Being pregnant is no walk in the park, but it is no comparison to the fitness feat of labor and delivery.
That is one of the many reasons why staying active during the development of your growing child inside you is essential for the health of you and your baby.
But with all the information, and misinformation, out there on what exercises are appropriate for pregnancy it can be confusing- but we have tips to follow from a fitness trainer who knows first hand how to best shape your pregnancy fitness routine.
It’s easy to get scared you will harm your baby by doing a workout and opt for a brisk walk or a load of laundry instead.
But celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, who is known for getting clients like Kelly Ripa, Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker (hello toned arms!) in the best shape of their lives, suggest pregnant women can keep up their fitness as long as they follow a few simple guidelines.
And she would know being pregnant with her first child!
As with all advice concerning your body it must be said to consult with your physician before trying a new exercise routine, especially while pregnant.
First rule is to make sure you are fueling and re-fueling your body.
The days of snacking on a banana before a workout are over.
While pregnant getting enough fuel to not only last the whole workout but to sustain the needs of a growing baby are essential.
Kaiser was used to just getting in some green juice prior to an intense fitness class, but being five-months pregnant has changed her dietary needs so she starts her day with a full-on breakfast of eggs and Ezekiel bread, according to Self.
And the meal you choose after a workout is just as important, making sure it has a good combo of carbs and protein.
Kaiser says, “[Having a post-workout snack also] gives you energy for the rest of the day so you don’t feel exhausted.”
Working out in 15-minute increments when you are fatigued can get you far.
Being pregnant definitely gives you those days where all you feel like doing is sleeping or binging the new season of your favorite show.
These are the days you have to commit to moving for just 15 minutes.
Kaiser says to Self:
“One of the things with pregnancy is that you feel so tired all the time, but nothing has helped me more than exercise. Especially during the first trimester, it was really hard to get up in the morning and get motivated. Sometimes I’d just be lying on the floor before a session with Kelly Ripa—her sessions are really hard—and I’d think, OK, I’ve got to get through it, even if it’s just 15 minutes…”
You never know, maybe you will feel so good after you get started that you complete a full routine with no problems.
Enlist your support group to keep you motivated and on track.
Whether you have that friend who is ripped and always ready to crush their PR, or that friend who knows how to get you in a positive mood for the day, enlisting them to maintain your fitness goals even when you are feeling like a beached whale will do wonders.
Kaiser encourages moms everywhere by saying:
“Having a community that’s looking forward to seeing you show up really helps—this way you feel supported and it’s not just day-after-day trying to get yourself there.”
Let the core be the focus of your fitness.
Time to say goodbye to your six-pack (or developing two-pack if you are a normal person working out) and embrace that growing baby bump.
That means your workout will shift from using those aesthetic abdominal muscles like the obliques, upper abs, and lower abs, and will now focus on the deep core, transverse abdominis.
Kaiser tells Self the secret to a better labor:
“The more connected you are to the transverse abdominis and your pelvic floor, the better you’re going to be when you actually go into labor.”
Give your body a lot of grace and patience, it’s already going through so much.
Studies have proven that continuing an exercise routine during pregnancy is healthy and safe for mom and baby in most cases.
But that doesn’t mean it is time to push your workouts to the next level, or fight against it when there are clear signs you should slow down.
Kaiser had to slow down, and she is a trainer!
“I have to do exercises much slower [now that I’m pregnant], but I really like weighted exercises because I can use my muscles fully and slowly, instead of fast exercises with low weight.”
This gives a good opportunity to focus on form and make sure every muscle is engaged on movements.
With that being said, keep things low-impact and avoid “jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions”, as The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends.
Don’t be intimidated by your fatigue, growing baby bump, or bad information you find on the internet.
Staying fit through pregnancy will typically give you a better labor and delivery, as well as decreased recovery time.
You are stronger and more capable than you think momma, let’s pump that iron!
(h/t Mommy Underground)