Exercise during pregnancy didn’t used to be something many expectant mothers thought about. Now we know that working out is so good for your body and baby that more and more women are hitting the gym with their growing baby bump. The last time I was in Lifetime Fitness I counted 6 pregnant moms to be on the cardio machines and in the weight room. Currently it is recommended that pregnant women who are healthy and don’t have preexisting conditions or concerns with their pregnancy should be working out about 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day. (*)
Finding the workout that is right for your pregnancy can be tricky.
You should always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regimen, and this is especially important when you are pregnant. For instance, I didn’t know until I asked my OB that I should keep my heart rate under 150 no matter what workout I am doing. While this wasn’t hard in the beginning of my pregnancy, my love of spinning had to be put on hold as my belly grew and I found it harder to control my heart rate in class.
Other guidelines (**) my Doctor gave me to follow were:
- Avoid activities that were high risk of falling or impact like skiing, horseback riding, gymnastics, racket sports, basketball, and soccer.
- Avoid exercise that has you lay on your back for any length in your 2nd and 3rd trimester.
- Listen to your body. Stop if you have any pain, bleeding, dizziness, or decreased fetal movement.
I personally suffer from sciatica during my pregnancies which can make workouts that are cardio based difficult. I found however, that by continuing to workout early in my pregnancy I was able to hold of a lot of the sciatic pain until much further into this pregnancy than my first. But trying to be creative with my workouts can be difficult, so I reached out to my fellow moms and asked what form of exercise they loved while pregnant and found a wide variety of answers with one thing in common – as long as they were moving they had more energy and happier pregnancies then when they weren’t working out!
- Cobi Dickinson from Peace from Pieces swore by any form of water aerobics during her second pregnancy. “This type of workout provides an aerobic workout without the joint impact, just cardiovascular exercise and muscle toning. It was the easiest and fastest delivery out of four (pregnancies).”
- Swimming was a favorite among many of the moms I talked with. Amy Thayer from Oh So Savvy Mom said she swam until two weeks before her first baby was born and three days before her second was born. “The only drawback to this form of exercise is you need to have access to a pool and care for your children.”
- Bex from Bex Life maintains that her homebirth was made possible by all the yoga she did during her pregnancy.
- Amanda Tress of Fit Pregnancy and Parenting says she didn’t really change her workouts much at all even while pregnant. “I did all of the same cardio machine workouts as pre-pregnancy. I slowed down my running pace a little bit toward 35 weeks, but I didn’t scale back on distance. Pool workouts were great too!
- Jeanette Vollstedt from Little Ms. J found that working out was her only way to escape pregnancy related back pain. “I worked out three times a week until 37 weeks when I was put on bed rest. I walked every day, did Pilates and worked out with a trainer one day a week.”
- Tara Cherry of Mommyhead Adventures didn’t have access to a gym but swore by her pregnancy DVDs! “Glow Prenatal Cardio Sculpt with Tonya Larson was my favorite.”
- Another favorite is something everyone can do! Simply walking everyday is a great way to get your workouts in!
Up until now I have been doing 30-45 minutes of cardio and then either and upper or lower body lift. I always have my heart rate monitor on me so that I can make sure I keep my heart rate under 150 like my Dr. recommended. Exercising gives me energy, makes me feel better, and will help keep my body strong for the labor that I hope to have. I look forward to continuing my workouts by switching to lower impact exercises like Aqua Zumba and Yoga. I am very lucky that I belong to what I believe is the most amazing fitness facility anywhere – Lifetime Fitness. Lifetime Fitness offers a wide variety of classes including yoga, water classes, and Pilates. They also have amazing “play care” for my son while I attend these classes.
(*) I am not a registered anything, I am a just a mom who enjoys fitness. Always consult a doctor before beginning any workout program.
(**) These are just my doctor’s recommendations. You need to see your own doctor to see what guidelines they set for you.
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