There are many things that make pregnancy difficult. Many things that are not my favorite. I have daily reminders that I am, in fact, still pregnant. I also have daily reminders of how MAGICAL being pregnant is. My body is making another body. It. Is. Crazy.
Of course, I am a person who has always been very active, so exercise has been one of the most patience-inducing aspects of this pregnancy. I am fortunate that I am able to and feel good still being active, as I know this is not always the case. However, there has been a significant amount of slowing down happening. Even from the first trimester until now (29 weeks) there have been huge changes in what my body is capable of when considering fitness.
For example, I literally cannot get into many yoga poses anymore. I must modify. Child’s pose? Forget it. It makes the baby press on my organs in ways I do not appreciate.
Any form of bouncing? Totally fine, unless you want to actually get a workout accomplished without stopping to pee every 5 minutes.
Strength-training? Perfect! It is low-impact and still gets the heart rate moving. BUT, I’ve had to forget about lifting the amount I was before pregnancy. I physically can’t do it. I just ordered more resistance bands and 5-pound dumbbells because that is what my body can handle. Heavier weights completely exhaust my muscles almost immediately. It just isn’t happening.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: Listen to your body. It will tell you your limits.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women can continue the exercise regimen that had prior to becoming pregnant, as long as they have a healthy pregnancy, remain low-risk and their doctor or midwife gives them the okay.
They recommend getting 30-minutes of activity, most days of the week. This can be as simple as taking a walk or going to a prenatal yoga class. It can be lifting weights or jogging. The most important thing is that you drink plenty of fluids, stop if your body is uncomfortable and recover your breath if you become breathless. This likely means you’ll have to modify whatever workouts you have been doing to increase your tolerance. As a pregnant gal, your body is working quite a bit harder than normal and it is very easy to get winded.
I know, having to modify a workout is like a blow to the ego sometimes, but it is what is best for you and your baby. AND, any movement is beneficial. Now is not the time to work on your summer bod. Your new goals? Keep your heart healthy, the baby healthy and work toward a safe delivery.
On top of all that, us pregnant ladies also need to be mindful of safe abdominal exercises and our loose joints. Avoiding many abdominal exercises during pregnancy reduces the severity of diastasis recti, which occurs in the general population, but is an increased risk for pregnant individuals. There are many online resources that demonstrate modifications of safe abdominal exercises, as this is still a necessary area of focus during pregnancy workouts.
That being said, exercise during pregnancy can also help with constipation, reduce swelling, improve your mood and energy levels, and prepare your body for labor.
After approving my exercise regimen with my midwife, my week looks somewhat like this:
- Sunday: prenatal yoga
- Monday: rock-climbing
- Tuesday: cardio and lower body
- Wednesday: rock-climbing
- Thursday: cardio and upper body
- Friday: whole body workout (usually low-impact) or prenatal yoga
- Saturday: rest day
I like to mix it up, but try to hit all of these areas each week. I also listen to my body. Yesterday, I was feeling exceptionally exhausted, so instead of rock-climbing, I did a slow, 45-minute yoga session. I still use several of the BeachBody programs, while following the modifier. For exercises I can’t do, I modify into something similar. I also draw inspiration from several prenatally-trained instagram-ers and youtube-ers.
Maybe I will even start sharing some of my workouts on here – or get my own certification in prenatal exercise….
Oh the dreams I have!