As a Personal Trainer, and someone who loves exercising I always expected to be the epitome of health throughout my pregnancy. Last year in preparation for hopefully having a baby, I took a pre & post natal exercise qualification. I learnt so much about exercise in pregnancy it was amazing. And when I found out I was pregnant recently I was excited to keep exercising. But very quickly I realised the reality of what I could do was very different to my expectations.
Exercise in Pregnancy – The Benefits
So lets start with the reasons why maintaining exercise in pregnancy is such a good idea. Firstly for me not exercising is mentally tough, t is a huge part of my life and I feel so much better mentally for training. However even if it’s not it can research suggests that maintaining fitness levels can really help prepare our bodies for labour and can assist with post natal recovery. Also women who exercise in pregnancy are likely to gain less weight, they may have shorter labours and experience less labour pains. Definitely worth it then. More generally as well it can help with some of the not so lovely pregnancy symptoms, including easing gastrointestinal discomfort, reduce swelling and possible leg cramps and improve circulation. All a bit of a nightmare.
So if you are already exercising you definitely should try to keep it up. And if you don’t now may be the time to take up some light exercise. Now is not the time however to worry about weight loss, or to focus on improving fitness levels. Maintenance is the aim of the game.
Exercise and Pregnancy – The Reality
So general advice is for the first trimester if you already exercise then you can carry on pretty much as normal. This is all well and good but what if like me you feel horrendous, (see previous post to read more) and can barely stay awake at work. Then what! Well there was a couple of weeks where I didn’t exercise at all, and that was OK. It was tough enough for me to get through the day. But when I could exercise I did.
I focused on light full body sessions, and walking. I took the longer routes to work or jumped on the treadmill and did some rolling hill workouts. It was a complete change for me, but I knew it was all I could manage at the time. Pregnancy is hard, especially in the first 12 weeks. Our bodies are working super hard creating a life, lets not forget that. You may need to rest more often, you may not be squatting 50kg but whatever you can do is those first few weeks, know you are doing something great for you and your baby.
Did you workout during pregnancy? How did you find it?