If you’ve done your homework regarding exercising during pregnancy, whether it is from the internet or a friend, chances are you’ve already come across some pretty outrageous results. Some ban weightlifting completely, and only recommend doing prenatal yoga, while others recommend not exercising at all.
So what’s the deal with exercise and pregnancy?
Even though past thinking suggests not lifting anything heavier than your purse, current data states that only the opposite is true. Research indicates that both mom and baby can benefit from prenatal exercise tremendously. In fact, studies show that moms who continue to stay fit have lower chances of preterm labor, have shorter labors, briefer hospital stays and fewer complications during delivery.
In addition, working out during pregnancy will also reduce your chances of gaining excess weight, which means you’ll drastically reduce the amount of work you’ll have to put into losing weight post-pregnancy. You’ll also have more energy and become less prone to lethargy, morning sickness, back pain, leg swelling and to top it all off, you’re likely to get a lot of positive attention. Like who can’t resist smiling at a badass pregnant mom during her power walk?
If you’re thinking about your baby, fret not. One study shows that exercising during pregnancy can help build sturdier blood vessels in your baby, thereby programming your child’s heart to repel cardiovascular issues later in life. Babies also tend to handle the stress of labor better when moms exercise during their pregnancy.
Remember, safety always comes first.
Always make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before taking any workout, diet or supplementation advice during pregnancy. Each mother and her pregnancy are unique in their own way. Therefore, it is critical that you listen to your body and stop if you feel uncomfortable, sick or just not right.
Note that your workouts may not be the same as they were before pregnancy and that’s totally fine. There’s a tiny human growing inside of you and we can’t think of anything that can be more amazing than this. So don’t give yourself a hard time if you cannot meet your workout expectations every day or are unable to exercise 4-5 times a week.
Even a little bit of exercise is better than no exercise.
Each day is going to feel different. Some days you may feel energetic and excited, and others may involve a lot of nausea and lethargy. Your goal here should be to not give up staying fit, even if it means working out just 2 or 3 days a week. Just maintain your fitness, lift light weights and try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise whenever possible as this will help your labor, delivery and post-natal recovery immensely.
Now is not the time to start something new.
Another important thing to remember is that pregnancy is not the time to start something new. If you never ran before pregnancy or lifted weights, don’t do it now. Moreover, if you weren’t active before being pregnant, it may not be a great idea to jump into a new exercise regime. Simply perform a few light and easy exercises to ease yourself in. Yoga is an excellent choice in this scenario as all that stretching can seriously help your labor and delivery.
Many studios offer prenatal yoga classes for moms but make sure you talk to your doctor before joining one.
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin helps relax and loosen your tendons and ligaments during pregnancy, helping your body prepare to deliver a baby. Therefore, it is critical that you take it easy and perform exercises and stretches with modifications.
You’ll learn to chill out
Other than the rush of dopamine that follows a sweaty workout, the emphasis of breathing and controlled movement can help us stay calm and focused. Prenatal yoga is the ultimate recipe for chilling out as it consists of the perfect amount of breathing, meditation and comfortable, happy movements. Regular yoga sessions can help you relax, instead of feeling tensed, uncomfortable or stressed out. Being able to relax is an incredibly valuable skill during labor. We recommend mixing it up and performing exercises that help you feel positive and motivated to carry on exercising.
If you already have a little one and feel now is the time to get back on track, try our Post Baby Ebook that will act like your guide throughout your badass post-pregnancy fitness journey!