Best Exercises For Getting Fit While Pregnant
This article will guide you through some workout programs for getting fit while pregnant.
Health practitioners have always recommended that working out is an important aspect when you are expectant. It will not only improve your health but that of your baby as well.
Before we start discussing getting fit while pregnant, is it even safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Tips For Staying Fit During Pregnancy + First Trimester Workout
Today, Im sharing some of my top tips for staying fit and working out safely during pregnancy so that you can look and feel your best before and after baby arrives! A free sample first trimester workout can also be downloaded for inspiration!
If youve been following along with my last few posts, you probably know that we had our baby, a little over three months ago. I cant believe how fast the time has gone already!
Although I enjoyed knowing that I had a baby growing inside of me, I must say that I dont miss being pregnant AT ALL.
The nausea, food aversions, constant bathroom breaks, feeling like I was carrying around a ton of bricks, and did I mention the exhaustion?!
Oh my goodness. I was SO tired. ALL. THE. TIME. Everyday I felt like I had been hit by a truck.
Seriously. Pregnancy is no joke.
Despite all of these obstacles, one thing I promised myself before getting pregnant is that I would workout throughout my entire pregnancy. I was determined to stay as healthy, fit and active as possible while still adhering to the healthy weight guidelines.
Was it easy?
Half the time, I had to drag myself to the gym. But now, looking back, it was honestly the best decision I made throughout my pregnancy and its something I recommend all the time to other expecting women.
In all honesty though, at first, I wasnt quite sure WHAT I should do during my workouts.
SO many questions!
Check Your Pregnancy Calendar
If you really want to go on a boating trip while pregnant, it is wise to plan it around your;2nd trimester. You may think that going on a;short cruise;while on your first trimester is preferable, but you actually have to be more careful in that stage of your pregnancy. Extreme;outdoor activities;can harm your baby while theyre still settling in your womb.
For the;third trimester, it is already a given that boating can be extremely risky. You can give birth anytime during your last three months, depending on the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy. It doesnt matter if youre just sitting down or;water skiing;in the;open water. You should refrain from going boating in case you need to go to the hospital for urgent care.
Extra precautions;must be taken before going anywhere or doing anything while pregnant. You are in a precarious situation, and you are not just holding your life in your hands. When booking boating trips, it is vital that you do not;skip to;other steps before evaluating your own condition first.
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You May Have A Shorter Labor
There`s a study which discovered among fit women who gave birth naturally that those particular women who had continued their training while pregnant experienced labor for four hours and 25 minutes compared to six hours and 23 minutes for women who had quit training early. One hundred and twenty minutes of less enduring labor is something to consider indeed.
How To Stay Fit While Pregnant
Making a human is hard work! Your body is going to change dramatically over the course of your pregnancy, and most likely thereafter as well. You have probably heard stories who became pregnant and never, snapped back. If you are expecting, you may be wondering can you exercise while pregnant. Getting fit while expecting a baby is not only entirely possible but also a great idea! The healthier a mother-to-be, most likely, the healthier her baby will be. Exercising while pregnant is also a great way to prepare for the marathon that is labor and delivery. Plus, if you maintain your fitness routine while pregnant, chances are that you will have an easier time with the postpartum fitness journey and losing the weight gained over those long nine months. Read on to learn more.
Of course, the most important advice around anything involved with your pregnancy will come from your doctor or OBGYN. Always check with a qualified professional before partaking in anything strenuous or new while pregnant. In general, if your pregnancy is healthy and exercise was part of your routine before you became pregnant, you should continue the same workouts as you were doing. As you get further along with your pregnancy, you will likely need to make modifications for safety. Especially because your body is going to drastically change. As your belly grows, it will become increasingly difficult to execute certain movements, which will yield exercises to avoid while pregnant.
Elliptical & Spin Bike
If you were a gym-goer prior to pregnancy, chances are that you started your workouts with some form of cardio warm-up. For many, this typically involves a fast-paced walk or run on a treadmill. When you have a giant belly that weighs 20-30lbs, nothing about running is going to feel good. All of the bouncing up and down and the impact is going to cause a great amount of discomfort.
Luckily, the elliptical machine and spin bikes offer worthy alternatives. The gliding motion is continuous, so you never have the abrupt impact of your foot hitting the track. Plus, most machines have many resistance settings so you can really up the challenge. This is perfect if the weather outside isnt ideal for a walk, or if you are looking to break a sweat.
