Staying Fit During Pregnancy
Updated: Nov 27, 2022
The benefits of physical activity during pregnancy are too great for the mother and baby for us to ignore!
Encouraging newly pregnant moms to get active when they have not previously been active prior to pregnancy can help these moms enjoy a 31% reduction in risk of gestational diabetes, healthier pregnancies, healthier babies and healthier placenta volumes!
But in the face of exhausting hormones, work schedules, and toddlers at home, how is a pregnant mama supposed to get in a regular exercise routine?
This blog will help generate some ideas for healthy exercise for tired, pregnant moms, so that they can enjoy healthier pregnancies and newborns!
Ideal Exercise Prescription for Moms
Ideally, moms should be exercising for at least 30 minutes per day 3-5 times per week at a moderate intensity, or a 5-7 out of 10 if 10 is maximum capacity.
Both resistance training and aerobic training have been shown to assist in decreasing the risk of gestational diabetes in different ways, so mixing it up throughout the week is ideal.
Of course, speak with your doctor about whether or not it is safe for you to begin an exercise program before you start to find out if you are high risk or have complications that may limit your ability to participate in exercise. A list of these possible complications can be found here.
Types of Exercise
I am always a fan of things your find fun or relaxing. Types of exercises might change from the first trimester to the second. For example, you might enjoy jogging or walking outside in the first trimester, but switch to swimming in the second.
Activities like pilates, yoga, and gentle weight lifting at the gym are good resistance training options for moms who are just starting exercise. Moms who have already been participating in HITT, CrossFit,, Orange Theory and other types of higher intensity exercise can continue on but will want to stay in the 70-75% threshold of what they are normally able to do.
For moms just starting their fitness journey, stationary cycling, walking, gentle jogging, elliptical, and swimming are great options for cardio. Moms who have already been training will continue on with preferred form of exercise, but stay around the 70-75% of their max capacity.
Finding the Time and Motivation
Feeling nauseous, tired, and having pain such as pubic symphysis or back pain can make it really hard to get to the gym.
Have patience and love for yourself. You might not make it everyday, and that's okay. Have your back that you made the right choice for your health that day.
But also make the effort to commit to something. Strategize. So you can't swing 5 days a week at the pool? What can you do?
Maybe you take your toddler to the park 5 days a week and walk/jog with your toddler for fun. Maybe it's an at home yoga program for 5-10 min a day at a time. Maybe you have access to a gym with childcare and you can bring your kiddo 2x a week on the weekends, and get in another 2-3 days of 30 minutes of exercise at home or at the park.
Identify the major barriers to maintaining a fitness routine and strategize what you actually can achieve reasonably.
The benefits to you and your baby are worth it. You are worth it. Commit to your health mama.
As far as pregnancy pain, that's what pelvic floor PT is for! Establish with a PT to help prevent the onset of pain, and definitely work with a PT if you are already experiencing it.
Make your pregnancy a mobile and healthy one.
Make sure you check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine, but generally exercise is safe and healthy for most moms.
It can be very difficult to carve out self care time during pregnancy. Identify your personal barriers, make a plan that works, and commit.
But don't beat yourself up for a few missed workouts. You are pregnant and this is an exhausting time.
Moms who have not exercised before can start exercising during pregnancy and actually build up strength and endurance!
Moms who are already regular exercises can continue on with their training, but this is not a time to make gains at the gym or sign up for a big challenge you have never tried for before.
Overall, during pregnancy we want to motivate moms to exercise who are not already exercising, and we want to reign in our super fit mamas that love to push themselves!