You’re pregnant! How exciting! Your body will be going through huge changes as your family prepares for its new arrival.
Some pregnant moms might assume that it’s not a good idea to work out while pregnant but in most cases, it’s safe and high beneficial. To help you navigate through the confusion of prenatal workouts, here are eight tips.
First, Talk to Your Doctor
The first step of your journey to working out while pregnant is consulting your doctor. Every woman is different and some pregnancies will be considered “high-risk.” How far along you are will also impact your suggested pregnancy/pregnant style workout regimen.
Listen to your doctor and don’t disregard their recommendations. Even if you practically lived in the gym before you became pregnant, your body is taking on a whole new challenge. Now’s the time to treat your body with the utmost care and concern. That doesn’t mean you need to stop working out, but you do need to make some adjustments.
Keep Things Simple
Whether you’re new to working out or you love being fit and active, it’s important to keep it simple when you exercise during pregnancy. It’s not the time to try new things, set new fitness goals, focus on weight loss or toning, or give yourself a challenge.
Working out while you’re pregnant is all about staying as healthy as possible for both you and the baby, preparing your system for the miracle of birth (which is no easy physical feat).
No need to be in the gym all day every day. Start slow and steady with two or three days a week of low-impact workouts like swimming or safe yoga. Then, work your way up as your body adjusts so long as exercise is making you feel better, not worse.
If You Used to Do Intense Cardio, Switch to Low-Impact Exercises
You might think your body can handle a full-on cardio session if that’s what you were doing before pregnancy, but it’s still important to be careful no matter how fit you are. Intense cardio sessions often come with jolting, bouncing, and jerking movements that aren’t safe for pregnant moms.
Instead, switch to low-impact cardio like walking and swimming.
If You Used to Lift, Decrease the Weight
In general, your weight lifting routine will probably have to change drastically. No longer is it smart to push to your limits and lift to failure.
Instead, lower the weight and do more reps or transition to bodyweight exercises while pregnant.
Start Walking, If You Don’t Already
While pregnancy itself is no walk in the park, taking walks is one of the best things you can do to stay active while pregnant. Sometimes, it’ll feel like all you can do to put on some sneakers and walk around the neighborhood. Still, it’s an important routine to get used to.
Especially once the baby is born, you’ll be thankful that you got into a walking routine while pregnant since it’s a great way to work off the baby weight in your first weeks and months post-partum as well.
Make Sure to Stretch
Often overlooked in “normal” workout routines, stretching while pregnant can do wonders in terms of how you feel. Daily stretching can help relieve aches and pains as well as any cramping you might experience due to your pregnancy.
As your body changes, stretching helps maintain your posture and gives the baby more wiggle room. Prenatal yoga is a great way to stretch safely and are gentle enough to do through all the stages of pregnancy. It’s great stress relief too.
Listen to Your Body
Perhaps one of the hardest things for humans to do when it comes to fitness is listening to their body. Like, actually listen.
That means not making excuses when your body craves movement and not pushing past your limits when it’s time for a rest. Especially for pregnant women, your bodies will be changing so much, so quickly and it can be difficult to read the signals.
Whether it’s your first pregnancy or third, every time is different. Acknowledge the changes and respect yourself enough to be honest about where you’re at.
If you’ve been lazy for a while and you keep telling yourself you’re “eating for two” and deserve another slice of cake, go for a walk instead. Or if you’ve been at the gym four times this week already and you can barely keep your eyes open, take a nap.
This skill will come in handy once your little bundle of joy arrives, too!
Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
Even if you’re no stranger to working out, there are some movements to avoid during pregnancy.
– Spinal flexion or extension such as crunches or mountain climbers
– Rotation with flexion or extension such as bicycle crunches and yoga pose twists
– Downward-facing positions such as planks or holds in downward-facing dog
– Prolonged periods of lying on your back such as dead-bug or leg lifts
– Heavy lifting, high impact exercises, and holding your breath
Staying safe when you work out while pregnant is the most important part. So, talk to your doctor and come up with a plan. You’ll thank yourself later for staying fit during your pregnancy.