Exercising During Pregnancy

Exercising during pregnancy is just as important as eating right and getting good rest. Sure, we women attempt to take good care of ourselves on a regular basis, but pregnancy seems to elevate our focus on seeking out nutritious foods to help baby develop. But sometimes fitness can fall by the wayside to first trimester exhaustion or third trimester aches and pains. So how does one healthfully incorporate fitness into their daily routine once she finds she is expecting? Here are some tips to get you going on the right path.

The first question you have to consider is, were you exercising when you got pregnant or are you looking to start a program now that you are pregnant? Either scenario is fine, but different precautions and plans should be followed based on your situation.

If you were exercising before you got pregnant, it is advisable to continue. Be sure to communicate this with your physician so that together you can determine appropriate frequency, duration and intensity. There are many advantages to exercising prior to getting pregnant but, in my opinion, the number one advantage is that you know how to listen to your body. During pregnancy, you are naturally sensitive to your body’s changes. Mainly because there are so many! If you are in tune with your body already, some of these changes can be welcomed with little alarm. However, if you do not already have that built in awareness, every little change could potentially cause you to worry. The last thing you need right now is stress (save that for the sleepless nights the first few weeks).

If you were not exercising before you got pregnant but want to start now, no worries.  Your timing is just fine. The key is to take it slow. As with experienced exercisers, be sure to discuss your plans with your physician. And as with all exercise programs, start out slow and build into a routine of longer and more frequent workouts. If you are totally new to exercise, I would advise you to seek out a fitness specialist who can give advice on proper programs and techniques. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself!  There is a great deal of information out there on the subject of exercise and pregnancy.  Just keep in mind that this is written for the general public. That is why it is important to discuss your intentions with your physician and possibly a fitness specialist who can tailor your needs based on your situation.

Once the baby is born, it seems like our number one goal (aside from taking care of Junior) is losing that baby weight. Just think how much easier that can potentially be if you exercised and ate well during your pregnancy! During both of my pregnancies, I exercised all the way through. Swimming was my main focus. The one thing no one told me was how hard it was to get back into the swing of things six to eight weeks after the babies were born. I was so ready to start back, but when I actually went out to walk, run or swim – things felt different. I had stop and remember what my body had just been through. I took it slow and eased back into my workouts. I definitely could not just jump back in like I imagined and that was a little frustrating. I am so glad that I did work out during my pregnancy because if I did not and felt the way I did after each of my babies was born I probably never would have started exercising!

Jen is the mother of two children: Sarah, age 3 ½, and Connor, age 9 months.