Baby Onboard: Working Out While Pregnant

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It is important to note that exercising in general is beneficial to the human body, more so when you’re pregnant. There are many reasons why you would want to continue (or start) an exercise routine. Some of these reasons are: help reduce back pain, reduces excess weight gain, prepare muscles for child birth, boost of energy and it will help with postpartum weight loss.  Of course there is a shred of safety that you have to maintain. Typically, if you were active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during your pregnancy. More than likely, it will even be recommended that you stay active. Of course, this is not the time to lose weight, but as I mentioned before, staying active will help with losing weight after childbirth.

*All of this should be discussed with your OB, Doula, Midwife or whoever is assisting you with your child birth.*

It is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Even if you workout for 20 minutes 3-4 times a week, it is still beneficial than not working out at all.  The important thing is stay active during your pregnancy. I for one, though it would easy.  I was wrong.

In my case, I was actively going to the gym 4-6 times a week before becoming pregnant. I was never really the type to be fit until about a year and half ago and even then I still indulged. During my active gym rat days, I would go to Zumba, Tabata and P90X classes. Out of the three, I’ve stuck with Zumba throughout my entire pregnancy. I had to forgo Tabata and the P90X classes due to having a threaten abortion (or miscarriage) earlier in my pregnancy. Although my OB said it was fine for me to continue using weights (and I did so for a few weeks after I was in the clear), I eventually stopped going to them. There was apart of me that still wanted to go and push myself to the limit, but I didn’t want to risk the health of my baby.

Gym Rat
When I was well underway to reaching my short term goal
Gym days
Waiting for my Tabata class to start

With Zumba, I could modify the dance routines to fit my needs (or the baby’s). At first, I was still killing the routines and adhering to my regular gym schedule. But as I progressed, I noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to even get through a set. My breathing was erratic, my feet were becoming numb and my stomach was in the way, preventing me from performing certain moves. Even with the modifications, it was (and is) still difficult to do. I’ve since then added light walking and jogging to supplement my lack of working out.

Currently, I’m lucky if I go once a week. This kills me because I loved going to the gym and staying in shape, but I know that this is just temporary. I’m still pretty active throughout the day. I walk as much as possible and try to monitor what I eat (I’m not always successful). I push myself to workout because of the benefits it provides. I truly believe that if I wasn’t active prior and during my pregnancy, I would have gained more weight than what I actually have. I don’t have much (or any) lower back pain, my sugar and blood pressure levels have been within normal range and my energy levels has been rather up. So its safe to say, that for me working out has been crucial.

excercise during pregnancy
I believe was about 17-18 weeks pregnant at this point. It was a lot easier to do the routines then.
Yesterday’s gym attire. Can barely do a 5 minute routine without my feet swelling up

Now, if going to the gym is not your thing, there are other methods that you can do in order to stay active during your pregnancy.

Recommendations: 

  • Walking- by simply walking 30 minutes a day, you are staying active.  I do this almost every day since going to the gym in my third trimester has been quite difficult.
  • Jogging (in moderation)
  • Treadmill
  • low impact aerobics
  • Don’t over do it
  • stationary bikes
  • parental yoga (this I did not do but I’ve heard amazing things about it)
  • wear comfortable clothing
  • proper sneakers
  • Drink plenty of water

Exercise you should avoid: 

  • High impact aerobics
  • Contact sports
  • Activities where you may likely fall (horseback riding, snowboarding or skining )
  • avoid excessive jumping, hopping, bouncing
  • Exercise that involves laying on your back
  • anything that affects your breathing-  (scuba diving, hiking or high altitudes)
  • Avoid exhaustion. If you cannot talk normally while exercising, you are probably over-exerting yourself and should slow down your activity. (This is something that I’ve been struggling with as I still want to complete routines as if I was not pregnant).

If you experience any of the following please seek medical help: 

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • gush of fluids
  • feeling of: dizziness, out of breath, headaches
  • abdominal and pelvic pain
  • any swelling

*As a friendly reminder, please speak with your provider before continuing or starting any exercise routine.*

xoxo

Blanca

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