You have just received the wonderfully, exciting news that you are expecting a baby. There are so many great and wonderful things associated with pregnancy: hearing the heartbeat each time you go to the doctor, feeling the baby kick, hiccup and move, and just the overall excitement of adding a new member to your family. There are also some not-so-fun things that take place over those nine months. There is the nausea that some women get, there are back and other body aches … oh and yes, there is weight gain.
All women are well-aware that they will gain weight; it is a fact of pregnancy. Over the course of pregnancy, a woman's body changes to accommodate the growing baby. Her hips and ribs move and weight is put on and stored in different parts of her body to add support for the baby — namely, belly, hips and thighs. Not a single woman is exempt from these types of changes and weight gain.
For many, though, when they think about pregnancy weight gain, they have an “I'll take care of it later” view. Many have bought into the notion that the words “exercise” and “pregnant” have no business being used in the same sentence. They believe this is a time to sit back, take it easy and worry about it later. They soon find that taking the weight off is not as easy as they had thought.
As one who has exercised through all five of my pregnancies and has done so well into my current one (31 weeks to be exact), I would have to disagree. Under most circumstances, you can safely continue to exercise, even while a tiny person is living and growing inside of you. You will find that in doing so, you will feel better throughout your pregnancy, and the after part will be better, too.
Here are some tips on how to safely exercise through pregnancy:
1. Start an exercise regiment before you get pregnant. If you ask a doctor about exercise or any physical activity during pregnancy, they will almost always say, “If you've done it before, you are safe to continue; but don't start anything new.” Which brings me to my next point:
2. Consult with your OB. It is always best to get a good assessment from your doctor if you are able to exercise. For some, due to complications and such, it is not possible; but for most, it is and is highly recommended.
3. Get a good sports bra. Need I say more.
4. Go to the bathroom before. Again, need I say more.
Now, the good stuff:
5. Pay attention to your body. Now is not the time to be breaking any records. If it feels uncomfortable (and you be the judge), don't be afraid to tone it down or take more breaks. If you feel sick, it is OK to stop … and try again tomorrow.
6. Ease into it. For the first few minutes of exercise you will feel a little bit “off.” For me, when I go out for a run, my belly is a little wobbly and feels different. I find that if I take the first few minutes slow and steady that the baby finds a comfortable position, and I am able to continue the run without any problems.
7. The first trimester is the hardest. Now, this may not apply to all, but for a good majority of women, it is during those first three months that their body feels the yuckiest. Do your best to keep moving and active during these months. If you do, you will be able to sail through the second trimester and most of the third (before things start getting uncomfortable).
8. Be careful. When I say this, I am referring to the clumsiness that is often associated with pregnancy. It is a fact that your gate will change, due to your hips shifting and added pressure at the top of your hips and pelvic area. You will find you are not picking your feet up off the ground as high as you used to. Pay attention and be careful to prevent yourself from falling.
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Fuel, fuel, fuel. When exercising, you are obviously burning more calories than normal, and a lot of your water is also going to the baby. It is extremely important to replenish your body by bringing water and/or sport drinks and also fuel with (healthy) food. Which brings me to my final point:
10. Eat healthy. It is difficult enough to exercise with a baby in your belly. Adding junk food to the mix only makes things that much worse. By fueling with healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other (food-pyramid-ish) stuff, you can avoid any unwanted sick stomach.
By following these simple rules, you will be able to safely exercise through your pregnancy. Not only will you feel better during it, but the “after” part will be much better.
Arianne Brown is a graduate of SUU, mother to five young kids, and an avid runner. For more articles by her, “like” her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WriterArianneBrown?ref=hl) or go to her blog at timetofititin.com.