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Getting exercise before, during and after your pregnancy shouldn’t be about minimizing the baby weight. It should be about creating the best version of yourself that’s ready to grow a tiny new human. Working out should be about being strong enough to handle the crazy difficult birthing process. Your aim should be to be in tip top shape so you can bounce back and be ready to keep up with this new little person who is 100 percent reliant on you.
In an ideal situation, you would be maintaining a healthy lifestyle all along, or at least easing into more and more physical activity as you prep to start trying for a baby. Let’s be real though, accidents happen and you may, all of a sudden, be finding yourself trying to shake some bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. Wherever you are on your fitness journey, these 10 tips for staying active during your pregnancy are perfect for helping you and that little baby grow to be happy and healthy.
As always, check with your doctor before starting any new diet or fitness plans. Modify activities to fit your level of fitness (and stage of pregnancy) and always stop an activity if you are in pain or otherwise uncomfortable.
10 Ways to Stay Active During Pregnancy
Swim. Swimming is my absolute favorite way to get a full body cardio workout. It’s also the perfect exercise for pregnant women because it’s low impact and your near weightlessness in the water will allow you to continue this fabulous exercise throughout your entire pregnancy. Bonus? Totally helps alleviate swelling and back strain AND keeps you cool during those hot summer months. Just be sure to swim in a safe body of water/swimming pool to avoid water-borne diseases and always be careful walking on slippery surfaces.
Do Water Aerobics See above but consider it more of a strength building activity. Live it up with the bluehairs. You may feel silly but it’s honestly just so much fun and a surprisingly good workout. Warning, you may feel a little jello-ey post workout, but you’ll come out of it with some great new friends in the 60+ age range.
Take a Spin Class This is the workout for when you want to FEEL like you’re working out. If you’ve never taken a spin class before definitely take it easy! It’s a marathon, not a sprint and you don’t want to pass out 20 minutes in. It’s great though because you get to adjust the resistance to make it more or less difficult so if you’re feeling overly tired or are getting too pregnant, just take it down a notch! While bike riding is not advised during pregnancy because of balance issues, stationary bikes are still a go! Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Do Yoga Find a prenatal yoga class or pick out a few good free online video options like our favorite from SarahBethYoga. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or newbie, you’ll want to make sure you find a reliable source for your routines so you can rest assured that you are only doing moves that are safe for you and baby. Even if you weren’t a fan of yoga before, you might find it calming during the stress of pregnancy and, with the right routine, it can really help you tone up those muscles and get your breathing down for labor.
Walk Yup. Simple enough. Walk wherever you can and as much as you can. But don’t forget to put your feet up and relax afterwards. Bonus? Some people swear that walking can help induce labor. While it’s not scientifically supported, I say it’s worth a try! Let gravity do its job ;)
Amp up the Chores So maybe you can’t run anymore and your energy is dwindling… you can still get movement in just by doing your usual housework! Throw on some music and dance it out while you vacuum, dust and do other cleaning.
Strength Train Again, make sure you are only doing exercises that are safe for you and baby and avoid heavy lifting, but strength training is vitally important to keep you in peak condition to be ready for labor and recovery.
Take the Stairs Whether it’s at the office, at the doctor’s, at the mall, wherever. Choose the stairs over escalators and elevators. Sure you may be out of breath when you go up that single flight 9 months pregnant, but #health.
Do Low Impact Aerobic Workouts Whether it’s a fitness class or online video, again, make sure you are only doing activities that are safe for you and baby. If you want one that you can amp up or tone down (and get a good laugh in), check out Denise Austin on Youtube or this Barefoot and Pregnant Pilates Dance Workout.
Golf You read that right. GOLF! I golfed right up until the week before I gave birth (with a cart of course)! Even with a cart, you get a good amount of walking and physical activity in. It’s great to get outdoors and enjoy a fun and (hopefully) relaxing round. Just be sure to take an easy swing that works with your growing belly and don’t over do it. It may also be a good idea to have your hubs or golfing buddy pick up the ball for you from time to time after you sink the putt!
Tips For Exercising While Pregnant
Stay Hydrated You already need to drink more water while pregnant, and when you add exercise into the mix you need even more! These Water Bottles with Intake Trackers and Weekly Stickers (affil) are a fun way to make sure you're getting enough!
Get a Belly Band Yes, you may feel like a total nerd but it's so worth it! I had a lot of round ligament pain throughout a lot of my pregnancy. This belly band was a life saver! There are different versions depending on your level of pain, how you're carrying, etc. so pick one that works for you! I wore this under my maternity clothes quite often and you'd never know. It certainly helped support my growing belly so I could stay active.
Get an Exercise Ball Whether it's for your workouts or to replace your desk chair, it's super helpful in maintaining good balance while your growing belly is throwing you off! They also have ones with a base that offer more stability so are perfect for the office.
Take Your Prenatal Vitamins You can't be your best you if you're not getting all of the nutrition you need. And let's face it, that first trimester when you're housing all of the carbs (bagels, mac and cheese, toast...), it takes everything you've got not to throw up just looking at a vegetable. Make sure you're taking a prenatal vitamin daily. This one was my favorite as it didn't make me even more nauseous than I already was.
What are your favorite activities to stay healthy before, during and after pregnancy! Leave them in the comments below!