Hypno-birthing and fitness…

Hi everyone,

How has your week been? Good I hope.

I’ve been having lots of work meetings and when I popped in to ITV studios this week, it was lovely bumping into James Spiers-Suttle and his mum Debbie, who are members of REACH – the charity for children with upper limb deficiency that I am an ambassador for (reach.org.uk). James and Debbie were off to watch Stephen Mulhern’s new show being filmed and I’m sure they had fun.

Me and James at the ITV studios

Me and James at the ITV studios

I’m now 27 weeks pregnant and I’m getting the nursery ready. I’m waiting for the cot and changing table to arrive, which is exciting! Recently, though, I’ve noticed that I’m getting breathless more easily and I’m struggling to bend down to tie my shoes! It’s starting to become harder work carrying around the extra weight and, as much as I often like to think I’m wonder woman around the house, I’m trying to slow down. Listen up all you guys out there – you need to start helping your partners out more if they are expecting!

As I mentioned last week, I was about to start my hypno-birthing course and after the first session I was really impressed. Teresa Pegrum, is a clinical hypnotherapist. She is trained to teach hypno birthing. She came to our house and spent two hours with us explaining that hypno-birthing has been around since the 1950′s . It was originally established in the United States by Marie Mongan, who is the founder of The HypnoBirthing Institute. The idea is that you train yourself to become so relaxed that you can breath through the surges or waves (also known as contractions.) However, even though the words contractions and pain are not used in this technique, there are NO guarantees it won’t hurt because everyone’s pain threshold is different.

Alex and I felt so relaxed listening to Teresa’s voice that we almost fell asleep – apparently that is a good thing! She left us with an MP3 to practice breathing techniques until our next session. We have 5 lessons booked and I’m really looking forward to the next one (you can check out the institute here tphypnosis.co.uk).

During my pregnancy I’m constantly hearing how important it is to keep active, so this week I enlisted the help of a good friend of mine, Kerry Norris. Kerry has been a qualified personal trainer for almost 5 years and has completed courses in pre- and post-natal exercise (and she will also be godmother to our baby!).

Here are some of her exercise tips…

“Hi there, I’m Kerry. I’m a mum of two and I’ve been a personal trainer now since December 2009. Exercising throughout your pregnancy is great and, if you are were exercising prior to becoming pregnant, you can continue as normal as long as you feel well in yourself. There will be some slight adjustments to exercise throughout the different trimesters but, by combining the correct nutrition alongside exercise, it will help you to maintain the steady weight gain required. It’s also worth mentioning that exercise not only promotes the feeling of wellness during pregnancy, it can also help to reduce pain and the length of the time of labour. If you exercise throughout your pregnancy it will help you get back in shape once the baby is born.

The main differences between the exercises for each trimester are whether the exercises are seated or not. It’s important to bear in mind the ever-growing bump, which reduces the range of movement (Laura is starting to notice this now!). From 20 weeks you should not lie in supine position (flat on your back), so from the 2nd trimester there are more exercises to take that into consideration.

Also, the level of intensity will reduce in each trimester as your sense of gravity changes, and fatigue will increase. The amount of time for warm up and cool down has to increase from 5 minutes in the first trimester to 20 minutes in the third trimester. This will ensure adequate time is given for your body to warm up and relax which will prevent fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Larger recovery periods between sets will also be required.

Below are suggestions for exercises in each trimester…

1st trimester
1. Standing/seated wall angel
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2. Lying wall angel – strengthens up the abductor muscles

3. Squat with barbell – using weights that is suitable for the individual

4. Plank
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5. Seated row – good for working the back muscles
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In the first trimester, if you have been a regular exerciser before, you can continue doing the same exercises, as long as you feel well enough and adapt the weights you use if required. Always speak to your doctor or your own personal trainer prior to exercise.

2nd trimester
1. Swiss ball squat – comfortable exercise using a Swiss ball against the wall, to work on legs, and glutes
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2. Seated chest press

3. Pelvic tilts – good for working pelvic floor and strengthening those muscles

4. Most flat lying exercises can now be done at an incline after 20 weeks i.e. Incline chest press
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3rd trimester
1. Swiss ball squats

2. Single arm row
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3. Seated shoulder press
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4. Abdominal work – side lying or cat curls – bring knee to chest to contract abdominals.
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5. Superman in a box position
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Swimming is an excellent way of cardio work, as it unweights the body and relieves joint stress that can be caused during pregnancy. Stretching out after any type of exercise during pregnancy will help alleviate injury and pain.

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During exercise whilst pregnant, it is most important to keep yourself hydrated with water. Take regular breaks and if you feel unwell at any time, listen to your body and stop.

I hope you find the exercise tips useful and good luck with your pregnancy!

Kerry x”

Thanks Kerry.

Well that is it from me for this week. I’m off to do some exercise!

Have a lovely week.

Love Laura xxx

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