Most women are a part of the decision to start a family at some point in their lives. Surprise, this often results in a pregnancy, and while magical, this period is known to have some uncomfortable moments. Your body, while housing and building another little body, becomes unlike the one you’ve grown used to. If you’re someone who was into exercising before your pregnancy and worked hard to make progress with your body, this can be cause for anxiety. The myths that circulate about why you shouldn’t exercise/what kind of exercise to avoid while pregnant might deter you from even making an attempt, making you feel helpless.
The reality: Having a baby and starting a family is about adding more to your life— not subtracting from it. You don’t have to relinquish your personal health; in fact, this is a time where you want to be sure to focus on it, even if you weren’t concerned with it before your pregnancy. Everything you do, everything you eat, and everything you drink has an effect on your baby before the baby is even born. And once the baby has arrived, it’s important to surround them with positive influence that will lead to them making healthy decisions in the future.
It’s perfectly safe, healthy, and necessary to work out while pregnant. Make sure you discuss your desired routine and potential limitations with your doctor before beginning it; but there is no reason why you should become a couch potato throughout your pregnancy term. Just be sure that you’re paying careful attention to how your body is feeling, and don’t overdo it!
Some benefits to exercising during a pregnancy:
- Counters/prevents gestational diabetes
- Helps with back pain and swelling by getting the blood circulating and muscles and joints moving
- Increases energy by getting endorphins circulating (which will also make you happier and may help combat mood swings!)
- Better sleep: Exercise improves your sleep quality when you’re NOT pregnant— thankfully this trend continues into pregnancy as well, where nights are often plagued with discomfort, tossing, and turning.
- Shorter labor periods, as your muscles are better equipped to push that baby OUT!
- (Specifically ab workouts): Will improve your posture and strengthen your pelvic floor
Things to be wary of while exercising during pregnancy:
- You ARE more prone to joint injuries during this time. Your body produces more of a chemical called, “relaxin” during a pregnancy, which lubricates your joints and makes you more flexible (it’s meant to make labor and delivery easier). Don’t test this. Know your own limitations and be cautious of your newfound range of motion, and avoid exercises that are strenuous on the joints, like squats.
- Avoid workouts that require you to be on your back or stomach, especially after the first trimester. This is because exercising in this position with your belly enlarged can place pressure on the vein that carries blood to your heart. Try standing crunches and a variety of other standing ab workouts in place of your typical crunches.
If you’re thinking about starting a family or are already pregnant and want to get moving and stay moving, consult with your doctor and then give GYMGUYZ a call— we specialize in creating custom workouts, both pre and post-natal. Your health is our priority, and we’re more than happy to work with you to find what works FOR you, during each trimester of your pregnancy and afterwards.