There is a strange belief that exists in some circles that exercising while pregnant isn’t safe, or could somehow hurt either mom or baby. At PT Academy, we have had the pleasure of helping countless moms achieve their dreams of working in the fitness industry, and are happy to report that pregnant women not being able to exercise is 100% a myth!
Exercising while pregnant can help to make the experience more comfortable, can help keep mom healthy during the process, can help make delivery easier, and could even help to prevent postpartum depression. While most pregnant women probably don’t even want to be doing their pre-pregnancy workouts by the final trimester, there’s no reason you can’t pursue your fitness goals even while you carry your baby! Here, we’re sharing our tips for safe pregnancy exercise, and offering up a few pieces of advice on what not to do.
General Safety Tips for Pregnancy Fitness
Lots of fitness fanatics worry that pregnancy will prevent them from achieving their fitness goals, or from exercising for 9 months. For lots of women, exercise is an outlet for stress relief and relaxation, and suddenly losing that outlet can be an anxiety-inducing prospect. While you will (and should) gain weight and belly-inches while pregnant, pregnancy doesn’t have to mean missing out on a good sweat. What is important is to adapt, and to be mindful of how your body can and can’t move during pregnancy.
Tips for Success
You might think pregnancy will mean getting lots of advice on what you can’t do, but while it is true you will have to make some minor adjustments, here we’re going to focus on what you can do to stay fit during your pregnancy:
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes combined with a fitted sports bra
- Choose shoes that fit perfectly and be sure to lace them tightly
- Wear compression socks or tights to combat swelling
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after - and always stop for bathroom breaks
- Stand and sit slowly to avoid head rushes
Things to Avoid
While it is absolutely possible to stay fit and active during pregnancy, it is important to remember that you are baking a baby, and your body needs slightly different treatment in order to keep your baby safe for nine long months. Here are some exercises and habits you’ll want to avoid during your pregnancy:
- Contact exercises or exercises where falling is likely
- Rapid changes in motion
- Waist twisting while standing
- Exercising to the point of exhaustion/pushing yourself to the limit
Areas to Focus On
If you were an ab-aholic before you got pregnant, we’re sorry, but you won’t be working on those for a while. Instead, the best exercises you can do while pregnant are those that engage and strengthen your deep core muscles in your back and abdomen. As your baby grows, your back and pelvic muscles will be forced to do more work, so keeping them strong and engaged throughout the pregnancy will help to keep you feeling strong and comfortable.
Additionally, having a stronger core can help to make pushing during childbirth a little easier, and could even set you up for a faster and less difficult recovery. While specific exercises to target this area are extremely beneficial, you can also work to strengthen your core during regular training sessions including yoga, pilates, indoor cycling, and even a brisk walk.
Staying Fueled Up
Pregnancy is a big job for your body, and it’s one that requires a lot of energy. Pretty much everything you eat during those nine months gets converted into baby-making power, which is why you’ll likely feel hungrier than usual. Because of this, it is super important to stay fed and fueled while pregnant, which includes before and after working out.
During your pregnancy, try to eat an hour or so before you head to your workout, then be sure to refuel with a good mix of carbs and protein! Gone are the days of chugging a pre-workout, hitting the weights, then heading out for a night of partying. Your body needs fuel, so be sure to give it what it needs.
Listen to Your Body
Above all, the cardinal rule of exercising while pregnant is to listen to your body. Pain, discomfort, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and any other physical discomfort are all signs from your body to stop and slow down, and you should never be pushing yourself beyond a point of comfort while pregnant. Exercise at your pace, and pay careful attention to how you feel before, during, and after every exercise.
PT Academy has educated and helped countless moms to become fitness professionals, whether they enter our Certificates III & IV in fitness programs or join one of our continuing education courses, we’re always thrilled to help another tough-mama to live her dreams of becoming a fitness professional!