Hello, I’m Susan and I write the blog Healthy Happy Fit. I had a baby boy 7 months ago and have blogged about staying fit and healthy during my pregnancy and post-baby. Now I know if you are reading this and are pregnant, the last thing you want to do is exercise, but experts agree that when you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to keep active. Pregnant women who do exercise have quicker labours, experience less back pain and have more energy during pregnancy and return to their pre-pregnancy shape faster than those who do not exercise. That said; it is important to listen to your body when you work out, especially when you are pregnant.
Keep your workouts fun, flexible and simple. When I was pregnant I stuck to 3 main areas of exercise:
1) Cardio. I either walked 3 miles, or did 30 minutes on the cross-trainer or went swimming. I did this 4 times a week (at a level I was comfortable with, lowering the level with each trimester). Cardio activities not only burn calories but release endorphins which make you happy. Doing regular cardio whilst pregnant has also shown to benefit the heart health of the baby.
2) Strength training. I did these 3 times a week. Work out your arms with bicep and tricep curls, chest press and tricep dips (holding on to a chair) doing 3 sets of 10 reps. Work out your legs with squats and lunges (when your tummy starts to get bigger you may need to hold onto a chair for balance) these will work your quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks and will improve your balance and work the muscles you need when you give birth.
3) Flexibility and relaxation. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are excellent ways to improve posture, increase your strength and allow you to concentrate on your breathing techniques which will come in handy when you go into labour. I did 1 class of yoga each week until my third trimester and then just did stretching at home.
My top 5 tips for exercise during pregnancy are to:
1) Stay well hydrated when working out.
2) Take it slow if you are feeling tired or have morning sickness and listen to your body- remember your goal is not to lose weight but to stay active and healthy.
3) Get a good fitting sports bra like the award winning Panache Sports bra (you will probably need a bigger bra by the 3rd trimester).
4) Get in the water- swimming or aqua aerobics is low impact and less boring than the gym.
5) Stay active, even if it is just walking to the shops or cleaning your house.
A little bit of exercise everyday made me feel better when I had morning sickness and it allowed me to sleep better at night. Strong arms, legs and back allowed me to have a smooth labour and I bounced back to my pre-baby weight quickly after giving birth. Remember a healthy and happy mum can only be a good thing for the new arrival!
*If you didn’t work out regularly before you got pregnant then always get the advice from your doctor before you start a new workout routine.
For more posts by Susan check out her blog