How to Guide for Staying Fit, Healthy & Happy During Your Pregnancy
Great news, each one of you have the ability to stay fit, healthy & happy! They each go hand in hand. When you are fit you feel healthy and when you are both of those you are usually happy. Working out doesn’t have to be at a gym or an hour long or boring or hard. It can be fun, short, effective and easyish…. Staying active generally makes you have more energy, better sleep, improved moods & ability to cope with stress. Plus, once you achieve results you feel great!
Fit, Healthy & Happy During Pregnancy
You are pregnant, congrats. We all hope for a smooth pregnancy, we all have tons of questions, read tons of books and look for advice for what to do to stay healthy & fit during pregnancy.
I always have the same questions that arise with each pregnancy. What does eating for 2 really mean? To Exercise or not? Can you workout your core during pregnancy? What are the benefits? What precautions should I take? These are really important questions to ask. Eating right and exercising will leave you feeling more energized and happier during your pregnancy, it is great for baby, and allows for a faster post baby recovery to that pre pregnancy body.
Eating for 2? Right? No.
All you really need to do is increase your calorie intake slightly; by adding an extra apple into your day, or a 1/2cup of yogurt, or 1cup of fresh veggies with hummus. Many of us think that we can just let ourselves go during pregnancy and eat anything since we are going to gain weight anyway. Hold On! This weight that you gain by eating more then you should will just be that much harder to get off once baby is born. So put the Hagen Daz and Pringles away. Also, you want to provide your body with great nourishment for the growing baby in your belly. So eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is very important.
To exercise or not?
Prior to starting any fitness regime during pregnancy you must have your general practitioner or midwife fill out a Parmed X form outlining the precautions and safe exercising habits for pregnancy. Also, if anything changes during your pregnancy outlined in the form you must immediately stop exercising and speak with your practitioner prior to starting up again.
It is recommended to incorporate cardiovascular endurance & flexibility activities most days of the week and muscular endurance activities 2-3days per week during pregnancy as long as you doctor has given you clearance. Very important to not overheat during your first trimester as your baby is the most at risk during this critical stage of development, so working out in a cool environment is important.
Exercising is very good for both you and baby and has many benefits as long as you don’t have any conditions that could be made worse by exercising. There are many changes that occur in the woman’s body during pregnancy so it is highly recommended to follow an exercise program or group class led by a certified prenatal instructor.
If you do not have any local prenatal classes you can attend start with walking. Keep the body moving.
Some benefits to working out during your pregnancy include the following:
- More energy
- Better sleep at night
- Appropriate weight gain
- Improved circulation
- Improved posture and balance
- Stronger mind-body
- Increased postpartum recovery
- Improved moods
Can you workout your core during pregnancy?
Yes, it is recommended to. Exercises must be ones that are safe so visit your local prenatal specialist for one on one training or group fitness classes.
Some of the benefits for a strong core and pelvic floor include:
Less lower back & pelvis pain, prevents reduces incontinence & musculoskeletal injuries, help to push baby out, less tearing during child birth & lesser chance of prolapsed internal organs, quicker recovery after birth, leads to a flatter abdomen after childbirth, prevents/reduces incontinence & musculoskeletal injuries.
What precautions should I take?
- Keeping cool is very important as you don’t want your body temperature to rise as this can have negative affects on your growing baby.
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water.
- Exercising within your limits. Just because another woman is pregnant and doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it will be safe for you.
- Being mindful of your movement. Our bodies produce a hormone called Relaxin during pregnancy that causes the joints to relax if we push to hard in stretches or bounce we can cause injury and strain on our bodies.
- You will want to keep your head above your heart so yoga poses like downward dog are not safe to do.
- After 4 months it is recommended to no longer lay flat on your back.
- Avoid exercises that put pressure or strain on the Rectus Abdominis and keep a watch for Diastasis Recti
The hardest step is usually the first one. Getting out there and just doing it. Being active is a choice and having an accountability partner sometimes really helps if you have a hard time finding that motivation. Joining other moms or moms to be in fitness classes is your best support group as they are each going through their own body struggles and it is such an amazing way to meet new friends, share stories, get out of the home, and get active.
It is always recommended to see your physician prior to starting any exercise regime. Have them complete the parmed x form. If you start exercises and you have any concerns or your condition changes see your practitioner immediately.
If you have any questions about becoming active during your pregnancy I would love to chat with you. I have helped many women through their pregnancy journey and help prepare them for labour by keeping them strong and fit.
In health & fitness,