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10 Rules for Safe Pregnancy Exercise

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pool fitness

As you all know, exercise and fitness is such a huge part of my life. For me, a good sweat sesh can literally turn a bad day into a good one and solve all the world’s problems—ok, that’s taking it a bit too far but joking aside, health and fitness has SO MANY BENEFITS for our bodies! It blows my mind when people say they don’t have enough time to fit a workout in (even for 20-30 mins) because the benefits of working out are truly amazing! (That’s a post for another day).

As far as my pregnancy goes, I am *OFFICIALLY* in the 3rd trimester and at 28 weeks. Aside from the occasional heartburn and mid-day slump I am so happy to say that this pregnancy (and Baby G) have been so good to me! Compared to some of my other preggo friends I do find myself quite lucky to have very few pregnancy symptoms. Honestly, I really credit it all to a (mostly) healthy diet and consistently keeping active and working out. On average I get about 5-6 workouts in a week depending on my energy level and how I am feeling that day. I have found a really HELPFUL TIP to be getting my workouts done first thing in the morning or before breakfast. This is when I have the most energy, feel my best and can really give my all to my workout. It also helps doing my workouts in the morning because there are very few excuses that get in the way. I wake up, have a small bite to eat, put on my workout gear, get my water bottle ready and get to it! That being said, I really feel like these workouts and my healthy lifestyle attribute to why I have had very few pregnancy symptoms. I have also noticed on the days I don’t workout (like travel days) I feel MUCH MORE tired, run down and wanting to be in bed by 7pm! The days I do workout I feel like I am definitely up for more day to day activities, not as tired and get a better nights sleep. That all being said, I wanted to share with you some of my tips when you DO workout for safe and effective pregnancy exercise! So here goes:

1. Check With Your Healthcare Provider First

Before you lift ANY weights, decide to start your workout of any kind PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get checked and cleared by your healthcare provider FIRST! When I had my first appointment with my doctor I told her about my daily workout schedule, how active I am, what I typically do and for how long. She advised me to keep up with the workouts I was doing BUT not to take up anything new. For instance, I was never big in to cycling so she advised staying away from any soul cycle classes or any other type of workouts that my body wasn’t used to doing. That being said, workouts like walking, pilates, yoga, water aerobics are all GREAT for us pregnant moms! Again, just consult with your doc before starting anything new and get the go head before you begin!

2. Drink Plenty Of Water

Drink water before, during, and after exercising. Otherwise you can become dehydrated, which can set off a chain of events that leads to a reduced of amount of blood reaching the placenta. Dehydration can also increase your risk of overheating or even trigger contractions. There is no “official” amount of how much water you should be drinking but most docs can tell you that just by checking the color of your urine you can tell whether or not your getting enough H2O. You want to aim for either clear or very pale yellow in color. Also, the frequency of how often your going is another give away. I try and shoot for a gallon a day (which is what my doc told me). For me, drinking water was always so hard because it was just too bland. That’s why I put together my 5 Favorite Infused Water Recipes for you. Just click the link HERE to check it out!

3. Wear the Right Clothes

One thing us women CAN get excited for is shopping for some new clothes…workout clothes. I am still able to wear almost all of my stretchy bottoms to workout in but just this week some of them have started to become a little tight. You want to make sure you’re wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Also, dress in layers so it’s easy to peel off a layer or two after you’ve warmed up or if you get overheated. Have a supportive bra is super important too!

4. Skip the Dangerous Contact Sports

Avoid sports that involve lots of contact (like kickboxing or basketball) as well as activities that might throw you off balance and cause a fall, such as horseback riding, surfing, water skiing, gymnastics, downhill skiing, or mountain biking. Pretty much any sport that you could fall down, hurt yourself or the baby is off the list. If you want a list of the workout I have been doing so far throughout my pregnancy make sure to follow me on IG or just comment below/ email me and I would be happy to share them with you.

5. Always Take Enough Time to Warm up

Warming up will prepare your body, muscles and joints for the exercise to come. This will also slowly increase your heart rate so your body can prepare for the workout ahead. If you skip the warm-up and jump into strenuous activity before your body is ready, you could strain your muscles and ligaments and have more aches and pains after your workout. Take a good 5 minutes to warm up and get your body moving before you jump into the full workout!

6. Don’t Lie Flat On Your Back

Most doctors will tell you that after the first trimester you need to avoid laying on your back. Why you ask? There is a vein called the vena cava and when you lay on your back the weight of your uterus puts pressure on that vein which can reduce blood flow to your heart and may diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus. This can make you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. Of course you will know if this happens because you will feel light headed yourself and want to move out of this position. I use a pregnancy pillow at night but you can also just use pillows to prop yourself up when it’s time to go to bed. But as for working out, make sure you are always at least propped up when you exercise so as not to compress the vena cava.

7. Keep Moving

Never go from working out to laying down or from working out to no movement at all- you always want to keep moving. Once you’re done a move (in between workouts) or once you have finished your workout, make sure to keep moving by switching positions or walking in place. Remaining motionless or standing in one place for prolonged periods can reduce blood flow to your heart and uterus and cause blood to pool in your legs, lowering your blood pressure and making you dizzy. Just keep moving until your heart rate comes down to its natural rhythm.

8. Don’t Overdo It

Working out is GREAT and has so many benefits for both you and your baby but PLEASE DON’T OVERDO IT! Y0u know your body and when too much is TOO MUCH. Remember, this is a time in your life when you are not looking to use fitness to lose weight- you want to use fitness now to maintain the muscle you have, have a healthy pregnancy as well as keep your body strong for labor and delivery! Use the talk test- which is you know when to slow down if you can’t carry on a conversation comfortably. In general, the best guideline is to listen to your body. Always stop if something hurts or you need a break.

9. Don’t Exercise in High Heat or Humidity

This may sound like a no-brainer but ESPECIALLY in these hot summer days, exercising in doors or in a pool is best.  Being pregnant means increased blood flow and a higher metabolic rate which mean you’ll feel warmer than usual, especially when you exercise. As a result of this, you may overheat faster than you would if you weren’t pregnant. Play it safe and stick to indoor workouts where you can control the AC or go for those great aerobic exercises too.

10. Get Up From the Floor Slowly

If you haven’t noticed this yet you will, but your center of gravity shifts as your belly grows.  This means it’s important to take extra care when you change positions. This means when you change position from the ground to standing or even level changes (bent over to standing or getting down to the floor). Getting up too quickly can make you dizzy and may cause you to lose your balance and fall.

BONUS TIP: Make It a Habit!

Make a commitment to yourself (and your baby) that you will stay consistent with your workouts each week. Aim for the same number of workouts a week. I get in 5-6 a week but even if you can do 4-5  that’s great! The more you workout and are active now, the faster your body will bounce back after baby. Not only that but your labor/ delivery will be easier on you and you will feel better each day knowing you are doing something good for your body! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can safely do at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most or all days of the week as long as you have the go-ahead from your healthcare provider. Make it a habit, mark it on your calendar, heck, even get a friend on board and get on the fitness track together. Either way you are giving yourself and baby lots of added benefits when you keep up a healthy diet and fitness routine before, during and after pregnancy!

For a list of the workouts I’ve been doing or to stay up to date with the meals and recipes I’m cooking along with progress of all our baby updates, make sure to follow me on Facebook and IG! I’d also LOVE to hear from you and see where you are at on your fitness journey! Are you pregnant now? On your postpartum journey? Looking to get pregnant and wanting to incorporate a healthy lifestyle for you and your family? Comment below or shoot me and email! I’d love to hear from you!

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