What is your favorite way to stay in shape while pregnant?
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Lower Body Exercise Hybrid: Lunge/side Raise
Pregnancy Benefit: Your quadriceps and hamstrings bear the weight of your pregnancy as your belly grows, so strengthening your lower body with lunges is a great way to stay fit during pregnancy. Adding a side raise to this exercise ensures your shoulders will remain strong throughout pregnancy as well.
Does Pregnancy Change How Your Body Responds To Exercise
During pregnancy, your body changes in many ways. When youre active, you may notice changes in your:
- Balance. You may notice that you lose your balance more easily during pregnancy.
- Body temperature. Your body temperature is slightly higher during pregnancy, so you start sweating sooner than you did before pregnancy.
- Breathing. As your baby develops and your body changes, you need more oxygen. Your growing belly puts pressure on your diaphragm, a muscle that helps you breathe. You may even find yourself feeling short of breath at times.;
- Energy. Your bodys working hard to take care of your baby, so you may have less energy during pregnancy.
- Heart rate. Your heart works harder and beats faster during pregnancy to get oxygen to your baby.;
- Joints. Your body makes more of some hormones during pregnancy. This can make the tissues that support your joints more relaxed. Try to avoid any movements that may strain or hurt your joints.;
How To Stay Fit During Pregnancy Like A Pro
Prenatal fitness expert Sara Haley shares her exercise tips for pregnancy and new motherhood.
As a certified pre/post-natal exercise specialist, the brains and talent behind a best-selling prenatal workout DVD, and one of;SHAPE’s Hottest Female Trainers in America, Sara Haley knows a thing or two about;working out while preggo. But as she’s learning while carrying her second baby, no two pregnancies are the same.
We picked her brain to get;tips for staying fit no matter what your pregnancy is like.
How is your second pregnancy comparing to your first?
Haley:;My second pregnancy has been more challenging in almost every way: I felt more nauseous in my;first trimester, I started showing sooner, I have signs of;diastasis;recti, and now that I’m in my;third trimester, I have some SI joint pain. Plus, since I have a three-year-old to take care of, I can’t rest when I’m tired. I need to be a lot more efficient in my workouts.
If you could only do one workout during pregnancy, what would it be and why?
Haley:;Dance cardio has definitely been my go-to this pregnancy. Not only is it a great low-impact form of cardio, it simply makes me happy. As much as I believe workouts should keep you healthy and strong during your pregnancy, I also think fitness should be fun.
Do you ever feel too tired to exercise?
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Workout Modifications For The Second Trimester
In the second trimester, many mamas feel a welcomed energy boost as morning sickness dissipates. You will likely feel the strongest and most energized during this trimester, so its important to avoid pushing yourself too hard, even if you feel good. Use the talk test and received exertion on a scale of 1-10 , try to keep it in the 5-8 range.
ACOG recommends skipping exercises on your back after the first trimester.;The supine position can cause compression on the inferior vena cava, which is a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower and middle body to the right atrium of the heart.;If youre on your back, the pressure of the baby can compress this vein and reduce oxygen to the fetus. You may start to feel this, and feel uncomfortable, hot, and/or dizzy.
Some women are comfortable performing a short exercise set on their back during pregnancy because it feels completely fine, but to be on the safe side, its not recommended. Also, some women experience zero symptoms or feelings when the vein is compressed, so its smart to avoid the supine position and also avoid lying on your right side. I wouldnt risk it, especially because the exercises will always be waiting and its such a short amount of time to dedicate yourself to growing a healthy baby. Also, there are ways to safely complete almost ALL exercises during your pregnancy. It just takes a little modification.
Is It Safe To Exercise During Pregnancy
While its true that now isnt the time to learn to water ski or enter a horse-jumping competition, most women can still enjoy most fitness activities. In fact, many exercises that are off-limits during pregnancy are ones youd probably have a hard time doing with a basketball-sized tummy anyway.
That said, definitely be sure to get the go-ahead from your practitioner before you start any exercise program during pregnancy. Some conditions can rule out exercise during pregnancy.
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The Conditioned Athlete: Keep It Up But Down A Notch
Until recently, athletic women like Karabaic were cautioned by most doctors to curtail intense physical activity, particularly exercise that involved jumping, bouncing or impact, like running or aerobics, and advised to switch to walking, swimming and stretching because there wasn’t enough evidence to show that moderate-to-intense activity was safe.
