My last post was all about how I’ve struggled with body image issues and how having kids has made me love my body more. I talked a little bit about trying to stay active this pregnancy, so I thought I would talk some more about that and give my tips for staying active during pregnancy.
When I got pregnant, I was in pretty good shape. I was running 2-3 times a week and doing BBG workouts on the other days. I continued this pattern until about week 6 of pregnancy when after one workout I started bleeding and cramping. I decided to take it down a notch, but then morning sickness hit and I basically sat on the couch for 8 weeks straight.
When I started feeling more like myself again, I started going on 2 mile walks with some friends and our kids in the strollers. These were moderately paced but after each one I would get severe cramps that left me doubled over in pain for hours without relief. Shortly after these episodes, I started getting tailbone pain and sciatica nerve pain which left me really wishing I could just sit around all day!
I was determined to keep walking for two reasons: 1) it gets Reagan out of the house and lets her burn off some energy, and 2) I know that labor and postpartum recovery will be easier if I keep working those muscles. I talked to my doctor and she suggested getting a support belt to wear to alleviate some of the cramping that I seem to get after mild exercise. (I still haven’t gotten one, but I’ll keep you posted on if this helps at all).
So, since I feel like I’ve been through the ringer a bit on this, here are my tips for staying active during pregnancy even when it seems like everything is working against you!
- Don’t start a new routine when you get pregnant. For some reason, when women find out that they’re pregnant they feel this pressure to start working out and getting in shape (I blame Pinterest). This is not the time to start a new or rigorous routine! My doctor asked me if I exercised at my first appointment and when I hesitantly responded “a little” she said great!! Keep doing what you can but don’t get caught up with trying to be that pregnant fitness trainer you see online.
- Listen to your body. Exercising is always good during pregnancy, except when your body tells you to stop. In my case, it told me I was doing too much by cramping and bleeding after an intense workout. I immediately stopped doing that kind of workout and started doing quick walks instead. When I still got cramps, I started walking slower and for less time so that my body wasn’t overworked.
- Do what you can, and don’t worry when you have to step back. This was a big one for me! I have friends who are super active when they’re pregnant, I mean running half marathons when they’re in their third trimester. I on the other hand, can manage a 1.5-2 mile walk a few times a week and then I’m done. But both of these are fine! Even as little as doing a yoga sequence or stretching for 10 minutes a day is better than nothing, and will benefit you largely when it comes time for labor. Do what you can, and don’t compare yourself to what others are doing.
- Find a group to exercise with. I love the Hike it Baby groups! They are in almost every city and organize hikes and walks with other moms or expecting moms. This is a great way to get out and get moving and a good opportunity to meet other women who are expecting at around the same time you are!
- Wear very supportive clothing. For me, that means the Blanqi maternity leggings, good tennis shoes, and an ultra supportive sports bra. There’s a lot of extra weight and baggage in places you don’t expect when you’re pregnant and the aches and pains after exercising can be pretty bad if you’re not prepared!
As always, talk to your doctor before starting a pregnancy workout routine! Pinterest and YouTube have some great videos and exercise sequences for pregnant women if you need some inspiration. Most importantly, just do what you can and your body will thank you for it later!