Teaching With Confidence: Before Conception and Early Pregnancy Considerations – Part 3 of 3

Teaching With Confidence: Before Conception and Early Pregnancy Considerations – Part 3 of 3

When when working with women clients who are thinking about becoming pregnant (preconception), or are in their first trimester (conception – 12 weeks), there are some things to consider when designing workouts.

Here are the links to part 1 and 2 of  this 3 part series-Teaching with Confidence:

Teaching With Confidence: What you need to know during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimesters- Part 1 of 3

Teaching With Confidence: Precautions and Contraindications to Exercise During Pregnancy-Part 2 of 3

Things to consider before conceiving:

Fitness instructor teaching sit ups

-Not the time to be training for major competition, marathon, etc.
-Exercise Regimen should be at a plateau
-Be as healthy as possible
-Well Nourished
-Ovulating Regularly
-Mentally Prepared for the changes that pregnancy brings
Education on early pregnancy and the changes her body will go through.

The following is adapted from Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by Dr. James F. Clapp, THE source for up-to-date exercise research and development:

Beginner-already pregnant and never exercised before

Dr. Clapp recommends

-Three 20 minute sessions per week (no more than this) at

-a moderate level of perceived exertion

-Keeping it consistent throughout the first trimester

Ex: Pre-Pilates: Hug the Baby, Lateral Thoracic Breathing; and Walking or Swimming

Recreational – Has an established routine of exercise such as running, aerobics, etc. (not including Pilates)

Dr. Clapp recommends

-Adding an alternative form of exercise, while keeping her endurance component

Woman tying shoelaces

– This is where Pilates comes in as the perfect addition or transition to an already established routine.

Ex: Pre-Pilates, Pilates on the equipment, in addition to her regular cardiovascular activity.

Competitive Athletes 

-NOT the time for rapid increases in exercise, an all-out sustained effort, for high-altitude training, or middle to long-distance competitive events.

Possible Physiological effects of competitive training

  • – anovulation, dehydration, hyperthermia, and hypoglycemia.

Adding Pilates to a competitive athlete’s regimen, swapping out a few days of regular training with Pilates sessions, will allow for a safer, yet challenging activity.

*Generally, it is recommended that pregnant women don’t start any new activity until the pregnancy is well established, in the 2nd trimester, at 12-14 weeks.

If you have a new client come to you in her first trimester, the following will give you ideas of what you can do with her, versus turning her away or referring her out (always make sure she has clearance from her birthing professional/doctor):

Pre-Pilates exercises-

Proper Posture During Pregnancy

Education on exercise during pregnancy

Other Activities to encourage during the first trimester (in moderation)

Swimming, Walking, Gentle Stretching

If your established client becomes pregnant, it is usually safe to continue with the activity she has done. Again, make sure she has checked with her doctor/birthing professional.

Thank you for hanging out with me! Awesome that you have taken the time to educate yourself!

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Happy Hundreds!

Alison B. Marsh

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