How to navigate exercising safely as your pregnancy progresses
It goes without saying that your magnificent body will look a little (ok, ok, a LOT) different at nine months pregnant than it did at two months pregnant.
And thank goodness! Your sweet bub needs his/her temporary home to adapt to all his growth – ‘cause little humans never grow faster than they do in utero.
And that adaptability your body naturally has? Now’s the time for it to meet your expectations.
‘Cause just like your body will look incredibly different over nine months of pregnancy, your fitness plans will have to adjust, too.
This can be especially tough for mamas who were active before pregnancy. But trust us, it’s worth it to go into pregnancy with the right mindset: that you CAN and SHOULD stay as active as you want – with a bit of wisdom thrown in.
And you’re in luck, ‘cause we’ve earned a halo of wisdom from being a professional physio and Pilates instructor and having been mamas too – we’ll share all our knowledge with you, so you can go forth and sweat with sophistication!
Here are our top tips for adjusting your fitness plans as your pregnancy progresses.
Running and cardio
If you’re a regular runner or walker, one of the first signs of pregnancy might be the urge to move at a slower pace.
Yep – your blood volume (and therefore your heart rate and blood pressure) increases as early as six weeks into pregnancy, and that can seriously slow you down. Even elite runners will notice being 30-60 seconds behind their typical paces, sometimes even before they’ve taken a positive pregnancy test!
If you’re an experienced runner, don’t try to pound out your regular paces and distances. Save your “push through it” mindset for after the baby is born.
Instead, as long as you’ve got your OB’s go-ahead, go into base training mode in your first trimester. Think shorter distances and easy, gentle paces.
When you feel it’s time to downshift the intensity, try some cardio alternatives that are safer and much more comfortable, like walking, rowing, stationary cycling, or swimming, or using an elliptical machine.
Shoot for 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
As your pregnancy progresses, your mental health will thank you if you throw pace and distance expectations out the window. Instead, go for time and perceived effort: “Today, I’m gonna pull on my stretchy clothes and get in 30 minutes of movement.”
When should you do strength exercises during pregnancy? Anytime, beautiful!
But you should definitely make some adjustments–trust us, your bub and your bod will both be grateful.
If you’ve been a regular exerciser before pregnancy, you can aim to maintain (not increase) your strength training during pregnancy..
Listen to your body on this one – pregnancy is not the time to strain, push through pain, or attempt competitive challenges. Definitely don’t enter any car-lifting tourneys, yeah?
But whether you’ve been a gym rat for years or you’ve never touched a dumbbell or yoga mat before, strength training is important for a healthy pregnancy. Yoga and Pilates are phenomenal for your changing bod, because they help you maintain core strength and flexibility by simply using the resistance of your own bod.
That means you’ll sleep better, have fewer aches and pains (HOORAY to not feeling like you’re 80,000 years old!), and you’ll likely feel a lot more upbeat and confident, too.
If you try yoga and Pilates exercises during pregnancy–and we definitely think you should–give yourself a secret advantage and learn pregnancy modifications to all the moves before you really need them. Moves that require you to be flat on your back, stomach, or in the plank position should be modified–try doing them on your side or on hands and knees, for example.
And one of the best things you can do to learn about safe strength training during pregnancy is to talk with physiotherapist or prenatal Pilates instructor . Having an expert show you how to do the moves safely will give you so much peace of mind, and she can keep you motivated when you’re feeling blah.
Because we see you over there, trying to do right by your bod and juggling everything else, we made a plan to help you out!
We’ve taken out all the guesswork and poured all of our physio and Pilates knowledge into a safe, fun, and accessible pregnancy fitness program that will get you in shape and prepared for delivery.
And we’ve gone the extra mile, too: We designed a variety of post-partum plans that adapt to your level and give you some safe fitness direction when you’re ready to move beyond birth.
Check out all the levels here, and then let’s get sweatin’!