce the risk of falling off. This way you’re never too far from home, should you feel tired.
Running is probably the hardest of all the three disciplines to maintain throughout pregnancy, although many women have proved it’s possible. Your run should be no longer than 30-45mins in your first trimester and you’ll find you have to reduce this progressively throughout your pregnancy.
Walking is more likely during the third trimester. The key with any exercise while pregnant is to stay cool, keep a low heart rate or a very easy perceived effort, and energy levels high. You’re not only fuelling yourself, but your growing child, and this can demand more energy than usual for your normal exercise routine, leading to sudden drops in blood sugar levels and a light-headed feeling. If you feel like this, stop and get some fuel.
THE THREE TRIMESTERS OF PREGNANCY
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. These three trimesters have different emotional and physical effects that make them unique.
1 Trimester One – Weeks 1 to 12
You are likely to encounter huge fluctuations in your energy levels from day to day. This is a vital time for foetal growth. If in doubt, opt for light exercise.
2 Trimester Two – Weeks 13 to 27
You are likely to feel more energized and more like exercising during this phase.
3 Trimester Three – Weeks 28 to 42
In your third trimester your size and energy levels will affect how you feel when exercising. Walking and swimming are your most suitable forms of exercise.