Pregnancy can be an exciting time of change for an expecting mother. It can also come with a lot of aches, pains, and even nausea and insomnia. One of the best remedies? Exercise!
If you’re thinking that a workout is the last thing you want to do with a bun in the oven, hear us out. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology actually recommends pregnant women get 30 minutes of activity daily, both to reduce pain and inflammation associated with pregnancy and also increase your chances of an easier and less complicated labor and delivery. For moms looking to stay active pre and post pregnancy, here a few pointers to help you on your way.
Check with your doctor
First things first, always be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider to make sure it’s safe for you to exercise during your pregnancy. Sometimes studios or gyms will actually ask for a doctor’s note when you arrive for class, so when you talk to your doctor, be sure to ask for one to keep with you!
Start low and slow
If you’re new to exercise, pregnancy isn’t the best time to start a vigorous new workout routine. Start with something simple and easy like a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Some activity is always better than no activity, and walking is a great way to get your body primed for working out.
If you’re already a gym rat, try to tailor back your regular programming to be lighter weight and lower impact, and, of course, always listen to your body! If you’re looking for a new class, programs like Peerfit provide access to a variety of fitness studios in your area, allowing you to try new classes and see what works best for you and your needs. Peerfit also allows you to put special notes for your instructor when you sign up for class, where you can let them know you’re expecting, and you can even filter classes to find ones more suitable for your pregnancy needs.
Listen to your body
Most often, women are told to stick with what they are comfortable with during pregnancy. Some women are able to do a lot, others not so much, and for some women, it might change day to day. All of that is ok! Most importantly, listen to your body and what it’s telling you, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, consult your doctor for advice.
Try scaling workouts
When you’re attending a group fitness studio like a CrossFit gym or even a yoga class, feel free to ask the coach for modifications! Every workout is scalable, and just because a particular workout includes something that might not work for someone who’s pregnant, it doesn’t mean there isn’t an alternative movement they can do instead. For instance, you can always scale pull ups to something like ring rows, or box jumps to box step ups, or simply decreasing weights can accommodate those who are expecting.
Low impact movements are your friend
Ultimately, any exercise you get while pregnant is going to be beneficial to you and your little one. Because you might be a little off balance and a little heavier than usual, low impact exercises like swimming, walking, yoga, spin and dance classes can be great. Classes like swimming and yoga will also help alleviate the added pressure your growing bump is putting on your back and feet, while helping you with stretching and focused breathing.
Hydrate and snack often
Exercising is naturally going to deplete calories, but so does growing a new human! You may already be eating for two, but if you’re adding workouts to the mix, as well, make sure that you fuel up accordingly with additional protein and carbohydrates. Making sure you stay hydrated is also important, especially during and after your workouts. You can find some of our favorite ways to stay hydrated here. Again, when in doubt, always feel free to call your doctor!
All in all, maintaining an exercise routine throughout pregnancy is now recommended because it’s best for all parties involved. If you were a fitness fiend prior to expecting, there is no reason for your workout routine to suffer. The key is finding an exercise program that works for you and your body’s needs and sticking to it!