The days of “taking it easy” during your pregnancy is long gone, in fact physical activity is actually encouraged for expectant moms! And unless you’re on bed-rest, leading an active lifestyle during your pregnancy (and beyond) offers a number of health benefits to you and your babe including: helping you to cope with labor and delivery, help to prevent and/or treat gestational diabetes, improve your energy levels and quality of sleep, keep yours and your baby’s heart rate low, and supports postpartum healing and mommy & me time, just to name a few.
Realistically, staying active while on your pregnancy journey or during your postpartum months isn’t always as easy as slipping on your maternity yoga pants; and if you aren’t already a regular at the gym, this definitely isn’t the time to start training for a marathon. That being said, every little bit of movement helps.
Here are my top five tips for fitness veterans and rookies for a safe and healthy active pregnancy journey:
Get the OK: Whether you’re a fitness guru or beginner, you’ll want to walk into your Doctor's office before you head to the gym. Getting approval to exercise while pregnant or postpartum helps to make sure you and your practitioner are on the same page of what you can and can’t do. For example, if you’re suffering from gestational diabetes your Doctor may encourage you to exercise more, whereas if you’re less than 6-weeks postpartum, they’ll most likely advise you to wait in order to regain stability in your pelvic area.
Listen to your body: If you’re used to keeping up in aerobics or a baby & me stroller-fit class but notice you’re a little more out of breath or tired, heed your body’s cues and take a break! Your routines will change as your body does, so modifying your pregnancy or postpartum workouts will be expected and should be welcomed.
Seek out prenatal or baby-friendly classes: Joining a ‘fit mom’ exercise group not only allows you to connect with your ever-changing body but also other expectant and new moms, too! It’s also a great way to bond with and integrate your new baby into your exercise routine.
Exercise comfortably and safely: While staying fit during your pre and postnatal months is incredibly beneficial to your and your baby's health, it’s just as important to be safe and comfortable. Be sure to wear loose clothes in breathable fabrics, a good supportive bra and well-fitting shoes designed for the type of exercise you’re doing. It’s also just as important to eat a healthy amount of calories to coincide with your pregnancy or if you’re breastfeeding, and of course, stay hydrated.
Choose your exercises wisely: You may have been an extreme sports enthusiast prior to becoming pregnant, but mountain climbing, cave diving or paragliding aren’t really suggested prenatal workouts. As hard as it may be to have to take it down a notch, you’re much safer sticking to light weight training, aerobics or yoga classes, swimming, walking/running and dancing.