I thought that when I got pregnant I would no longer be able to exercise after my 3rd trimester started because of things I had heard from other mothers. And believe me, you’ll hear plenty of mixed opinions about exercising, getting fit while pregnant, and pretty much everything!
However, for me, exercise was the one thing that made me feel good during my pregnancy (especially near the end). Even though I continued to get bigger and bigger, I still felt flexible and strong. It gave me me the energy I needed to support myself and my baby.
And the most wonderful part about getting fit while pregnant, was that even though I didn’t necessarily look fit at the end, after I gave birth I was back to my original weight in less than a week! The reason for this was that I stayed healthy and fit during my pregnancy and the weight I gained was water/fluid and not fat.
Getting Fit While Pregnant: Exercise Daily
Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your heart rate and circulation, reduce the risk of excess weight gain, keep your body healthy and strong, and may make delivery easier by preparing your muscles for labor and birth.
If you were exercising regularly before pregnancy, and are healthy, you should be able to continue your regular exercise routine with slight changes depending on your trimester. If you have not been exercising before pregnancy, you will benefit from a low-intensity exercise program and gradually move to a higher level.
High-intensity workouts can be a bit much during pregnancy since your body is now focused on nourishing your baby and helping it grow. If you are used to high intensity cardio like running, cross training, or programs such as CrossFit, Insanity, or P90X, you will want to take it down a notch to more low-impact cardio.
Low Impact Cardio for Getting Fit While Pregnant:
- brisk walking
- light jogging
- stationary cycling
- elliptical machines
- low impact aerobics
If you are used to high intensity weight training using heavier weights and more reps, you will want to take it down a notch to more low-impact weight training with slightly lighter weights and less reps.
If you want to try a something more gentle, going for a walk for at least 30 minutes a day to get your blood flowing can be very beneficial. Prenatal Pilates is also a great low-impact workout that will help strengthen your pelvic muscles to better prepare your body for labor.
Eat Healthy: Don’t take “Eating for Two” Literally
Maintaining healthy eating habits during pregnancy is really important. Your body is going to need extra nutrients to ensure healthy development for your baby and for you. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you need to literally eat twice as much food! Eating a healthy and balanced diet is key for having a fit pregnancy.
Always Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water during your pregnancy can prevent you from gaining excess water weight. This is because when you don’t get enough water your body actually holds onto water to ensure it has the water it needs for your baby.
It’s really important to stay hydrated during workouts. Dehydration can make you feel weak and dizzy and make you prone to overheating, which can be a danger to you and your baby. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses per day, plus one 8-ounce cup for each hour of light activity.
Always Listen to Your Body
During pregnancy your body is going through a lot of changes and everyone experiences these changes differently. The important thing is to always listen to your body. Be sure to listen to your body’s signs as it will tell you everything you need to know.
If something hurts, stop doing it. If you get dizzy, sit down, if you have morning sickness, don’t push yourself to workout that day. Your body knows its own limits better than anyone else, so do what feels right. Don’t force yourself to work out if you aren’t feeling up to it.
Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Holding your breath during any activity
- Any exercise that may cause abdominal trauma (I recommend avoiding all abdominal workouts)
- Exercises that require lying on your back or right side for more than three minutes (especially after your first trimester)
- Exercise in hot, humid weather
- Exercises that require extensive jumping, hopping, bouncing, or skipping
- Deep knee bends, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches
- Contact sports such as softball, football, volleyball, or basketball
- Any sudden, jerking motion that can put strain on your joints and ligaments
- Exercises that challenge your balance or that could cause you to fall
Examples of Healthy Pregnancy Workouts
- I’ll start my routine with 30 minutes of cardio, such as walking on the treadmill using a slight incline and gradually increasing the incline as I progress.
- After my cardio is complete, I’ll rest for 5 minutes and replenish my body with water and a protein shake.
- After my break, I’ll begin strength training, which varies depending on whether I’m working my upper or lower body that day. So, let’s say it’s a lower body day. A few moves that I’ll do are weighted squats holding a 25-35 pound kettle bell in front of my chest. Then I’ll do weighted lunges holding a 15 pound weight in each hand (in a curled position), and end my workout with low plank leg lifts. Let’s say its an upper body day. A few moves that I’ll do are curls with a 15 pound weight in each hand. Then I’ll do shoulder shrugs with a 20 pound weight in each hand and end my workout with shoulder dips. I usually do 10-15 reps with 3 sets per move.
If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in figuring out which Lululemon leggings fit best during pregnancy.