12 Feb Fitness for 2 – Exercising in Pregnancy 101
Have you ever heard the saying, “A man becomes a father the day of delivery. A woman becomes a mother the day she finds out she’s pregnant?” Whether it’s true or not, the moment you find out you’re pregnant, everything changes. For many women, a positive pregnancy test brings with it a lot of questions and an intense interest in making healthy decisions because there’s a little one to take care of already. From eating healthy [and figuring out what you can and can’t eat] to exercising in pregnancy, there are plenty of changes to come to terms with and a whole new set of worries associated with everything.
Is exercising in pregnancy safe to do?
While we all know [and have known for a long time] that it’s important to eat healthy while pregnant, the idea of being physically active in pregnancy and its benefits are relatively new concepts! No matter what our mothers and grandmothers were told when they were pregnant, recent studies are CLEAR on their findings; exercising in pregnancy is very important and has plenty of benefits – not just for mom, but for baby too! So, if you’re pregnant, it’s good to be practicing a physical activity that improves or maintains your fitness and overall health and wellness. Exercising in pregnancy is important and can help with some of the typical discomforts that come with being pregnant and can even help prepare your body for labor and delivery!
Exercising in pregnancy…
- Can help reduce the aches and pains associated with pregnancy [and even help some of the digestive issues many pregnant women face as well!]
- Is a great way to help you get a better night’s sleep, which doesn’t come easy when pregnant
- Can potentially help manage gestational diabetes
- Is a great way to manage the stress, anxiety and emotions associated with pregnancy
- Increases muscle tone, strength, and endurance, which you’ll need for labor and delivery [and for lifting a baby for the next 5 years!]
- Can make it easier for to get back in shape after the baby is born.
While exercising in pregnancy is recommended, it is dependent on several different factors. Before exercising while pregnant, you should first check with your doctor to see what he/she recommends for you.
Important things to consider before exercising in pregnancy:
For most women, exercise is safe during pregnancy, but there are several things to consider and modifications to implement from the get-go and throughout your pregnancy. The following considerations are good to hold in the back of your mind as general “rules of thumb” while exercising in pregnancy:
Did you workout before?
The first thing to consider is your physical activity level prior to pregnancy. If you were physically active before getting pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. If you weren’t physically active prior to getting pregnant, start SLOW. Walking is a great place to start. Once again, though, check with your doctor or midwife first.
Your goal needs to change.
Second, it’s time to change the way you think about exercising. Now that you are pregnant, your goal in exercising should not be weight loss. It should simply be to move your body and stay healthy. There’s good news in the weight loss department, though! Exercising in pregnancy will likely help with your weight loss after your baby is born!
How hot are you?
Next to consider? Your body temperature. Just like you shouldn’t be taking hot baths or spending time in a hot tub, you should be cognizant of your body’s temperature. If you think you’re hot out here, it’s even hotter inside your belly! Make sure you watch how hot you’re busy is getting and drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout!
Make sure you pass the “talking test”.
Up next is your heart rate. You shouldn’t be doing any workout that leaves you breathless or gasping for air. your body requires more oxygen when you’re pregnant than normal, so you need to get your heart rate at a good level so that you can breathe easily. A good way to measure this is with the “talking test”. As long as you can keep a conversation going throughout your workout, you’re good. If you need to stop talking to catch your breath, SLOW DOWN and lower your heart rate.
Fitness for 2 Video Series
This is just a general summary of what you need to know about exercising in pregnancy. As you journey from first trimester to third trimester, certain modifications and changes are necessary. I paired up with Jon at Vive Fitness to create a video series about working out throughout your pregnancy and how that changes as you get closer to your delivery day. The series includes inspiration for the types of workouts that are best to do and even some exercises you can do at home!
Click on the links below to read the posts and watch the videos for the rest of the series:
Working Out in the First Trimester
Working Out in the Second Trimester
Working Out in the Third Trimester