Let’s get moving, baby!
Finding out you’re pregnant is exciting, overwhelming, emotional and with that can come the first trimester pregnancy symptoms of nausea, headaches, backaches and fatigue.
Whether you’re new to exercise or you’re no stranger to the gym there are many benefits to being physically active during pregnancy, for both you and baby.
Although it is healthy to participate in physical activity, there are also some very important things that a woman expecting needs to pay close attention to.
Before deciding if you’ll be active during your pregnancy, it’s best to talk with your doctor.
Some women may have restrictions and/or limitations due to high-risk pregnancies or previous health ailments. I highly recommend being specific with your physician on which exercises you plan on engaging in. Once you get clearance, let that be your ticket to get movin’.
Personally, with each checkup, I rattle off a few of the exercises I’m engaging in to assure safety in my unborn child and myself.
Being active during pregnancy has many benefits. The benefits it has to you, the Mother, are; energy and mood booster, can act as a sleeping aid, prevent rapid weight gain, decrease the odds of getting gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, increase stability and balance, increase strength and stamina, and maybe the most enticing reason to exercise is because it can help ease child birth.
Yes, mothers that’s right. Exercise, both strength and flexibility, will help prepare the muscles that are used when delivering your little, or big, bundle of joy.
“How can exercise benefit my baby?” You ask. There is an incredible amount of research providing evidence that baby is reaping the benefits of Mommy’s fitness class or her walk around the neighborhood. When Mom participates in heart pumping physical activities, baby’s heart rate is also pumped up, building a stronger heart now and after birth.
According to Time Magazine, “Previous research has indicated that exercise in the first trimester, when the placenta is formed, helps forge extra blood vessels so that there is more opportunity to exchange nutrients between mom and baby.”
This should motivate mommies to get up and going, knowing their movements play a part in their babies’ heart health and more! If you weren’t exercising before, this should be an invitation to start, slowly and carefully of course.
As you move along in your pregnancy continue to listen to your body and your doctor. If doc recommends avoiding a particular exercise, do highly consider doing so to avoid any complications or risks to you or baby.
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some activities to avoid while pregnant: contact sports such as soccer, hockey, football, activities that have risk of falling such as skiing, ice skating, water skiing, horse back riding, or gymnastics. Also, any exercises that put you on your back after trimester one.
Listening to your body is key for gauging the intensity of exercise you can partake in. Watch for symptoms and signs that will act as a red flag. Some of the warning signs you’re doing too much are; dizziness, headaches, chest pains, shortness of breathe, irregular heartbeat, uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, or any other pain or abnormal happenings. Avoid getting overheated, take breaks as needed and sip plenty of water.
After finding out I was pregnant with my third child in June of 2015 I continued to workout regularly at the same intensity as before being pregnant. I continued taking boot camp classes, Zumba classes, running, doing core work, strength workouts and flexibility exercises such as yoga and pilates. In the first trimester, it was hard to convince myself to get movin’ when I was nauseous and tired.
Having workout partners, being a part of an exercise group and belonging to a fitness facility where people care and are supportive motivated me and held me accountable. I listened to my body, I watched for abnormal signs and symptoms, took breaks as I needed them and I drank plenty of water.
Some people are highly impressed with my drive and my attitude to continue living a healthy lifestyle while being pregnant, but others show concern and question if I should be doing the things I do. I listen to my maternal instincts and trust that my open and honest communication with my doctor provides me with approval for the exercises I select.
I highly recommend exercising during pregnancy.
Don’t use such a wonderful and beautiful thing as an excuse to exclude exercise from your daily routine. Even the smallest efforts are very beneficial. For me exercise, especially during pregnancy provides me with confidence, sense of accomplishment, a great stress reliever and provides a social aspect I feel is necessary for optimal health. Use it a tool to motivate others and provide health benefits for you and your baby.
I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and continue to participate in low-impact aerobics, low weight baring strength exercise and flexibility routines.
I feel great and I feel this will be extremely beneficial for the day I deliver my son as well as my recovery post-baby.
Lacey Peters is the fitness director at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, as well as a life coach and overall fitness enthusiast. Above all, she believes in optimal well-being and life balance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org