I can’t overstate just how important exercise is to me during my pregnancies. Not only does it help me to stay fit, but it helps alleviate the aches and pains that accompany pregnancy. Even more important, it works wonders to boost my emotional health. Taking care of myself both inside and out is always a priority to me, but even more so when my body is housing and growing a special house guest!
With each pregnancy I followed the standard advice to only do the forms of exercise that I had previously been performing pre-pregnancy. It is always important to check with your OB before starting a new workout during pregnancy.
My typical forms of exercise are: yoga, running and weight training. I’ll share with you a few of my favorite ways I routinely use these forms of exercise throughout my pregnancy.
Yoga is fantastic for pregnant mommas. During my first and second trimester, yoga is a great form of aerobic and strength building exercise. But perhaps even more importantly, during all three trimesters, yoga is a great way to of stretch tired ligaments, quiet my restless legs and ease into relaxation. Additionally, there are a lot of yoga poses that help relieve the pressure of a growing baby, and even help get your little one into position and ready for birth. All a win-win!
In the beginning of my pregnancies, I continue to do a lot of Vinyassa flow yoga, which helps me get both my cardio and my strength building. I don’t do a pre-natal yoga video at this point, but it should also be noted that as an instructor, I feel comfortable putting together my own yoga sequences. If you are unsure of how to put together 30-60 minute yoga sequence, by all means, go on YouTube and find yourself a pre-natal video! As for the third trimester, I have my “go to” prenatal videos that I’ve done each pregnancy and have been a lifesaver. I recommend:
1. Prenatal Yoga with Desi Bartlett
2. Heather Seiniger in Yoga Pregnancy
3. Yoga Journal and Lamaze Present Yoga for your Pregnancy with Kristen Eykel
4. Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga by Gaiam
For me, my trouble zone’s during pregnancy are: a tight lower back, a sore tailbone and restless legs. Hands down, yoga is the one thing that helps me with pain management and general comfort throughout each stage of my pregnancies.
I’m a fair-weathered friend to running. Forget the groundhog, if you see me running in the Spring, you know warm weather is here to stay! I’m grateful that my first and second trimesters have fallen during nice weather for my current and previous pregnancy. I’ve been able to run outside about three times a week, which has been so nice.
This pregnancy, running has been my saving grace. I’ve experienced extreme nausea and morning sickness this time around that has made yoga and any form of inversion impossible without throwing up in the process. Runnning however, has actually helped calm my stomach. I’m not sure why, but I’m going with it.
For me, running has always been that thing that helps me clear my head when I’m stressed, get a great total body workout, and infuse me with all the extra endorphins and feel good energy that I need. Running while pregnant has been no exception. Sure, the distance I cover is starting to lessen and my pace is slowing, but the positive mental and physical results are the same. I do have to resist the urge, however, to yell at every person I pass, “I’m not normally this out of breath when I run…I’m pregnant! pant, pant pant,” but that is neither here nor there.
All in all, I’ll continue running as long as it continues to feel good to me. Last time around, I didn’t run past six months because I started not feeling great. I’m hoping for a longer stretch this time, but I’ll be ok with whatever happens.
I love to run in the summer weather, but a few tips for you running mommas out there:
-always stay hydrated!
-talk to your doctor about the dangers of becoming overheating during pregnancy. typically, you don’t want to keep your temperature elevated via high impact exercise for longer than 45 minutes when you are pregnant.
-wear good shoes (duh)
-stop if you don’t feel right
-don’t push yourself too hard. there are no prizes for overdoing it, but there can be consequences
I have a love-hate relationship with weight training. My husband used to run his high school’s weight room as a coach, so when we were pregnant with our first son, he came up with three, awesome weight training workouts for me.
However, weight training is another great way to stay in shape while pregnant. It is easy to modify to your body’s growing physical demands and lessening physical abilities. It helps you stay toned and strong which are crucial for a healthy labor, and of course, any work you do before you deliver helps you bounce back quicker afterwards.
I’ve done less weight training this pregnancy, but now that I’m losing my ability to do my hard core yoga, I will probably start to pick up the weights more and more.
This is probably cliche, but I do enjoy walking when pregnant. Or actually, all the time. It is a simple way to get up and get moving, even on the days that you don’t particularly feel like doing anything. Some days my boys are just too needy to get a full workout in, so taking a long walk not only helps me get some exercise in, it also helps occupy the boys.
The key to a workout routine when you are pregnant is to choose activities and a schedule that are realistic. This means factoring in your work schedule, your home life, and honestly gauging how you are feeling. It’s also important to remain flexible as how you feel can change from day to day. You also never know what surprises your pregnancy may hold, so go easy on yourself. The goal is not that you have six pack abs through your third trimester; the goal is to have a healthy mom and healthy baby.
For me, I’m currently in my second trimester and running three days a week and doing yoga three days a week. During the final weeks of my last pregnancy, I was pretty much just doing my pre-natal yoga videos each day. I wasn’t feeling well, and so I focused more on doing things that made my body feel good, and less on “exercise.”
No matter what, staying physically active during your pregnancy helps you stay physically fit, but it also works wonders on your emotional well being. Pregnancy is a special time of life that can also make you feel a little crazy at time, so give yourself some grace, and take care of you!