Friday, 23 January 2009

Kettlebells and Pregnancy - Do They Mix?

It's a very valid question that I've been asked often. Without it seeming as if I'm perched comfortably on the fence, the answer is "Yes" and "No". Let me explain.

It really depends on your exercise history, current levels of physical activity and the existence of any other conditions (medical or otherwise) that could adversely affect the mother or baby.

When my sister was due with her third child, I called her up the week of the due date to see how she was getting on. To my concern she answered the phone panting and out of breath. I thought she was giving birth right there and then while on the phone. She replied that she was at the park playing football with her other two boys. She was nine months pregnant and had just sprinted the length of the field to score the winning goal to her delight! (my nephews were not impressed). The key thing is to look at frequency, intensity, mode and duration. If you are unsure seek out a fitness or health professional who knows. You want to minimise risk to baby and mother while maximising potential benefits to the health of both, and ease of delivery.

You would have to be a genius of G.W.Bush proportions to suggest that a mother who has never exercised before and is 3 weeks into her first pregnancy then starts knocking out 10 minute snatch sets with a 24kg kettlebell. This doesn't mean that you can't do anything, even so called health professionals suggest inactivity when there is no obvious reason to do so. If you exercised prior to pregnancy, there is no reason that with sensible adjustments you can not train throughout. The ACSM has some good guidelines for general exercise during pregnancy.

So what about Kettlebells. It surprises me that the reaction is to immediately disregard Kettlebells as a mode of training when pregnant. It is usually fear that drives the response rather than sound clinical reasoning. Obviously, somethings are inappropriate, others are fine. Don't believe me? Fine check out Lauren Brooks then post your comments. A Kettlebell Coach who trained during her pregnancy and has since regained her figure. Living proof it can be done.

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