About Krissy Moore: Krissy is a personal trainer, specializing in pre and postnatal fitness as well mom to three active kids! You can follow her in Instagram @moorefitnessandhealth
So, you’re pregnant OR thinking about becoming pregnant. One question that may have crossed your mind is…
“Can I continue to exercise as I currently do while pregnant?”
– OR –
“Can I start a new routine now that I am pregnant?”
Exercising while you are pregnant can be a really enjoyable time, along with an incredible learning experience. Pregnancy is such a wonderful, amazing, life changing journey. It’s a time that most woman embrace their bodies and try to do what’s right for themselves and their growing baby. Many women, when finding out they’re pregnant will head straight to Google and bring up everything on the topic of ‘exercising while pregnant’. But then, find they’re bombarded by all the contradicting information out there.
The truth is, there is no ‘one size fits all,’ when it comes to exercising while pregnant. Whether this is your 1st or 5th pregnancy, there are certain guidelines you should follow that will help along the way to staying healthy, fit and safe during this exciting time. Plus, it can also set you on the right track to getting back into shape postpartum!
Here are my TOP 4 guidelines I recommend to clients when exercising while pregnant:
1) Always speak with your doctor first about your current situation, fitness level and concerns before you start any new fitness program. Make sure there are no contraindications to exercising during your pregnancy. Your doctor can go thru these with you, if any, and set a game plan for you.
2) Most importantly, LISTEN to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, it may not be the right thing to be doing. Every pregnancy is different too! Just as your body is going thru a transformation, so should your mindset on being ok with continuously modifying your workouts based on how you feel and what your body is telling you.
3) Don’t forget your core work and strength training. If possible, start incorporating weight training and core work before conception, and do not forget to continue working on it throughout your pregnancy. Even though soon after the first trimester you should no longer lay on your back to perform abdominal work (which puts excessive pressure on the vena cava diminishing blood flow to the brain and uterus), you can still safe and effectively work your core. This is so important in getting your strength and body back postpartum, as well as for injury prevention. Core / functional exercises that require you to work in a neutral spine are some of the most beneficial exercises to perform while pregnant. Sitting on an exercise ball and performing your core/strength work is great during pregnancy since it will require the neutral spine position throughout. Using proper form, some great resistance exercises that do require core stabilization and will help build strength are lunges and squats, upper and lower body cable, bar and dumbbell work either in a seated position or standing, pelvic tilt exercises, seated or standing transverse isolation exercises, along with many seated pilates exercises and yoga postures.
4) Eat ‘sensibly,’ NOT ‘for two’ during pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy, your appetite will change based on what your body is going thru. During your first trimester, the fetus is only the size of a pea, so aside from ‘cravings’ you may have, there really isn’t much need for adding a ton more calories. By the second and third trimester, your baby has grown considerably and is putting on weight every week. At this point, it’s recommended you add about 200-300 calories a day. You should be gaining about 1-2 pounds a week in the third trimester as well. What KINDS of food is very important. Remember, your baby isn’t eating steak or vegetables per say. The baby instead is getting the vitamins, nutrients, proteins, fats and carbs from these foods. Make sure you are not getting all those ‘bonus’ baby calories a day for the from junk food. Make it count. Shoot for quality over quantity. Everyone is different in terms of their weight gain goal while pregnant. This really is NOT the time to overindulge. If you were under weight to start, your doctor may recommend you gaining anywhere from 25-40 pounds, versus someone who is overweight, where that weight gain may be closer to 15-20 pounds. I am not saying restrict what you eat, but if you are eating tons of fast food, desserts and gain 80 pounds during pregnancy, don’t expect a 70 pound baby to come walking out of that delivery room. Everything in moderation. Everyone is different, so see what works for you!
As you can see, maintaining your exercise routine throughout your pregnancy is so beneficial for both you and your growing baby! It can also help alleviate some pregnancy symptoms and discomforts as well. It can relieve stress and keep you strong and healthy for delivery, and the postpartum demands of caring for a baby. If you were physically active before you became pregnant, you can continue your activity with modifications throughout. If you were not active before, speak with your doctor about incorporating a fitness routine into your schedule that would benefit you. You can even seek out a fitness professional who specializes in pre/post natal fitness at your local gym to get your started after you have spoken with your doctor.
Enjoy the journey, be safe and healthy! You are doing something amazing not only for yourself, but for that growing baby inside!