Dos and Don'ts for Pregnant Fitness Instructors and Trainers

Do take care of yourself

Pregnancy is a state of wellness, not an illness.  That said, it is also a time of immense physical, emotional and mental changes.  Take the time to listen to your body.  If you are tired, rest.  If you are hungry, nourish yourself.  Your health and pregnancy should be the priority.

Do be a positive role model

When you make healthy choices your participants and clients will take note.   You are their inspiration.  Assuming your pregnancy is healthy, choose an active pregnancy that follows the national guidelines for safety.  Click here to learn why an active pregnancy is important.

Do follow the guidelines

If you are not familiar with the national guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, now is the time to get to know them.  For the basics, we suggest starting here.  If you want more in depth knowledge, or if you plan to train pre and postnatal women, it is important to get certified.

Don’t use the “but I’m a trainer” excuse

There are no unique evidence-based prenatal fitness guidelines for fitness instructors or trainers.  Your body goes through the same changes whether you are a fitness professional or a physically active engineer.   The national prenatal fitness guidelines are for all healthy pregnant women with normal a pregnancies. Being a trainer does not give you a free pass to ignore them.  Besides, this is your opportunity to be a role model.

Don’t hold onto classes or clients that are no longer working for you

Sometimes, no matter how skilled an experienced we are as trainers, some classes or clients suffer when we are going through physical, emotional or mental changes.  I once had to give up training a client because I had a shoulder injury.  This client expected me to lift, move and adjust equipment.  She also needed me to model most exercises.  I couldn’t do either.  When I was 6 months pregnant with my son I was teaching a 45 minute spin class.  I was teaching it in a way that allowed me to stay inside the national prenatal fitness guidelines by keeping my tension moderate, getting off my bike and motivating during anaerobic sprints and implementing some group ‘games’.  However, as we got deeper into summer, the area where I taught was becoming uncomfortably hot. Heat being a teratogen during pregnancy, I decided it would be safer if I passed the class onto another instructor.  I’ve known many instructors who switched from morning classes to evenings classes due to morning sickness or who chose to stop teaching bootcamp because they developed diastasis recti and could no longer demonstrate most of the exercises without making their abdominal separation worse.  Take some time to ruminate on your current teaching and training regime.  Is it working for you?  Is it working for your clients?  

About the Author

Melanie Osmack is the founder of director of Fit 4 Two and a member of the Pregnancy and Exercise Awareness Advisory Team.  You can learn more about her here.

Photo Grattitude

Thank you to Aileen Hunt of Fit 4 Two Winnipeg for the photo of her teaching while pregnant with her baby girl.