By Kate Horney
Pregnancy is not easy, and no matter how healthy or active, all pregnant moms are bound to experience some discomfort. But if you’re looking for a way to make the bad stuff better, exercise can help! Generally, with uncomplicated pregnancy, if you’ve been exercising before you got pregnant, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to continue what you are doing. The main objective for workouts while pregnant is to be smart about your exercising and to think about it as a positive part of your experience!
5 Reasons I Exercise During Pregnancy:
Back Pain– Studies show that two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain. It’s not easy carrying around a watermelon all day long, but strengthening your lower back muscles, as well as yoga and pelvic tilts can offer relief. Exercise during the second half of pregnancy, is especially helpful.
Low Energy– Exercise increases your energy, so on days when even lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, get up and get moving! Even a just a 20 minute walk can give you the energy you need to get through the day.
Nausea- Sometimes it’s just unavoidable. I was incredibly nauseous for the majority of my 1st trimester, but I’ll be the first to tell you… there’s no better way to take your mind off it than with a killer workout. If you’ve tried ginger and you’re good on your B vitamins, but you’re still feeling queasy, sometimes all you can do is just distract yourself. Exercise is a great, and healthy, distraction.
Gestational Diabetes– High blood sugar during pregnancy not only raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby (OUCH!) but it also puts you at extremely high risk for developing Type II Diabetes in the decade after delivering. If you do develop gestational diabetes, as even many fit women do because of genetics and age, exercise may help prevent or delay your need for medication. In fact, studies show that with regular exercise, you lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27 percent.
Constipation- I can attest first hand to the fact that, due to high levels of progesterone and a growing uterus, the intestinal tract of a pregnant momma often gets backed up. Regular exercise, along with plenty of water and fiber keeps your digestive system moving.
Regardless of your fitness level, here is a basic pregnancy workout with easy exercises that can be done with minimal risk for injury.
Pregnant Workout: 10 Minute Body Weight Circuit
*Set your timer for 10 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes!*
1 Minute Plank Hold
20 Body Weight Squats
1 Minute Plank Hold
Push-Ups – This is the #1 body weight exercise! You can do push-ups without the need for equipment or a gym membership. They give you a full body workout with emphasis on upper-body and core. In preparation for picking up and putting down your baby, try to do 3 sets of 10 push-ups every other day before you jump in the shower. Start on your knees if you need to and then work up to doing them on your toes. Before you know it, you’ll be a pregnant push-up machine!
Squats – Squats are an excellent exercise to incorporate into your pregnancy exercise routine because they help strengthen your lower core and pelvic girdle muscles – two areas that are super important during delivery! Plus, squats keep your lower half in shape. If you do squats regularly, there will be no need to worry about a growing backside or thunder thighs after pregnancy. Squats can keep those areas in check during pregnancy even when you’re taking in more calories than normal and eating for two. Try to do 3 sets of 15 squats every other day.
Planks – Planks will keep your core in shape throughout pregnancy by tightening up all of your internal oblique and abdominal muscles. Planks can also help your abdominal muscles bounce back quickly after delivery. Not only do planks focus on core strength, but you will also get a boost in upper body and leg strength. Do planks every day for a maximum core burn! Try 3 sets of 1 minute plank holds and you will definitely feel it!
Remember, Pregnancy should not be used as an excuse to not be active and healthy. In fact, I believe that pregnancy should be the REASON you are getting out, staying active and healthy…Not just for you, but for your new baby as well!
Note: If you are pregnant and considering starting or continuing an exercise routine, the first thing you should do is talk with your doctor. It’s important to let your physician know what activities you are doing and/or are planning on doing.
Kate Horney is part of the Momsanity Team, which is a community of Moms striving to achieve balance through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. You can read more about this amazing program here.