Your body is going through all sorts of changes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t safely continue your workout routine. The general rule is that once you are pregnant, you can stay as active as you were prior to your pregnancy. As long as you have approval from your doctor during all three trimesters, you can absolutely keep yourself toned as that belly grows, just be sure to always listen to your body.
Benefits of remaining active during pregnancy:
- Increased energy
- Deeper, more restful sleep
- Improved balance and coordination as your baby bump grows
- Increased endurance during labor and a smoother delivery
- Quicker recovery postpartum, both physically and mentally
Ways to stay active during pregnancy:
There are so many prenatal workout options available, whether they are classes geared towards pregnant women or modifications you can make to your previous workout routine:
Prenatal Pilates and Yoga Classes
For Pilates and yoga fanatics, choosing classes that focus on specific prenatal routines are the best way to go. These classes aim to enhance your flexibility, elongating muscles to help ease back pain and maintain core strength, and help keep the pelvic floor intact. Always bear in mind that during pregnancy your ligaments and cartilage relax so there is the possibility of stretching too far and injuring yourself.
Yoga also brings the mental benefits of increased focused and stress relief as well as deep breathing techniques that may come in handy during labor.
Barre classes offer low-impact prenatal workouts that you can tweak to fit your needs during pregnancy. It is recommended to avoid twisting motions that compress your belly.
Walking, Jogging, and Running
Brisk walking or jogging is a simple, free, and very effective workout that is easy to fit in at any trimester (even up to the very end of your pregnancy!). Just be conscious of uneven ground, bumps, and potholes.
Running can remain a staple of your workout routine as long as you listen to your body’s needs. Treadmills and even, smooth terrain are essential to mitigate any damage to joints and ligaments.
Swimming is a fantastic way for pregnant women to stay active during their pregnancies. Swimming is easy on your joints (because you weigh less underwater), helps with swelling of feet and ankles, may ease sciatic pain, and keeps you cool in those warmer months.
Weightlifting, with some modifications, is a perfectly safe way for you to keep your muscles toned during pregnancy. Just check with your doctor who will most likely recommend upping your reps and using lighter weights.
Can’t live without spin class? Not a problem! Indoor cycling is another great exercise you can modify to fit your needs (you control your power, speed, and during pregnancy and doesn’t put a large strain on your joins.
- During pregnancy, your cartilage and ligaments soften and relax, so there is an increased risk of injury while stretching and flexing, especially the knees
- Your abdominal muscles can separate, so avoid too much oblique work and curl ups
- As your pregnancy progresses, it becomes more difficult for the blood to circulate so doctors recommend exercising on your back
- Keep those pelvic muscles strong! Kegel exercises are a great way to keep your pelvic floor intact
- Hyperthermia during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of birth defects, so it is recommended not to let your body temperature reach above 102 degrees Fahrenheit
It is also important to speak with your doctor or dietician about your new nutritional needs now that you’re eating for two. They will recommend supplements and advise you as to which foods to avoid and which foods are best for the development of your unborn baby.