Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is certainly a very exciting time to exercise and explore just how strong your body and mind are. Here are some helpful tips which you may find useful for exploring exercise and movement during pregnancy.
1. Although active pregnancies are hugely encouraged and very beneficial for both you and the baby you definitely want to get the all clear from your midwife or doctor and never be afraid to ask their opinions if anything doesn’t feel right. 90% of the time you will be able to carry on working out throughout your pregnancy but for peace of mind always check.
2. Don’t be afraid to slow down in the first trimester. I was always a big believer in the school of thought that, “you’ll never regret a workout..” then I met first trimester and learnt very quickly that often a morning run would only make me feel 10x worst… Maybe explore gentler forms of movement, it doesn’t mean you have to continue that throughout the rest of your pregnancy but please remember that in the first trimester your body is working incredibly hard growing not only a baby but also a placenta. Please don’t be to hard on yourself and just do the amount of movement that works for you.
3. If you’re continuing your normal exercise classes, then please tell your instructor as soon as possible. They will be very professional and offer modifications for certain exercises that may not work for your growing bump. They can also offer any advice that may be needed.
4. Drink water! And lots of it, during pregnancy your core temperature increases, and you are also carrying a weighted vest, so you will be drinking more than normal.
5. Motivation- Pregnancy is a fantastic time for you to really strengthen your relationship with fitness and movement. Admire your growing body and appreciate how you can get both stronger and bigger, throwing away the narrow opinion that you must look a certain a way to fit the image of “fit”.
6. If you are struggling quite a lot for motivation, then I would fully recommend exploring virtual competitions. There are a huge range out there, if you’re an avid runner you might enjoy entering a virtual 5km, or maybe a virtual walking challenge. Whilst pregnancy is an exciting and amazing experience its also quite long and there is nothing wrong with still wanting achievements in other areas of your life. Don’t be afraid to make the challenge smaller than what you may have done previously and just be proud of yourself, no matter what. I loved doing a walking challenge, where for a month I had to walk a total distance of 20 miles and I’m really looking forward to hanging the medal up in my baby’s nursery, knowing that both he and I did it together. Just please listen to your body and if the challenge is too much then there is never any shame in adjusting or stopping.
7. You may also want to explore the range of pre-natal fitness classes that are out there. There are plenty of specific workout programmes and pre-natal yoga classes designed purely for pregnant woman. These classes will aid in strength, stretch and mindfulness techniques. It’s also a brilliant way to socialise and meet another pregnant woman. Whether its online or in person.
8. And finally, please don’t compare yourself to others. Every human body is different, and every pregnancy and baby are different. One woman may find that she can run until 36weeks or further, whereas another may find that a 15min stretch is more than enough for her in the second trimester. Weather, health, history and position of baby are all some factors which can affect it. There is no shame in doing less movement than another pregnant woman, or equally doing more. The only opinion which matters is yours and your midwife’s, so if you find other people giving you advice or comparing you to other women, please always ignore them. At the end of the day, you will always know what’s best for your body and baby.