This week’s Guest Post is from: Erica Ziel who is a personal trainer, pilates instructor, nutritionist, with expertise in prenatal & postnatal fitness. She shares great pre-natal fitness information on her blog: www.knocked-upfitness.com.
(If you would like to guest blog, then check out my guidelines here.)Exercising during your pregnancy is wonderful for so many reasons. Helps you (mom) feel better, increases your chances of a faster, smother labor (who doesn’t want that!), faster & less painful recovery, return to your postpartum weight sooner & much more (see list at bottom). Even on those days when it’s really hard to get moving & the thought of exercising makes you feel even more nauseas. Yet you know once you start moving you’ll feel better, that’s’ the plan anyway. I am a huge advocate for exercising during pregnancy. Having gone through two pregnancies myself & worked with many pregnant women, I feel exercise is one of the greatest things you can do during your pregnancy for both you & your baby.
So that being said, even if you are not a regular exerciser or haven’t for a really long time (& have no medical reasons not to exercise) then there’s no better time to start then now! This is an important time for you to take great care of your body, for not just you anymore but your little one(s). Everything you do affects your baby, so take care of your self.
What form of exercise should I do you are probably asking. Well for starters walking & biking are great, aim for at least 30-60 minutes everyday. If you have been an avid runner, you may continue into your pregnancy as long as your body responds well & your Doc doesn’t tell you otherwise. Most Doc’s today will tell you to continue doing what you have been doing or say nothing at all. My best advice: Listen To Your Body! When something isn’t right slow down or stop. I also highly recommend adding some resistance training into your exercise routine; don’t go out trying anything crazy (avoid Olympic lifting, plyometrics, & movements were you quickly change directions). Try lifting lightweights, pilates or yoga; all great during pregnancy, my favorite is pilates. It’s important to keep your strength built up through your pregnancy so your body is better prepared for carrying, lifting, & nursing you baby.
Oh Yes..Don’t forget to do your Kegels! Perhaps the most important exercise there is for a woman!
Reasons to Exercise During Pregnancy:
- Strengthening your deep core & pelvic floor muscles needed for labor & delivery-A MUST. Do your KEGELS!
Reduce your discomforts, aches, & pains
- Preventing &/or lessening any back & sciatic pain. Side note: back pain doesn’t have to come with pregnancy, although many women seem to think it does and there’s nothing you can do about it…so WRONG, you can!
- Increasing your energy level & stamina, both needed for labor & delivery
- Preventing dramatic postural changes, which can lead to back, sciatic, hip, shoulder, neck pain & more. “Stand Up Straight”
- Improving your balance & coordination, this is a must as “pregnancy brain” sets in
- Bettering support of your pelvic floor & pelvic organs. Trust me on this one
- Maintaining a healthy body composition, you must gain weight, but exercise will help keep it under control.
- Increasing your probability of a faster, smoother labor. If you are an avid exerciser before & during pregnancy be prepared, your labor may be faster than you ever thought. Mine were, no complaints here.
EDIT: From Janice – The Fitness Cheerleader: Mine were VERY quick 5 and 3.5hrs each, too fast even for an epidural! My recovery was great too – I was able to go for a 2 km walk two days later!!
- Helping to keep your mood & spirits higher. When you exercise your body natural releases endorphins, which make you feel good. Experiencing less tension, anxiety, & fatigue than pregnant non-exercisers.
- Helping you will feel more “in-control” of your ever-changing body.
- Getting your body back easier & faster after baby! Who doesn’t want that right?
I must make a note to say that there are circumstances when you should not exercise during your pregnancy. Always be sure it’s ok with your Doc that you are cleared to exercise during your pregnancy.
Best Wishes to you & your little one(s)