Warning Signs… when training pregnant women

Warning Signs

Hi guys! It’s Jono here today. On Monday’s blog I recommend EVERY PT to complete a course in training pre and post natal woman! If you haven’t completed a course, I strongly recommend you do – you never know what could happen.

For example, you’re currently running a bootcamp and one of your participants texts you and says “I’ve just found out I’m pregnant… I still want to train tonight but I’m just going to take it easy”, or, for example you’re running a Group Fitness Class and there’s a pregnant woman participating.

If in both these cases, if you’re not qualified and don’t know what you’re doing, there could be some serious trouble for you, the participant and the baby. For this reason I recommend every Trainer to complete further study in this topic. But for whatever reason if you haven’t, or you completed it a while ago and want a refresher, I just want to give you some absolute basics:

#1: Pre Screen:
In ANY exercise program – there are going to be risks… It’s only worth continuing with that exercise program if the rewards of exercising are going to out weigh the risks… If a woman is pregnant there is a greater risk of exercise related complications so it is ESSENTIAL that the participant has completed
a) A pre screen (e.g. the Adult Exercise Pre Screen Tool)
b) A more detailed pre screen (e.g. The PARmed-x for Pregnancy)
c) A clearance from a medical professional
Practical Tip #1: If you’re running your own bootcamp – as soon as a participant tells you they’re pregnant – send them “a” and “b” to fill out before their next session and ask them to bring in “c”. I would not train them until they have
Practical Tip #2: If you’re running a group fitness class at the gym – the participant may not have these handy – i would ask them “have you completed a pre screen” and “have you been cleared by a medical professional to exercise”. If they say no to either than i would recommend to them that they don’t participate in this class as the risks may outweigh the rewards (they may not… but we don’t know because they haven’t been screened / cleared).

#2 Warning Signs:
It is essential that both YOU and your pregnant participant know what warning signs to look out for… These are important because sometimes it’s easy for a participant to “brush them off” and think “oh it’s normal” but for me – I’m always going to chose safe over sorry! So the main warning signs to look out for are
Excessive Shortness of Breath, Dizziness, Fainting, Headaches, Chest Pain, Blurred Vision, Nausea, Calf Swelling, Pain, Excessive fatigue, Vaginal Bleeding, Abdominal Cramps, Intense / New Back Pain, Contractions, Leaked Fluid, Reduced Movements of Baby.
Practical Tip 1: If you’re running your own bootcamp – as soon as a participant tells you they’re pregnant – send them these a copy of the Fitness Australia “Pre – Post Natal Guidelines”, that way they know the warning signs too!
Practical Tip 2: If you’re running a Group Fitness Class – find an appropriate time to approach the participant – ask them if they are away of these warning signs – is they are not – let them know to stop if they experience any of them

From a risk management perspective I always think the worse case scenario… If some unfortunate accident was to happen… I want to look back and think “did i do everything i could to prevent that from happening”… Pre Screen and Warning Signs are a good start… But it’s not enough… I strongly recommend every Trainer complete a course in training pre/post natal women.

If you are going to be training a pregnant / post natal woman – i would strongly recommend completing a CEU course! The basics aren’t enough and if you’re not 100% certain and what to do and what not to do – it’s not fair on your client… And chances are – insurance won’t cover you anyway!

If you haven’t completed a course on pre/post natal women yet, check out our Pre Post Natal Fitness Certification – registered with both NASM and AFAA.

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