You just got the best news ever, you're pregnant! You're body is about to go through a thousand changes and you're trying to figure out how to navigate through the next 9 months. One of the best things you can do is keep active during your pregnancy. Depending on how active you are prior to getting pregnant will dictate how active you should be during your pregnancy. It's a simple concept but you will have to be more aware of your body now than ever.
So what describes the type of person you were prior to being pregnant? Did you work out 5 days a week or maybe just 2? Did you run everyday or do cross fit? Was yoga a part of your weekly routine? All of these questions are important. The best way to figure it out is on an RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion scale. This scale will show what type of exercise you should continue to do based on the types you did in the few months before pregnancy.
Cross fit or kettle bell training workouts fall under Max Effort and Very Hard Activity.
Running Multiple miles can be described as Vigorous.
Walking at a brisk pace is considered Moderate.
Keeping it Light is partaking in an hour long yoga class. Cleaning the house can be considered a Very Light Activity. Your body is changing and allowing more room for that baby to grow. Thanks to the increase in the hormone progesterone you will find it harder to breathe must faster than your normal. Just a walk up the stairs will have you out of breath. Your body will also become more flexible thanks to the hormone called Relaxin. This hormone is produced by the placenta and basically causes your muscles to relax and stretch as your body gets ready to deliver a baby. This works for you for pain relief and against you if you over-do it.
So what should you do? Keep up with the same program you are currently on but modify it. If you do cross fit 5 days a week, keep going. But instead of your usual cross fit class try a cross fit lite class. If your gym doesn't offer a lite option talk to your trainer on ways to change the workout to be pregnancy friendly. If you run 6 days a week, keep going! If your body is used to running prior to being pregnant your body will be used to running while you are pregnant. Just be more aware of your body when you are running. Don't push yourself too hard. If you find you're having trouble breathing slow your pace or shorten your mileage. Just getting out there will serve the purpose your body needs.
If working out was not your thing that's okay too. But... you need to do something during pregnancy. So go take a walk maybe once or twice a week. Don't go start up a group training class or try to run 5 miles. Your body might not be able to handle it and you don't want to put any extra stress on that growing baby inside you.
One thing I will recommend is adding a pre-natal yoga class to whatever workout routine you have. Becoming more flexible is inevitable now that you're pregnant. Harness that flexibility and learn some new moves that will help offer relief to all the aches and pains such as round ligament pains that come along with pregnancy. Not only will you feel better but you will also learn some breathing techniques that can help with labor. It's a win-win!
The best advice is given from those who have been there and done that and after having two babies trust me I have been there. Moms remember it takes a tribe. You are not alone during this process. Not only will you have the love and support from those closest to you but participating in some exercise activity brings an entire new level to that support. Guys, realize that those mama's are trying to figure out what to do with that new body she has that is changing day to day. She has hormones driving her crazy and helping her to get ready for that baby so support whatever she decides to do to remain active throughout her pregnancy. Sometimes you may just have to give her a little push but be gentle about it.
Remember you don't want to go harder or do more then what you did prior to being pregnant. Take this all into consideration as you figure out a workout plan that works for you and your pregnancy. Just do something: your body and mind will thank you.
Written by: Nikki Flynn