Exercising While Pregnant: Do's And Dont's
No, I am not pregnant again. Not yet at least, but since I get asked so much about how I was able to keep up with exercising while pregnant I decided to bring this post back to life.
As soon as I announced I was pregnant, I quickly realized there was an endless list of pregnancy DO's and DONT'S regarding even my most basic daily routines. Never ending amount of advice on the things I must do and others I should never do and even though it's all well-intentioned and appreciated, at times it becomes too much. Joining the words pregnancy and exercise will without a doubt create some debate. The truth is that working out while pregnant is more than ok to do, it's actually really good for you (as long as your Doctor gives you the green flag) but there are still a lot of people who believe you're doing your baby more damage than good by keeping up with an active gym routine.
Right before becoming pregnant with Achilles, I was in my best physical shape. Not only was I exercising and eating healthier but I had also just became Certified in Fitness-Nutrition so for me it was a no-brainer to continue working out. And even though the more my belly grew the more double takes and random awkward stares I would get at the gym, I felt pretty confident I was doing the right thing.
Just to be sure though and since we are all different, on my first pre-natal visit I asked my Doctor if it was ok to continue with my weight lifting routine and the answer was, "yes, as long as you listen to your body. Decrease weights and increase rest periods."
One good way to make sure you're lifting appropriate weight, while pregnant, is to be able to do at least 12-15 reps per set and when it comes to cardio, you should be able to keep up a conversation while working out. If, on the other hand, you had not been exercising before your pregnancy then this is definitely not the time to go crazy with it. Instead, stick to walking, cycling, swimming and exercise with light weights to keep active active and healthy; making it easier to get into a stricter fitness regime postpartum, if that's what you desire.
Yoga, pilates and even dance are great options to exercise while pregnant, while having fun with it.
If you're still a little worried, here are a few facts to steer you away from the fear of working out while pregnant. Keeping up with an active lifestyle will not only help with controlling your weight gain but will also help reduce your risk of falling into the 1/3 of pregnant women who suffer from back pain. Labor and delivery may be easier and shorter. Less time enduring pain? Yes, please! You'll be at lower risk for preeclampsia which is the #1 cause of premature birth, and with all the unavoidable changes your body is going through, working out actually helps you feel a bit more in control of yourself.
Fatigue, nauseousness and headaches completely took over me my first trimester and although some days it was a struggle to get to the gym, I will say that once I exercised I would feel better. But like I said, everybody is different and you just have to listen to what your body is telling you. If you want to exercise today, go ahead. If tomorrow you feel like binge watching tv while having a pint of ice cream go for it!
Do you plan on exercising while pregnant? Have you already done it? What tips would you recommend for working out during pregnancy?