Congratulations you’re pregnant! If you are a devoted exerciser or a spin class junkie, it might feel like you’ve hit a roadblock with this pregnancy. Whether you’re an experienced gym goer or you’re pretty new to the fitness scene, you might be wondering how to navigate the world of prenatal fitness.
What exercises are off limits? What should I change? How often should you hit the gym? If these are questions you have, you’re not alone, and this article is designed to answer them and get you started on this prenatal fitness journey armed with knowledge and confidence in your powerful body!
Prenatal Fitness Tips
Where do I begin?
If you were active before you became pregnant, you can keep doing most things as you would if you weren’t pregnant. Workout methods like contact sports, and a few exercise moves, are off limits, but for the most part, you can just continue you on with your normal workout schedule.
If you weren’t a regular exerciser before, pregnancy is the perfect reason to start. It is perfectly safe for your baby– and actually, it’s very GOOD for your baby. As long as your doctor has okayed it, you can start easing yourself into a regular exercise practice. It is recommended for pregnant women to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. The fun part is that how you choose to move during those 30 minutes are completely up to you and the possibilities are endless.
What precautions or modifications do I need to make?
During the first trimester, women are often plagued with nausea and fatigue, due to all the new high levels of hormones coursing through your body to create a healthy baby. This can make it difficult to exercise. If you’re a gal who likes to exercise as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning, you might be in for a rude awakening as you’re running to the bathroom instead of to the gym. In this case, it can be best to wait to exercise until after you’ve been able to eat breakfast. During this time, just know that even something as simple as getting some fresh air and going on a walk can do wonders for your morning sickness.
During the second and third trimesters, you (hopefully) will be adjusted to the hormones and you’ll have some of your old energy back, but you will have a quickly expanding middle! Your baby is very protected inside your body, but make the following modifications:
- Avoid contact sports, or any exercise where you could be hit in the abdomen
- Take a break from situps and crunches for a while, and use planks or standing crunches to strengthen the abdominal muscles
- Aim for a level of exercise where you can still carry on a conversation. Your heart is doing a lot of work transporting blood to your baby now, too, so it’s important not to let your heart work so hard that it can’t effectively do that
- Avoid exercises that force you to lay flat on your back
- Avoid exercises that put excessive strain on your lower back, especially as your belly gets bigger and bigger
- Avoid hot yoga, and any other exercise that would cause you to overheat
- Avoid exercises with a high risk of falling
So how can I exercise during my pregnancy?
There are a ton of safe options for exercise other than hitting the treadmill. Even if you’ve been doing these for years, you may find that your pregnant body doesn’t tolerate them so well anymore. If you need to switch it up, most things are safe to try (and are really good for you, in more ways than one!) Workouts like prenatal yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Barre, spin class, at-home workouts, and classes that combine several of these are all great options.
WHY should I exercise?
No matter how you choose to move your bump, you’ll gain some pretty great benefits! You will sleep better and reduce the risk of symptoms like constipation, backache and swelling. It can help you prevent excess pregnancy weight gain and reduce the risk of getting gestational diabetes. Exercising also helps increase your energy, boosts your mood, and improves your immune system.
Strengthening large muscles groups like the glutes/thighs, core, and upper body will help improve your posture and prevent things like hunched shoulders or an overly arched back. Staying physically fit and strong is also going to help you during labor- possibly making it shorter and smoother. (It’s important to work your “pushing muscles” by strengthening your core and your pelvic floor. Squats are excellent for this, and adding them into your routine 3-4 times a week is a great goal!)
And last, but not least, working out (safely) helps to give your baby a healthy start to his or her little life! Your workouts may give your baby a healthier, more efficient heart, boosts their brain development, and reduces risks of certain diseases later in life. Give your baby, and yourself, the gift of good health, and workout during your pregnancy!
By Randi Thiebaud for the Healthy Moms Magazine
Randi Thiebaud, Social Media Manager for Mumberry, is a Nutritional Sciences graduate from Texas A&M University. She knows how hard it can be (and also how important it is) to live a healthy lifestyle, and loves to help educate others on how to implement healthy diet and exercise habits into their daily life. When she’s not working on The Mum Blog, you can find her curled up with a book, trying a new recipe, or binge watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. She loves two-stepping, talking on the phone, and Sunday Brunch. To get more diet and lifestyle tips from Randi, click on over to blog.mumberry.com.