Working out during pregnancy is safe for most women and even recommended. Of course, you should always check with your healthcare provider as they will alert you of any issues that require you to be less active. If your pregnancy is normal, being active can help it to stay that way. Regular activity decreases your risk for developing complications, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia. It can also help prepare you for labor and childbirth, which is truly a marathon. It’s not uncommon for labor to last a day or two (or three) and the actual act of pushing can last one to three hours for first time moms. You NEED stamina for labor, so having even just a basic level of fitness will help you with this. Stretching regularly will also help to open your pelvis and prepare the birth canal for baby. So how exactly do you continue or even begin being active during pregnancy? What are general do’s and don‘ts? Keep reading to find out!
General Rule of Thumb
So, my general rule of thumb is to do whatever you were doing before pregnancy or less. If you are used to running, then continue running. However, if you have never ran a marathon before, then now is not the time to train for one. You don’t want to do something that is more extreme than the activity that you are used to. If you didn’t really work out before or haven’t worked out in a while since becoming pregnant, start with the simple activities that I detail below. Also, always listen to your body. If you notice bleeding or severe cramping after an activity, discontinue right away and discuss with your healthcare provider. Stay hydrated as dehydration can cause cramping and in worst case scenarios, preterm contractions.
Walking - Hands down, walking is the best workout for pregnant women, especially those who are not used to being active. It’s simple, doesn’t exert too much energy, and is easy enough for anyone to try. You can walk around your neighborhood or local park for about 30 minutes. This is also a great way to relax mentally, soak up some vitamin D, and breathe in some fresh oxygen. If you go with your partner, you guys can take the time to talk about the future and how you are feeling with the pregnancy.
Swimming - This is also a great activity during pregnancy as it removes any stress on your already relaxing joints. Swim laps for cardio or float around for a mental escape. It’s also a really fun activity and worth trying if you feel like your fun has been limited since getting pregnant.
Prenatal Yoga - Not only is yoga beneficial when it comes to opening the pelvis and preparing your body for labor, but it’s also a way to meditate and reduce stress. You can practice squatting or getting into different positions that you would like to try for birth. Save the more complicated poses for after pregnancy, though, as you don’t want to risk falling. Make sure your class (or video) is specifically designed for pregnancy.
Dancing - It’s fun and a great way to build stamina! You can check out an easy Zumba routine or just put on your favorite music and dance like no one is watching.
I don’t know about you guys, but putting on a cute outfit definitely motivates me to work out. It’s hard finding plus size athletic wear in general, especially with a growing bump. Check out some of my favorites below:
I know it’s so tempting to stay on the couch during pregnancy, but just a little bit of activity can go a long way. Do what you can, listen to your body, and most of all, have fun!
xoxo, Global Midwife
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