When it comes to working out during pregnancy, there’s often a ton of mixed opinions. In most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy, and you will usually find that it is even recommended. Typically, if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your OBGYN will tell you to remain active as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.
Exercising during pregnancy is not only great for mom to be but is beneficial for baby too! The benefits of moving more during pregnancy are that you are likely to gain less weight, labor and delivery may be easier – who doesn’t want that? – you will sleep better, you will have more energy, and are likely bounce back faster after delivery. Baby will likely reap these benefits as well such as your child having a healthier heart and birth weight. Babies of women who exercise through pregnancy also tend to sleep through the night sooner and are less prone to colic and are better able to sooth themselves – sounds like a win-win to me!
Before getting pregnant I went through a pretty dramatic change in lifestyle. A year almost to the date I had decided to take it upon myself to make a change and finally get healthier and fit. Ultimately, I lost over 25 lbs and was in the best shape I had been in my entire life. This definitely didn’t come easy, it took a lot of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice – but a big part of why I did it was for this baby. I wanted to be in the best possible shape before conceiving. I wanted to give this baby the best start to his or her life by providing a healthy place that would nurture and grow them.
Fast forward to March of this year I was still continuing working out and eating a balanced diet – whilst enjoying a few treats! Before I found out I was pregnant I had noticed I was lacking energy and drive but thought nothing of it. After I found out I was pregnant I was determined to not let my lack of energy get the best of me. This became increasingly hard as the fatigue started to set in. By the end of the day I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep, working out was the last thing on my to-do list. There were days I didn’t workout, and that was OK. There were days I did workout and I did not regret it at all, because in the end it helped fight the fatigue I was feeling.
A couple weeks into the pregnancy I got my energy back and was feeling really good, I began working out more continuously and it was paying off. I have had to make a few minor adjustments to my workouts because of the pregnancy. I am not a Doctor or am claiming to know everything however this is what I have found from personal experience, research and speaking with my OBGYN. A few things I had to keep in mind were…
- Listen to Your Body: Your body was created to do amazing things! After all, it was built to grow and birth a new life. If you get dizzy, sit down. If something hurts, stop doing it. Your body knows its own limits better than anyone else so take it easy and do what feels right.
- Stay Hydrated: Hydration is key! By staying hydrated during your workout, your body is less likely to overheat itself.
- Start Slow/Finish Slow: Respect your body and its changes. Start each workout with a warm-up to get your heart rate up and blood flowing. Similarly, you will want to end each workout with stretching or walking. Stopping abruptly traps blood in the muscles, reducing blood supply other parts of your body and to your baby.
- Avoid Certain Moves: After about 12 weeks you will want to avoid lying on your back for an indefinite amount of time which can cause your uterus and growing baby to put major pressure onto the major vessel that returns blood to your heart. This reduces the blood flow to the placenta as well as to the rest of your body causing you to feel dizzy and potentially harming baby. You may also want to avoid moves such as crunches, sit ups, planks, and twisting movements can cause your abdominal muscles to split into two halves. This is known as Diastasis Recti and it is very hard to heal depending on the severity.
I feel so very blessed to be growing this baby. The fact that my body is capable of creating and growing our baby is something I can’t even put into words but seeing your body change is FAR from easy. Especially after working my ass off to lose weight and get in shape. On the other hand, nothing is more powerful that being your own motivation! I am choosing to embrace this season of change and am continuing to remind myself that the fact that my body is capable of this is pretty amazing! Postpartum I am excited to see what more my body can do. I am excited to challenge myself again and see what I am capable of. I am excited to experience this kind of growth and transformation again because although it is hard it’s one of the most empowering feelings in the world!