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The Increasing Need For Trained Maternal Fitness Instructors

The need for trained maternal fitness professionals has greatly increased as a result of the number of fit women who desire to continue with their exercise routine once they become pregnant. The past several decades has provided a large body of evidence that supports the benefit and safety of prenatal exercise in uncomplicated pregnancies, and ACOG and other fitness and medical health organizations recognize the importance of fitness in a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who continue or even start an exercise program during pregnancy gain less fat weight, have fewer complications during labor and delivery, and return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster than women who didn’t exercise while pregnant.

Knowing what the current evidence based guidelines are for pregnant and postpartum women and being able to work with this population will open up opportunities to create a specialized program that fits their unique needs. Fitness professionals who have training in this field offer skilled support and guidance to pregnant and postpartum women and help them confidently include exercise as part of their lifestyle. Pregnant women are unsure of what exercises and activities they can continue throughout pregnancy and need guidance on how to monitor their routine for safety. As pregnancy progresses, women need strategies for modifying their exercise program as their body changes to maintain a comfortable and safe routine.

For more information on prenatal and postpartum exercise and our CE correspondence course, “Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design” please visit, www.ppfconsulting.com

Article reprinted from Catherine’s Maternal Fitness blog with permission.


Catherine Cram, MS, is the owner of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting, a company that provides pre- and postnatal fitness certifications and information to hospitals, health & wellness organizations and the military.

Pregnant woman using exercise bike at the gym

Prenatal Exercise Program Design: Exercise Type

Choosing the type of exercise that is best tolerated during pregnancy depends on the following considerations:

  • Which activities the client enjoys or is skilled at performing
  • Whether the activity poses any risk to the mother or fetus
  • Is she is able to do the activity without being compromised by balance and center of gravity changes
  • Can the activity be easily modified as pregnancy progresses

Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, dancing, and running help maintain bone mass and some studies suggest they are more effective for keeping pregnancy weight gain within normal limits. As pregnancy progresses some women may not be able to continue weight-bearing exercise because of back or round ligament pain. If modifications such as wearing a belly support don’t relieve discomfort, switching to non-weight-bearing activities such as swimming, stationary biking, or other types of stationary exercise equipment is recommended.

Absolute and relative contraindicated activities for pregnant women are listed below. Pregnant women should always consult with their healthcare provider before taking part in any exercise program and assess the risk/benefit ratio whenever there is a question about the safety of any activity during pregnancy. Keep in mind that activities such as downhill skiing must be assessed for risks that are not controllable, such as the effect of high altitude on oxygen delivery to the fetus.

Contraindicated Activities for Pregnant Women

  • High-altitude sports
  • Water-skiing
  • Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Horseback riding
  • Absolute
  • Downhill skiing
  • Scuba diving

You can also view Catherine’s previous articles on exercise intensity and duration.

For more information on prenatal and postpartum exercise and our CE correspondence course, “Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design” please visit, www.ppfconsulting.com

Article reprinted from Catherine’s Maternal Fitness blog with permission.


Catherine Cram, MS, is the owner of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting, a company that provides pre- and postnatal fitness certifications and information to hospitals, health & wellness organizations and the military.

Pregnant woman doing yoga with a personal trainer

Prenatal Exercise Program Design: Exercise Duration

Exercise duration during pregnancy should reflect a woman’s current level of fitness and the type of activity she is doing. If you’re working with someone who’s just starting a prenatal exercise program the duration will be shorter (15-20 minutes) and progress slowly over time to 30-60 minutes. A pregnant woman who is already taking part in a fitness routine can continue with her current duration level, but exercise duration should be modified as needed to enable her to achieve a moderate to somewhat hard level of intensity without discomfort or undue fatigue.

Some exercise activities, such as swimming, may require a longer duration in order to achieve a moderate to somewhat hard intensity, so close monitoring of exercise intensity will help determine whether a longer bout is needed. As pregnancy progresses, pregnant women may find that they are able to tolerate a longer duration, lower intensity exercise bout better than a higher intensity, shorter bout, but avoid taking the intensity below the targeted zone of 12 to 14 on the 20-point scale or 3 to 4 on the 10-point scale.

In the case where a pregnant woman is having difficulty maintaining her normal exercise duration, try dividing the workout into two shorter sessions during the day. This is a helpful tool for enabling women to continue to exercise when she’s experiencing more fatigue in later pregnancy.

Want to learn more about how to develop a safe and effective maternal fitness program? The CE correspondence course “Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design” is available ppfconsulting.com


Catherine Cram, MS, is the owner of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting, a company that provides pre- and postnatal fitness certifications and information to hospitals, health & wellness organizations and the military.

Article reprinted from her blog with permission.

Pregnant woman holding fitness dumbbells

Prenatal Exercise Program Design: Exercise Intensity

When designing a prenatal fitness program the key components of intensity, duration, frequency, and mode are used, but specific modifications in the level of progression, supervision, and monitoring are needed in order to keep the exercise safe for mother and fetus. The goal of a prenatal exercise routine is to maintain or improve overall fitness, strength, and flexibility. Keep in mind that each woman’s fitness level and ability will vary, and as pregnancy progresses changes in her body will affect her ability to exercise comfortably.

Beautiful pregnant woman thinking of her baby

Zika Prevention Guidelines

Zika virus fears have left pregnant women with serious questions about how to avoid contracting the virus, and whether the use of insect repellents will put their fetuses at risk. Zika isn’t the only disease that’s bug borne (ticks also carry diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) so avoiding these types of insect borne diseases depends upon…

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Strength Training During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of many physical changes for a woman, and recent research has shown that maintaining or even starting an exercise program can provide benefits to pregnant women and their babies. The majority of research has focused on cardiovascular exercise, but the importance of strength training during pregnancy is often overlooked.

Pregnant woman exercising

Current Guidelines for Prenatal Fitness

The interest and need for maternal fitness guidelines is increasing as more woman who are physically active become pregnant. Recent studies have shown that regular exercise at moderate to somewhat hard levels during pregnancy has positive benefits. These benefits include reduced level of fat deposition and retention, shorter and less complicated labors, and a quicker recovery postpartum. In addition, women who exercise during and after pregnancy tend to have greater energy levels, deal better with physiological and psychological stresses and develop fewer physical complaints.