But research by experts like Dr. James Clapp III, author of “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy,” is debunking the prevailing conservative stance. He tracked the effects of frequent , prolonged bouts of high-intensity , weight-bearing exercise on competitive runners and aerobic dance instructors.
Dr. Clapp found that these pregnant athletes’ bodies were not only conditioned to handle the physical changes that occur from more strenuous workouts — such as increased heart rates, higher body temperatures, stress on muscles and ligaments, and reduced levels of oxygen and glucose — but that they had easier, healthier pregnancies when they continued these activities.
Women who continued regular weight-bearing exercise above 50% of their prepregnancy levels tended to have fewer physical discomforts, gained about 8 pounds less than those who stopped exercising, and did not sustain more injuries or complications such as membrane ruptures. They also had easier, shorter and less complicated labors with less medical intervention, like pain relief, pitocin and episiotomies, and recovered faster.
Effects On Working Out
Scientists continue to try to investigate exactly how and to what extent preterm physical exercise could improve performance during pregnancy. Although there`re are definitely changes from the physiological point of view which might contribute to these particular effects, some scientists think that the effect of pregnancy on training is related as well.
In an article published in 2009 in The Guardian, a doctor from the Gloucester University, David Jones, suggests expecting mothers might be less prone to overtraining, which is a frequent issue in lots of performance athletes who can weaken performance. Read more!
According to Dr. Jones, it`s perhaps the situation that most serious athletes do a bit too many physical exercises, not too few. When there are other different priorities that may come along and they need to reduce their exercise routine a bit, that may not really be a bad thing.
Athletes who over-train are more likely to experience fatigue and injuries, and the 9 months of pregnancy presents the perfect chance to take a break.
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Body Changes That Affect Exercise During Pregnancy
There are many changes happening in your body during pregnancy.; First, joints are more flexible from the hormones which cause certain muscles to relax during pregnancy.; Your center of gravity or equilibrium is shifted from the extra weight in the front, as well as, your shifting hips.
This can affect your balance as you near your due date. The extra weight will also cause your body to work harder than before you were pregnant.
All of these factors may affect how you exercise and what exercises you choose to do.; Remember, it is always recommended you consult your healthcare provider about exercises for your specific situation.
Want to Know More?
Get Fit While Pregnant
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology , 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day on most or all days of the week is recommended with respect to pre-pregnancy level of physical activity.
No exercise pre-pregnancy. Start with 5 minutes of exercise per day and gradually increase the duration in the succeeding days until you reach 30 minutes per day.
With exercise pre-pregnancy. It is safe to continue exercising while youre pregnant although some modifications are needed to accommodate your baby bump. Caution has to be taken when doing high-intensity exercises even if youre used to it before pregnancy.
It is encouraged that pregnant women exercise. ACOG even published these recommended safe exercises during pregnancy;for healthy pregnant women.
Maintain a healthy pre and post exercise nutrition adapted for pregnant women. Remember to stretch and hydrate. Wear comfortable and appropriate exercise attire. If you can’t talk while exercising, you’re probably working out too hard and should slow down your pace. Watch out for danger signs like vaginal bleeding, prolonged shortness of breath, increased contractions, uneven heartbeat, etc. If you feel something not normal, stop what youre doing and call your doctor.
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Keep Your Balance Checked
Boating around calm waters may seem easy to most, but it can be quite dangerous if you are in the middle of your pregnancy. Your sense of balance and center of gravity is entirely different when youre pregnant. Make sure to refrain from going near ledges and uneven platforms as motion sickness can come and attack anytime. As much as possible, walk slower and take it easy when exploring around the boat.
Ease Your Mind For Better Sleep
From worrying about something going wrong to wondering if youll be a good parent, pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster. During my third trimester, Id lay awake in bed at night praying my baby would kick so I knew they were okay.
To give my mind rest and, ultimately, my body I tried a few different techniques.
Sometimes Id meditate for 10 to 15 minutes before bed to calm my mind. Other times I would reach out to new and expectant mamas for encouragement and to share my anxieties.
If I had a list of to-dos spinning in my head, Id jot them down in my phone so they werent distracting me from drifting off to sleep.
Above all, establishing a relaxing routine before bed allowed me to find mental and emotional peace ensuring both baby and I got the recharge we needed.
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