Staying Active During Pregnancy
Erica Ziel, Knocked Up Fitness
Staying active during pregnancy has many more benefits then just keeping you looking fabulous! Be sure you check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Here are 8 likely added benefits of exercising regularly during pregnancy:
- Less weight gain
- More energy
- Minimize aches & pains
- Better Sleep
- Baby head down ready for delivery
- Smoother, quicker, & easier labor & delivery
- Decrease chances of emergency c-section (because you will be stronger to push baby out!)
- Bounce back after baby much faster and easier
While exercise can be great for your body there are several modifications you should be aware of. Every pregnancy is different so these are guidelines to go by, but of course you know your body better then anyone so “Listen to It!”
· Avoid crunches once you start to have a belly, for most this is around 8-12 weeks. This can actually add stress to your rectus abdominals increasing the chance that they will separate (Diastasis Recti) or separate farther. Instead try; standing rotational exercises, which are great to activate your core muscles, along with kneeling exercises such as cat cows.
- Instead of limiting your cardiovascular intensity to the old standard heart rate of 140 bpm use the talk test. You should be able to carry on short sentence conversation. If you are way out of breath you are working out to hard, can’t stop talking, maybe you could ramp it up a bit.
- Limit lying on your back to 5-10 minutes at a time, once you are well into your 2nd trimester, of course if your doc tells you to avoid back lying all together then do so. Otherwise small amounts on your back are ok if you feel good. Hip rolls are a great exercise on your back, feels amazing on your low back and hips.
- When you are getting out of bed or off the couch once you are well into your 2nd trimester try avoiding getting straight up as you would non-pregnant, rather roll to your side and use your arms to help you get up. This can also help you from overusing your rectus abdominals (same reason you’re not doing crunches). Even though you may feel really strong and able it’s a good practice to get into, you’ll want to continue this right after baby as well. Usually at least until your uterus has returned to it’s normal size (8ish weeks) or if you have some abdominal separation you need to continue to practice this until your ab’s have come back together (time varies greatly).
Exercise recommendations during pregnancy
- Cardio activities aim for 30 minutes every day: walking, elliptical, biking, and even running for some (yes you can run, although I personally don’t recommend it. It must feel good for you and I’d recommend wearing a good support belt once your belly is getting bigger).
- Strength training 2-4 days per week: Pilates, yoga, and weights. Personally Pilates is my ultimate recommendation, using your deep core muscles are the root of all exercises. This is very helpful in preparing your body for not only labor and delivery but mommy-hood in general. You need the strength to push baby out then keep up with them as they grow.
- Kegels! Yes that’s right, kegel it up (literally) moms-to-be, having a strong pelvic floor is essential to connecting with your other deep core muscles, your transverse abdominals (TA). Your TA is what you push your baby out with! As important as it is to have a strong pelvic floor it’s also essential to know how to release and relax and the connection that your pelvic floor and TA have together.
- Wear a support belt when exercising, specifically cardio if you are experiencing low back, round ligament, or sciatic pain. Sometimes you just need a little more support.
- Wear supportive and comfy tennis shoes when working out or rather all the time to help avoid falling as your balance does change as your baby and body grow.
- Hydrate! Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. I know it can be hard to drink lots of water as you have to pee lots but that’s just how it goes.
- Try moving a little bit each day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. When pinched for time, my clients love doing some of my combo strength/stretch exercises on the exercise ball at home. A couple exercises a day can leave you feeling so much better!
Pregnancy Awareness Month is not providing medical advice, we are not medical practitioners, just a bunch of moms drawing from our own experience. We encourage you to speak to a medical provider before initiating ANY physical activity.