We’ve all seen those amazing pictures of heavily pregnant women continuing to workout, even in their third trimester of pregnancy. Much to the horror and amazement of most people, these women appear to be pulling off crazy feats even for the average person. While we aren’t expecting you to be the next Kyra Gracie, staying committed to working out during pregnancy is known to relieve stress, prevent gestational diabetes and help you have a smoother pregnancy and delivery.
What’s more, exercise during pregnancy also helps prevent postural imbalances and improves blood circulation, which is often affected at this time.
If you’re currently pregnant and wondering how you can continue to workout during this incredibly special time, look no further. Today, Evolve Daily shares Prenatal Training: 14 Things You Need To Know:
1) Consult your doctor
Before starting any exercise routine, make sure you get the go-signal from your doctor beforehand. Your doctor is the only person who can safely guarantee that you’re good to go and that you aren’t doing anything to put you or your baby at risk. Regardless of whether or not you’ve been exercising before getting pregnant, it is always safer to double check with your doctor first.
2) Don’t start anything new
Being pregnant is a very special time. If you’ve never worked out before, consult your doctor first. Generally, walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are your best bets if you’re an exercise newbie. If you’ve been exercising regularly, stick to your old routine as much as possible and modify it as needed.
3) Focus on your core
When you’re pregnant, one of the most important areas to focus on is your core. When you work on your core, you give yourself more control during labor by strengthening your pelvic organs. It also helps lessen the pressure your growing belly puts on your back and wards off the lower back pain most women feel during pregnancy. A strong core will also help you recover faster after giving birth.
4) Be careful when doing exercises on your back
As you work on your core, try to avoid lying on your back after the first trimester. This is because it puts pressure on the vena cava, a major vein that supplies oxygen to your heart — which can be dangerous for you and your and your baby. You can still work on your core by doing standing or by placing a small towel or pillow under your right hip or buttock.
5) Do whatever you were doing before you got pregnant
As long as your doctor gives you the go signal, and you’re feeling healthy and great, you can continue working out right until you give birth. Just make sure that you listen to your body and stop when you feel uneasy. Remember to put your baby and your health before anything else. Pregnancy is not the time to start training for a competition!
6) Opt to exercise indoors instead of outdoors
Living in sunny Singapore definitely makes it harder to stay cool. When you’re pregnant, heat feels more intense because of the hormonal changes and increase in blood supply to the skin. Thus, when exercising, it’s best to exercise indoors to prevent yourself from getting dizzy and dehydrated.
7) Feeling weird? Stop immediately!
If your body is telling you to stop exercising, now’s not the time to push yourself! Listen to your body, especially when something hurts of if you feel out of breath. A good rule of thumb to follow when exercising is to slow down when you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. You should feel like you’re working out, not punishing yourself.
8) Keep on exercising!
There are many benefits to exercising while you’re pregnant, including quicker post-natal recovery and reduced maternal weight gain. Studies show that women who worked out during their pregnancy found that they recovered their pre-pregnancy bodies much more quickly compared to women who did not work out at all.
9) Don’t go beyond your comfort zone
As you progress in your pregnancy, you’ll find that it gradually becomes more difficult to workout. You’re getting heavier and bigger, which would tire you out easier than before. Instead of aiming to beat your pre-pregnancy achievements or what you could accomplish in a previous trimester, give yourself a break and take it one step at a time. You’re not going to be a World Champion anytime soon — not in the next few months at least.
10) Eat well
Since you’re exercising and burning calories, you’ll need to eat healthy, nutritious meals that will strengthen and nourish your body. As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll naturally gain weight as your baby grows. If your BMI is in a healthy range, you’ll need to eat at least 300 calories more a day than before you were pregnant, and more if you’re exercising.
11) Always play it safe
Pregnancy isn’t the best time to be a daredevil and push your body to the limits. When you’re pregnant, you produce more relaxin hormones, which relaxes pelvic joints in preparation for childbirth. This makes your ligaments and joints very loose, which could put you at a higher risk for injuries.
12) Wear the right clothes
There’s no need to squeeze yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Opt for light, loose-fitting clothing so you won’t feel stifled. Also, don’t forget to wear a maternity bra for additional support and running shoes that fit well. Embrace your changing body!
13) Stay hydrated
When working out while pregnant, your water bottle should be your best friend. Drink water whenever you feel thirsty, as well as before, during and after your workout. Otherwise, you can become dehydrated, which could potentially cause contractions, and raise your body temperature to dangerous levels.
14) Talk to your instructor
If you are attending a martial arts or strength and conditioning class, don’t forget to inform your instructor about your pregnancy. He’ll be able to keep an eye out for you and also suggest some exercise options that are more pregnancy friendly.
There’s no doubt that staying physically active during pregnancy has many benefits. Moms become happier and healthier, which definitely has a positive impact on the baby. So go on, get moving! Your pregnancy does not mean it’s the end of your fitness journey — it’s merely an interesting and very rewarding detour.