I love to exercise. There’s something so satisfying about sweating and knowing you’re doing something good for your body. Plus, if you walk in a group or are in a class, exercise can be a fun, social time too!

I worked out regularly before I was pregnant, and have continued to work out between 3 and 5 times a week throughout my pregnancy thus far. I’ve learned a lot of fun, interesting things about exercise and the pregnant lady, and thought I would share some of these things here and there over the coming weeks.

First up, my tips for a successful pregnancy workout!

  1. Always, always, always talk with your OB/GYN, midwife, or the person supervising your pregnancy before working out. Although exercise in pregnancy is known to be good for mother and baby (helps mom in labor and have a faster recovery, helps baby sleep longer, have less colic, and may even help baby be smarter!), there are cases where exercise can do more harm than good. Your doctor and give you specifics on your situation, and will probably recommend that you work at about 80% of the level you were at pre-pregnancy. So, if you ran 5 miles a day before becoming pregnant, only run 4 or less pregnant. The basic idea here is that you work out at a level that is not higher than where you were pre-pregnancy; if you were walking 30 minutes a day, pregnancy is not the time to start marathon training!
  2. If you are taking any exercise class, make sure the instructor knows you are pregnant before the class starts. There may be things in the class you should not do, or should take extra care doing, that you may not think as being harmful to your body or baby. Your instructor should be able to advise you as to what not to do, and may even be able to suggest modified exercises for you to do.
  3. Wear comfy clothes! Who cares if you look like a bag lady – if you aren’t comfortable, exercise is less likely to happen. If you start to feel constricted or uncomfortable in any of your clothing – replace it.
  4. Eat before you exercise. This is a general rule of thumb, but one that is extra-important for the pregnant exercisers. Make sure you aren’t working out on an empty stomach or one that’s too full either. I’ve found that eating about 1 hour to 45 minutes before exercise is good for me. Something light but still substantial is best; for me, good snacks include a banana, a granola bar or yogurt.
  5. Drink plenty of water before and during exercise. Its soo important to stay hydrated! Don’t forget to drink plenty before you work out (I exercise at noon, so my goal is to drink 4 bottles of water before then) and continue rehydrating throughout your workout. If you feel you need to stop walking, swimming, or doing whatever your class is doing to get some water – do it! You can jump right back in with whatever you were doing, but the most important thing is to remember to listen to your body and do what it says!
  6. Remember that your body will change and that doing things that were easy pre-pregnancy will be more difficult or even impossible to do while you are pregnant. This one is easier said than done for me! I noticed early on that my abs would shake during simpler ab exercises. This is caused by all the shifting of organs and muscles going on in that area, and is totally normal, even for a woman with a 6-pack. My ability to balance has also lessened, but I have still been able to maintain a decent level of balance with practice and repetition. Push-ups are harder because I weigh more! Just remember to do the best you can throughout your workout, and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t performing at your pre-pregnancy level – you aren’t supposed to be!

Do you have any great tips for a successful workout (pregnant or not)?

—————————————————————————————

Don’t forget to check back next week for some of my favorite pregnancy-approved exercises!

Advertisements