PREGNANCY & FITNESS
Whether you're a “stroll about town” type of person or a hardcore marathoner, it is necessary to stay in tune with your body to make sure you're not putting too much stress on you or your baby. If something feels off, leave it out.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your baby safe and healthy:
Check with your medical provider first. It's important to get the green light f rom your doctor before starting, continuing or changing any exercise routine, especially when pregnant. If you were a regular at the gym before you became pregnant and don't have any complications, then the general rule of the thumb is that it should be fine to carry on, sometimes with a few modifications. If you have a sudden burning desire to be the next Serena Williams, but you've never actually stretched further than the remote control, it's probably not the best time to jump into high- intensity training. It'd be best to look in to a low- impact exercise regimen. While it is often best to be active - no judgment here, personally, I was couch- ridden
for four months - there are medical conditions, such as preeclampsia or placenta previa that will absolutely put the kibosh on any strenuous activity. So again, I stress, please check with your doctor first before hitting the gym.
Warm up. Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for exercise and slowly increases your heart rate. Your body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy that naturally causes your ligaments to loosen. This helps prepare your pelvis to open super wide when it comes time to push that big ol' baby out, and while it's ver y important to warm up before working out, you do need to take it kind of easy here. Use light stretching as your warmup along with a little walking. Going into a workout with cold muscles in addition to your pregnancy hormones can cause extreme soreness the next day. With all the other aches and pains that come along with pregnancy, that's the last thing you need!
Don't lie flat on your back anymore!
After the first trimester, try to avoid any exercises that involve lying on your back or your tummy. The weight of your uterus puts a lot of pressure on the vena cava, this reduces blood flow and may cause dizziness when you try to get back up. A good tip is to put a pillow or a wedge behind your back to prop you up slightly. In all honesty, it's going to be hard to get back up off the floor anyway, just make sure you take it slow so you don't get dizzy and lose your balance.
Stay Hydrated. I know you're probably peeing every two minutes already and now you're thinking “ugh, more water?” Yes, drink up, it's incredibly important. Dehydration can actually trigger contractions. Dehydration was a huge issue for me, so I carried around a gallon sized water bottle everywhere I went. People used to joke that I should name it, kind of like a third child. We named it Walter, anyway, I digress.
What can you do? Squats are a great exercise to do during pregnancy, it will also help you when it comes to labor as it helps to open everything up. Pelvic tilts area great way to strengthen your abdominal muscle sand can also help alleviate back pain. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful, low- impact activity, just make sure it's actually a prenatal class, as a lot of yoga positions have you on your back or tummy. Walking is beneficial, you might even break into a light jog.
Pace yourself. Please, don't overdo it. You might be feeling full of energy and high on the joys of life right now but don't push yourself too hard. If you're not able to chat with your r unning buddy without becoming short of breath, then you're probably overexerting yourself. Listen to your body, if something hurts, don't do it. You want to have a workout but you don't want to spend the rest of the day exhausted. Exercise is supposed to energize you.
Exercising for 30 minutes 3- 5 days a week can be wonderfully beneficial to your health before, during and after pregnancy. The important thing is to be active and get your blood flowing. ◆