There are so many wonderful reason why staying fit during pregnancy should be a priority. According to the American Pregnancy Association, exercising during pregnancy can help ease some of the discomfort that comes along with pregnancy and also help prepare your body for labor. Some studies also suggest the mama to be isn’t the only one who benefits from physical activity, the baby also reaps the benefits.
I am by no means a certified health care professional. These tips come from my experience as a mama and a certified personal trainer. Always seek medical advice from a qualified health care professional before starting any new workout routine during pregnancy.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
While there are many reasons to continue to exercise while pregnant. Here are a few reasons to make prenatal fitness a top priority.
- Improved mood.
- Ability to sleep better.
- Increased energy.
- Less aches and pains throughout pregnancy.
- Regular exercise may help improve posture, which can decrease risk of back pain and fatigue.
- Regular exercise can also decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Prepares your body for the physical demand of birth and motherhood.
- Helps your body recover after birth.
Wow! What an amazing list of benefits. Exercise during pregnancy does not have to be complicated, in fact you do not even need a gym membership. Think more along the lines of 30-60 minute daily walks, prenatal yoga, swimming, and other low impact exercises. Whatever routine you choose, make sure it is safe during pregnancy.
Tip 1-Keeping it Safe
Most healthy women can safely continue their normal exercise routine or start a new one while pregnant, just be sure to check with your qualified health care professional first. If you are high risk, it may not be safe to exercise while pregnant. There are some exercises and moves you will want to avoid during pregnancy.
- Avoid actives like horse back riding, wrestling, boxing, football, marital arts, basketball, or any other contact sport.
- Exercises that require extreme balance. During pregnancy you are at an increased risk of falling due to your center of gravity shifting.
- Avoid laying on your back after 12 weeks. After your first trimester your growing uterus can place extra pressure on your vena cava, decreasing blood flow to your baby.
- No crunches, sit ups, planks, or twisting movements as they can contribute to Diastasis Recti.
- Any exercises that cause pain or discomfort. Always listen to your body.
- Avoid jumping or jerking motions.
Be sure to stay hydrated. It is so important that you stay hydrate during your pregnancy. Dehydration can lead to an increased risk of UTI, overheating, and other serious complications. If drinking water is something you struggle with, find a cute water bottle that you love! You will be more likely to keep chugging that water if you love the bottle. If you find water is boring and miss that flavor, try infused water. So simple you can make your own. Simply add fresh lemon, cucumber, mint, or fresh berries to your chilled water and enjoy!
A big part of staying fit during pregnancy is always listening to your body, even when you are not expecting. This is always important. Be sure to stop if you experience pain or extreme discomfort during exercise. Not listening to your body and continuing while experiencing pain may lead to injury. Due to pregnancy hormones like relxain, you are more prone to injury if not playing it safe.
Be sure to take breaks. You do not have to fly though your workout. Be sure to rehydrate often and rest. If you feel faint or dizzy, stop and sit down. If symptoms persist, contact your qualified health care professional. Try to avoid over doing it. Also avoid working out in the heat and humidity. You do not want to overheat or get dehydrated.
Tip 2- A workout routine you enjoy
Find a simple and safe workout routine that you love. It is so much easier to stick to a routine when it is something you enjoy doing. Staying fit during pregnancy should not feel like a chore! During pregnancy and really anytime I enjoy working out using resistance bands, that is my go to. There are many resistance band workouts online. Be sure to check out this workout routine by Kat and Kristina call Bump n’ Body. This workout is a total body workout that can be done in the comfort of your own home. Also be sure to check out 5 Tips for working out at home to help you on your journey.
Tip 3- Keep your body moving
Sometimes we do not have the extra time to workout each day. If you find yourself short on time try parking further away from the store, walk to the mail box instead of stopping at it on the way home. Try to add little bits of physical activity to your day to day schedule. Staying fit during pregnancy doesn’t have to be the typical go to the gym each day. It can be taking a walk with the kids or your significant other, it can be working in the garden, or just a simple workout in your living room. When trying to add physical activity to my day I often do squats or lunges in the kitchen while cooking.
Tip 4- Let the kids join the fun
If you are like me, you are expecting and have some kids at home already. We all know how much kids love to be involved, and try new things. Teaching your children about physical activity and why it is important at an early age is a great way to instill healthy habits. My boys love to join in when I work out at home, I’m sure yours will too! Just remember to keep it safe using only body weight exercises when working out with little ones. Resistance bands and dumbbells may cause injury to those precious little fingers or toes.
Tip 5- Plan ahead
This one is big for me, having a plan and goals will help you succeed! Take a little time each month or week and set some goals for yourself. It could be a goal as simple as take a walk 3 times a week or maintain current body weight. Or maybe your main goal is staying fit during pregnancy. Whatever the case is be sure to write it down. Goal setting has been known to help us stay on track and be more committed to our fitness journey. If the time comes and you did not meet your goal, that’s ok! Try harder next time. Analyze the situation and see what kept you from meeting your goal.
Nutrition is key to health especially during pregnancy. One of the best ways to ensure adequate nutrition is be sure to eat a balanced diet. Make sure not to skip out on those veggies, but you might want to pass on the extra side of fries or milkshake. Indulging is ok during pregnancy especially when you are having a craving, just remember that you are NOT eating for two. The common myth we hear all the time is you are eating for two, in reality you are not. In fact if you do over indulge it may make labor harder and there will be more baby weight to loose once baby is born. Be sure to keep your goals in mind, staying fit during pregnancy includes the way you eat.