12 tips for staying fit during your pregnancy
Let’s be real with each other: Exercising is often the last thing on your mind when you’re pregnant. You're growing an entire, beautiful person inside of you after all, which makes you feel…well…full!
Believe me I know.
The first time I was pregnant, I gained 30 (excess) kilos. It took me nine-twelve months post-pregnancy to lose the weight and regain my pre-baby weight and fitness.
But you don’t have to go through what I did … you can stay fit and prevent excess weight gain during your pregnancy.
And best of all, maintaining your fitness levels while you’re pregnant has been proven to boost your mood, ensure a better night’s sleep and ease symptoms like constipation, nausea and fatigue. It will also support you in post-pregnancy recovery.
Sound like a plan? To help you get started, here are 12 tips to guide you through your fit pregnancy.
1. Seek medical advice from your obstetrician first.
Every pregnancy – and body! – is beautifully different. What is suitable for me, or for another woman, might not be suitable for you. Check in with your obs frequently and let them know what you are doing and how you are feeling. Use their feedback to adjust your exercise accordingly.
2. Avoid contact sports.
Stay away from sports and activities where there’s a chance you could fall too. For example, skiing, horseback riding and gymnastics are off the table at the moment.
3. Pay attention to how you feel.
Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, stop your work out. If you feel lightheaded or are unusually short of breath, cease exercising and speak to your obs. The same goes if you experience contractions, decreased fetal movement, or have any vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking. Your health and safety are priority.
4. Aim for 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise per day, most days of the week.
This will ensure that you remain as active as possible during your pregnancy.
5. Start slowly and build up your fitness.
I know you want to be the healthiest and fittest version of you possible – both for your baby’s sake and yours – but pregnancy isn’t the time to increase your fitness. Keep active but keep it within reason. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion. Focus on maintaining your current fitness level and definitely cut back on exercises that require you to hold your breath - for example like heavy lifting - and exercises that compromise your balance.
6. Keep an eye on your heart rate.
Your heart rate may change during your pregnancy, so use the ‘talk test’ to gauge the intensity of your exercise. I.e. you should be able to carry on a normal conversation – without puffing or panting – while exercising.
7. Enjoy yourself!
Pick a few exercises and activities that you actually enjoy doing, then rotate them around to keep things interesting. You deserve to enjoy exercising!
8. Stay hydrated.
Make sure you drink water before, during and after your workouts. Not so much that you feel bloated and sick, but enough that you don’t become dehydrated.
9. Fuel your exercise.
Now is not the time for you to be on a weight loss diet. Your body – and baby – require adequate nutrients so make sure you are eating a healthy diet and incorporating foods that give you energy.
10. Keep your body cool.
It’ll be easier for you to overheat during your pregnancy, so dress in loose, breathable, stretchy clothes. On hot days, be sure to avoid strenuous exercise outside or better still exercise in air-conditioning to keep yourself cool.
11. Try some pregnancy-safe workouts.
If you’re a kick-boxing devotee or a soccer nut, now might be the time to expand your athletic horizons and try out some less intense exercises. My go-to pregnancy faves are: swimming, water aerobics, walking, weight training (light weights, between 8-12 reps range, and work with a trainer if you haven’t weight trained before), pregnancy-appropriate Pilates and prenatal yoga (avoid hot yoga) for sure.
12. Keep doing your kegels (pelvic floor exercises)
This is so important that I’ll write another blog post on this entirely at a later stage, but for now, just know that kegels/pelvic floor exercise are your best friend now and forever!
And remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing brilliantly, take each day at a time. You’ve got this, mama.
Want a little extra support and guidance during your pregnancy? One of my specialties is pre-and post-natal fitness and I would love to guide you through a fit and healthy pregnancy! Head on over here to check out my one-on-one personal training and we can get you moving and loving the process.