TRX Use While Pregnant
Posted on May 21, 2010 7:51:00 AM

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In this post from “Ask the TRX Doctor,” Dr. Perkash addresses a question from a TRX community member on using the TRX Suspension Trainer while pregnant.  This post rounds out our recent series addressing fitness and new-motherhood.
I’ve got a very fit and strong 40 year old female client, who recently discovered she’s pregnant with her first child.   This came as a bit of a surprise, as she was training at a relatively high intensity to prepare herself for an equestrian competition.
She is an avid TRX fan, and I’d describe her skill level as somewhere between intermediate and advanced. She wants to keep training with the TRX, but she’s concerned that she may overdo it.  She’s a strong athlete, but we both agree that she’s advanced in age for her first pregnancy.  We also both agree that continuing to train is feasible, but that we need to design a program that is cautious.
My first thought is to have her focus almost entirely on leg and upper body exercises (performed at a light to moderate resistance level). However, as a trainer I’m a strong advocate for a full-body approach.  Considering this, my exercise-focused questions are:
Are there any floor/core exercises you’d recommend? Would front/side planks raise her blood pressure too much?
She is planning on wearing a heart rate monitor from here on out. Where do you think her target heart-rate should be?
I’m grateful for any pointers you can provide!
These are great questions regarding using the TRX for Pre-Natal Training, as well as training during pregnancy in general.  This is often a little addresses topic, but one that is important as many expecting-moms and new-moms value the benefits of keeping fit both during and after pregnancy.
It was previously thought that exercise during pregnancy could pose undue risks to the developing child.  The thought surrounding this has changed drastically in the past few decades. It is now widely believed that an appropriate level of exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, but beneficial for the general well-being of the mother. 
Exercising during pregnancy can also help reduce the risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, obesity and other conditions that can result from a more sedentary lifestyle. General guidelines for pregnant women usually advise not to overdo exercise for a variety of reasons.
During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is released, which functions to loosen the ligaments and joints throughout the body in preparation for delivery. While this is a normal part of pregnancy, it can leave an expecting-mother open to a greater chance of injury.  Exercises that involve deep muscle or extreme joint motions, such as squats or lunges, should be avoided. Relaxin produces greater mobility/flexibility, but the downside is that it makes sprain/strain injuries more likely.
After the fourth month of pregnancy, balance is altered due to a change in center of gravity.  Any exercises or sports that involve balance, such as bicycling or skiing, should be taken up with greater caution.
On the issue of a recommended target heart rate: this is a topic that remains unsettled.  In general, it is not recommended to exercise at maximum heart-rate as an individual may have done prior to pregnancy.  Some Obstetricians recommend a target heart-rate that should not exceed the 130-140 beats per minute range.  These numbers are controversial, and pregnant women are advised to consult their doctors for specific recommendations.
In general, avoiding any exercises lying flat on the back after the first trimester is discouraged, as this position may decrease blood-flow to the placenta.  However, isometric and other core stabilization exercises are advised during pregnancy.  Therefore, and to your question, performing a TRX Suspended Plank is considered safe if the above guidelines are followed.
Have a question for the TRX Doctor?  Email For further information on how TRX Suspension Training is a safe, scalable, and effective solution for you or your patients, visit our Sports Medicine page and download our White Paper.
NOTE: Any medical information in this blog is of a general nature and not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you need medical advice, see a doctor.

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