As most of you know I’ve continued to workout throughout my pregnancy as often as I can. My first trimester it was a little rough since I felt like vomiting all day long (and most days I did). However, I would still try to squeeze in some form of physical activity when I felt up for it. My second trimester I felt much better and was excited to get back into a more normal exercise routine. However, around 18 weeks I was told I had placenta previa and had to cut back on my exercise to avoid any chance of bleeding or complications. I still continued to stay active and modified my workouts as needed. Now in my third trimester, with my placenta previa cleared up, I’m enjoying being able to jog and do a little more with my fitness. Although I’ll admit it’s getting harder as I continue to get larger.
Regardless of what trimester I was in, I’ve continued to focus on a few specifics to benefit me during and after pregnancy.
Stretching – While I haven’t been great about incorporating yoga every week, I have tried to make sure to do some form of daily stretching. This is something that surprisingly has gotten a lot harder in the past few weeks. The belly is in the way and it’s almost a workout to try to bend over or reach for my toes! Ha!
Arms – Not only do I want to keep my arms strong so I’m not wearing long sleeves all summer long. Keeping your arm strength up during pregnancy will help you once the baby arrives. If you’ve had a baby, you know how tired and sore your arms can get from holding your little bundle of joy all day long. So maintaining good arms strength should be top on your list during pregnancy and I’ve definitely tried to keep it up there on mine!
Pelvic floor – Most women know they are supposed to keep their pelvic floor but most women also don’t really do this. I’m one of them! I’ve definitely been trying to focus more on pelvic floor exercises through this pregnancy since this is my second child and I want to be able to jump rope or do jumping jacks again at some point 😉 Actually, with my pelvic floor work through this pregnancy, I’ve still been able to do some jumping without any leaking which is always a plus! Best pelvic floor exercise is kegals!
Core – Even though many pregnant women think they shouldn’t exercise their core during pregnancy, it’s actually essential to keep your core strong while carrying a baby! Doing so can help your sense of control during delivery and alleviate pressure on your back from your baby during pregnancy. It also helps to support proper posture during pregnancy and helps you recover quickly after delivery. Even though I’ve received some criticism for doing things like planks or other core exercises as some people think they are linked to diastis recti, I’ve continued to go ahead with these exercises as many resources encourage doing so for the above mentioned reasons.
Cardio – Cardio is great during pregnancy if you’ve already been including it before you were pregnant and it’s done at a safe level. Including it can help to relieve aches and pains, keep your weight under control, and decrease your chance of varicose veins. This one has been a little trickier since there was a large time span I couldn’t do a ton of running or more cardio forms of exercise when I had placenta previa. During this time I focused more on rowing, walking, bike riding and modifying certain cardio moves (jumping jacks, burpees, mt. climbers etc) to still get my heart pumping safely. Once my placenta previa cleared I jumped back on the treadmill and started jogging a little more. Now I run about 2-3 miles a few times a week and really enjoy it. I might be slow, but it feels good to get in a little cardio in the form of short jogs.
Legs – This has been a big one for me throughout this pregnancy. Strengthening your legs during pregnancy has many benefits. Lower body strength exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor, keep your glutes strong to decrease back pain, keep blood flow pumping through your legs decreasing your chance of varicose veins and prepares you for labor. You definitely need strong legs for pushing! So I’ve been focusing a lot on keeping up with my leg exercises durning the past 7 months. Here’s a great lower body workout I did last week that left me just the right amount of sore 🙂 If there is such a thing!
I added in a 400 meter jog in between each set and completed 4 rounds using 15 lb dumbbells.
Of course if you’re pregnant (or new to exercise) you should always check with your doctor before starting anything new.
If you are exercising while pregnant, it’s extremely important to make sure you,
- Check with your doctor
- Warm up before starting
- Take breaks during your workout
- Stay hydrated
- Make sure to not overheat, exercise in a cool room or with a fan nearby
- STOP if you feel dizzy, light headed, any pain, or overheated
- Cool down post workout
Most importantly, know that everyone is different. I’ve kept up my exercise routine throughout my pregnancy doing certain things some non-pregnant women don’t do because I was exercising a lot before I got pregnant. So know that what someone else is able to do during pregnancy, you might not be able to do. LISTEN to YOUR BODY! The most important thing is growing a healthy baby 🙂