Mentally prepare for me to get a bit preachy (sorry in advanced). Through both of my pregnancies I have been a certified fitness instructor and specialized in Pre/Post natal fitness. Shout out to MomMe Strong who taught me SO much during both pregnancies. I truly think that education is incredibly important when you’re pregnant regarding health and fitness. Doctors can give varying advice (and of course everyone who has ever had a baby wants to share their opinion as well) but let me address some of the most common things.
- You shouldn’t workout while pregnant – FALSE. The most common belief here is that you shouldn’t start any NEW kinds of activities while pregnant. The reason doctors say this (in my opinion) is that if you don’t workout before you’re pregnant there are a lot of increased risks if you start new activities. For starters – if you aren’t super aware of your body, muscles, and correct form it is MUCH easier to hurt yourself while pregnant than when you aren’t. Not to mention, your energy levels tend to be lower when pregnant so you could over exert yourself, become dehydrated, or get sick as a result of new movements/cardio activity. To be totally honest, a lot of instructors/PT also don’t know what they’re doing with pregnant clients so they could give you bad advice. I highly suggest spending time with someone who is certified in Pre/Post natal fitness to develop routines/regimens that will work for you.
- You shouldn’t work out your core while pregnant – Yes & no. the big risk to your core is Diastasis Recti. Basically this is when your two sides of the abdomen separate. This can be due to baby’s pressure from the inside out and from over taxing the center of your core while pregnant. The best way to avoid this is to avoid pressure on your center column and ALL twisting core moves. Once again, I recommend getting a routine from a certified professional, but some of my favorite pregnancy moves are Bird Dogs, Beast hold, Reverse Plank, Side plank, Piston breaths, Marching High knees (standing), and glute bridges (which strengthen all the way around your core). I would avoid russian twists, crunches/situps, forearm planks, push-ups, and of course anything laying on your belly.
- Eat whatever you want “it’s for the baby” – FALSE. Keep in mind a healthy weight gain while pregnant is 15-25 pounds. You lose about 20 pounds in delivery (placenta, baby, liquid) and everything else is excess. Now, I would NEVER recommend dieting while pregnant or restricting, however you are not a “bad mom” if you eat lots of veggies and stay away from cake. I gained 37 pounds with my first pregnancy (despite working out) mostly due to the influx of sweets and fried foods in my diet given to me by OTHER people. My second pregnancy I gained 10. My second pregnancy the baby actually weighed MORE and was healthier at birth. You don’t need to gain a lot of weight for your baby to be healthy. The best thing you can do for your baby is be healthy yourself.
- You’ll never workout again after having a baby – FALSE. I actually got in BETTER shaped after Kensington than I was before. It’s all about priorities. If it is a priority for you, you can make time. For me – I started taking daily walks the day AFTER I had Kensington and kept that up (with some light arm work) until 6 weeks postpartum when I could get back to Barre. You can do it – just keep the same core advice as above until your Diastasis is healed (if you had it).
I’m super passionate about maintaining activity while pregnant. I take the stairs, I park away from the building, and I workout 5-6 times per week. I feel like the better health I am in, the better my health for delivery, and the better health my baby is in. Not to mention exercising your core & pelvic floor can help with recovery after the baby is out and help prepare them for delivery (since they will grow accustomed to your core being engaged and contracting on a regular basis similar to pushing).
Now all of this being said, if you have terrible morning sickness (or all day sickness), sciatic pain, dehydration, your doctor advises against physical activity, pre-eclampsia, migraines, etc. DO NOT BE HARD ON YOURSELF. If you skip a workout (or 6 months of them) to be healthier for you and your baby – that is the right move! You shouldn’t push yourself to exhaustion trying to workout. There are very valid reasons for skipping your workouts and maintaining a lower level of physical activity. I would still recommend walks when possible, but you know your body better than I do (or your doctor for that matter) do what YOU think is best.
And of course feel free to reach out below or on insta DM and I’m happy to share my story or provide additional advice.