Welcome to our blog series Experts Expecting where we ask influential women who just happen to be expecting for insider knowledge in their field.

Today we interview the wonderfully knowledgable Lauren Allen. Personal Trainer & Mind Calm coach Lauren knows a thing or two about the safest ways to stay fit while focusing on your mind and changing body during pregnancy.

1. Was you pregnancy planned and if yes, did you make changes to your daily fitness routine while trying to conceive?

My pregnancy wasn’t planned and actually completely unexpected (100% wanted by myself and my partner though!). Two years ago it was confirmed that I had blocked fallopian tubes after suffering from 2 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy a few years earlier. I was starting to believe the likelihood of me every having my own child was impossible so when I found out I was pregnant – at quite a late stage, I think I was 13 weeks by the time we had found out it took me a good few weeks to believe it was actually real and even through our scans it didn’t fully sink in until I had a bump appear!

2. How have you altered your fitness routine for each trimester so far?

Without fully knowing it I had adjusted my routine through the first trimester because I was feeling really tired and I had convinced myself I had the flu so listened to my body and took on lots of rest. If I had known I was pregnant at an earlier stage I would have definitely decrease my workouts further based on my energy level and because the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be the rockiest for mum and babies health as the risks are higher. The main adjustment I made through the second and into the third was keeping an eye on my body temperature and ensuring I didn’t overheat and to keep myself hydrated. It is incredible important to really listen to your body and know that you will need to adjust and restrict certain exercises with all the changes happening in your body. Our hormones can affect our joints and muscles, the increase of blood flow can further increase our heart rate and your growing belly can affect your weight distribution and balance.

3. How do you keep a positive mindset with all the hormonal changes pregnancy offers?

I would love to say every day I wake up and jump out of bed full of positivity but every now and then a little wave of insecurity and negativity naturally arises, the body is going through an incredible journey of growth and adjustment that is kind of beyond your control. As a first time mum pressures of getting everything right can weigh you down. Every day I just remind myself of just how lucky I am and how wonderful the human body is. I have loved watching my body grow and hope I am mindful enough to thank if for what it is doing for me and baby even after labour.

4. What are your ‘go to’ exercises for pregnancy?
 Squats have always been my favourite exercise, even though I no longer perform them with a barbell and most of the time they are completed with just my body weight they are still an extremely beneficial, functional movement. Squats work multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time and can help maintain mobility and range of movement.

5. How have you prepared for birth and what is your top tip for other expectant mothers?

I have been learning a lot on Hypnobirthing, I was overwhelmed with the amount of people ready to tell me their birth stories as soon as I announced I was pregnant. I hated that there were so many negative connotations around birth when it is such a natural process and the final steps to meeting your baby. I am quite a physiology geek so I have done a lot of research on how the body adapts and works during pregnancy and when giving birth, it is such a clever process and really makes you respect and put trust into your body.  I would say to any expectant mother that everyone goes through pregnancy and birth differently and not to get swept up in what the ‘ideal’ journey is.

6. Finally, what piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to wanting to keep fit and healthy during pregnancy. 

First and foremost I would always suggest getting cleared from your midwife and/or doctor to exercise, some people feel comfortable training all the way through their pregnancy and some stop quite early on. Keeping comfortably active is more important than how many gym sessions you can squeeze in, exercises like walking and swimming are ideal for most people and can help you reduce pregnancy related aches and pains as well as benefit your mental wellbeing. Listen to your body carefully and remember how important rest is, it is very easy to over do it during pregnancy due to all the additional stress on the body.

A huge thank you to Lauren for taking the time to answer our questions. Check out her free E Book – intro to pre natal exercise.

Come back next week for no.3 in our Experts Expecting blog series.

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