Helpful, Expert Tips for Exercising While Pregnant

Exercising While Pregnant

Making sure you get your daily exercise is already difficult enough. Add to that the discomfort of carrying a child and the groans that ensue become even further amplified. No matter how much you don’t want to do it, though, exercising while pregnant is vital to both you and your baby’s health.

It goes without saying that your own pregnancy exercise routine depends on your preferences. It can be as easy as a 15-minute stroll through your favorite park, a yoga session with your girlfriends or even a slightly more intense cardio session.

We spoke to Beverly Caen, a mother of three and fitness lover, about the topic of keeping fit while pregnant. Not only did she continue her weight lifting and cardio routine through week 39 of pregnancy — she admits she’s a little zany for that — she’s also the creator of SaneFitness and the subsequent product, SanePreggers, an original workout kit for pregnant women created with the guidance from a reputable NYC-based OB-GYN. fitnesskit

“It has been proven that staying strong and healthy during pregnancy is good for both mommy and baby,” says Caen. “Exercise is something that you have to commit to all the time, but especially when you are pregnant. Your body is the most important thing to your new baby and you have to stay healthy, mind, body and soul.”

Before You Jump Into That Fitness Regimen…

Ultimately, you’ll want to speak to a doctor about what’s best for you, your body and your baby.

“Not everyone is able to exercise as each pregnancy is different, but overall most women should stay active and continue a modified routine,” explains Caen. She says you check in with your OB-GYN regarding any exercises you want to incorporate. Your doctor can also let you know if you should avoid any certain movements based off of how your baby is developing.

“For each one of my three pregnancies I continued to lift weights and do cardio, but it did change throughout the pregnancy,” she notes. “I did abdominal work the first trimester to keep my core strong, but then I stopped. I was able to take spinning classes and do my full weight routine until week 39, but I wore a heart rate monitor which I had never done before.”

Wearing a heart monitor while exercising is a smart move. Caen says to always wear one and to ask your doctor about a recommended maximum heart rate.

“The benefits of staying healthy and strong while pregnant go far beyond limiting weight gain,” says Caen. She specifies that you should not, however, suddenly pick up weights or start a rigorous routine for the first time while you’re pregnant. Instead, you should continue doing your pre-pregnancy workout and modify it as necessary.

Another rule of thumb: listen to your body. If something feels off, stop the exercise.

“You also don’t want to do any exercise where you could lose your balance and fall,” advises Caen. “Balance is compromised during pregnancy, so keep that in mind.”

The last thing to be careful of is dehydration.  Just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Even if you’re not thirsty, drinking your recommended water intake is important. It’s also a good idea to eat something small and healthy before you begin exercising. Fruit, nuts, cheese or other proteins are ideal.

Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant

Exercising while pregnant has many benefits — not limited to excessive weight gain. With that said, if you continue your exercise routine during all three trimesters of your pregnancy, getting your “pre-baby body” back will be so much easier and happen faster, says Caen.

Exercise is proven to lessen back pain that is very common in pregnancy. It will also keep your energy up and help you feel better, retain less water and limit joint pain. Another biggie: Exercising and building strength helps you prepare for your delivery.

“Keeping your back strong and your heart strong will make delivery easier than if you gain a ton of weight, retain water and your back is bothering you,” says Caen. “Giving birth is quite the cardio and strength experience, so being able to breathe properly without becoming breathless gets you through those labor pains.”

Tip: In addition to your daily fitness, consider adding a set of kegel exercises to your routine. “Doing kegel exercises throughout pregnancy will also allow you to maintain the strength in your pelvic area you need for birth and for after to return to your ‘natural state.'”

Post-Pregnancy Fitness

After you’ve given birth — and received the OK from your doc — jumping back into the exercise bandwagon is a wise move. Not only does it help you get back to “normal,” but you’ll find yourself in need of that strength and energy more than ever.

“You must find the time for yourself to get strong so that you can make it through those sleepless nights,” says Caen, who advocates working out at home with your baby nearby. “Exercise keeps you strong — physically and mentally — which is so important right after birth. Plus, the side benefit is getting into those jeans as quickly as possible.”

Most importantly, though: When you feel good and are happy, your baby will reap the rewards. You have to take care of yourself before you can care for another.

This page was last updated on 06/2017
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