Pregnancy is a super exciting time. It is full of milestones and memories, such as the first kick ot when you notice that you suddenly have a bump. However, it also comes with many significant changes, especially when it comes to your health and fitness routines.
Many women like to take it easy and relax routines during pregnancy, which is fine, but if you want to continue exercising, here are some ways to stay fit while growing a baby and keeping yourself safe.
Don’t stop exercising – but make some changes
As long as your midwife or doctor has given you the go-ahead, it is perfectly safe to continue exercising through your pregnancy. However, you will probably have to make some changes, particularly if you usually follow a high-intensity or weight training programme.
High-intensity cardio can be quite demanding on the body, and even more so when your body is busy working hard to grow and nourish another small human” During your pregnancy, you may want to consider switching to lower impact cardio routines to reduce the strain on your body.
Walking and swimming are excellent forms of low-impact cardio exercise. If you are not used to running or do not feel up to it, steady jogging or power walking is a superb alternative. Swimming is particularly popular amongst pregnant women as the water can make you feel almost weightless, which is lovely when you have an ever-expanding bump!
For women who usually follow a weight training routine, you may still be able to, if you switch it up a bit. Opt for lighter weights and more reps, and do not push yourself too hard. You may want to consider other forms of gentle exercise, such as prenatal yoga or pilates.
These help to relax your mind as well as your body. They often incorporate pelvic floor exercises as well, which are particularly useful as your pregnancy develops.
Remember, before you undertake any exercise when pregnant, it is important to talk to your midwife and doctor to make sure that it is safe for you and your baby.
Listen carefully to your body
Your body knows exactly how much it can cope with, so listen to it. You can read every single pregnancy book or website that there is, and your friends, family, and health professionals can give you all the advice, but ultimately, your body knows what it is capable of.
If you have morning sickness, give yourself a break, and wait until you are feeling a bit better to start your exercise. If you wake up feeling a little achy, maybe think about giving the tough stuff a rest for the day and do some gentle stretches or take a stroll instead. Fresh air usually helps, as does making sure you eat as healthily as possible and stay hydrated.
In the first trimester, it is perfectly normal to feel exhausted and lethargic. If your body is demanding you rest, take a rest! Many women find that in the second trimester, their energy levels return to almost normal, but don’t worry too much if you don’t want to follow a full workout routine. Exercise should always be something that you enjoy and should never feel like a chore.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet when pregnant is one of the best things you can do, but it can also be one of the hardest. Cravings can kick in; you might swing between food, making you feel sick to wanting to eat everything in sight.
Try to ignore the saying ‘eat for two’ – while towards the end of your pregnancy, you may need to increase your calorie intake slightly, but you certainly do not need to be eating double. The main thing to do is to concentrate on the quality of your diet – fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, fibre, calcium, and a small amount of fat are essential for a healthy diet. However, there’s no need to beat yourself up if you fancy that slice of cake or that bowl of cookie dough ice cream – eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet, it is absolutely fine!
It is especially important to stay hydrated through your pregnancy and beyond. Aim for around eight glasses of water today and try to cut down on the amount of caffeine that you consume. It is particularly important to watch your water intake if you are suffering from morning sickness.
Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy doesn’t’ have to be hard. Eat healthily and listen to your body, and you can stay active the whole way through.