Exercising During Pregnancy: Dispelling Myths and Staying Healthy
Exercising during pregnancy is a topic that sparks a lot of debate. While some believe that pregnant women should avoid exercise altogether, others suggest that staying active during pregnancy can be beneficial for both the mother and the baby. As someone who has been through three pregnancies, I can tell you that exercising during pregnancy has been a game-changer for me.
In this post, I will be sharing my personal experiences and tips for staying healthy and fit throughout pregnancy. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting to explore the world of exercise, these tips can help you stay on track and dispel some common myths about exercising during pregnancy.
My Pregnancy Journey
Each of my pregnancies has been different, and the amount of exercise I did during each pregnancy had a significant impact on my overall health and well-being. During my first pregnancy, I was recovering from a back injury and didn’t exercise much. Although I experienced some morning sickness and discomfort, the pregnancy went well. However, I ended up having an emergency C-section after 30 hours of labor, which was a challenging experience.
During my second pregnancy, I stayed active by teaching six group yoga classes a week and doing mild exercises at the gym. I had a vaginal birth after the previous C-section and was only in labor for eight hours.
My third pregnancy, at 42 years old, was unexpected but received as a blessing. During this pregnancy, I focused on staying active and fit, which has made a significant difference in my overall health and well-being.
During the first trimester, many women experience morning sickness and fatigue. It’s important to listen to your body and rest as much as needed. However, I still believe in the “make it a lifestyle” motto, which means doing at least some exercise every day. I stopped doing abdominal exercises right away during my first trimester and focused on strengthening my posterior chain muscles to support my growing belly.
The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy can have several benefits, including:
- Improved mood and energy levels
- Reduced risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
- Reduced risk of preterm labor and cesarean delivery
- Improved sleep quality
- Easier postpartum recovery
Dispelling Common Myths About Exercising During Pregnancy
There are several myths surrounding exercising during pregnancy, including the idea that it can be harmful to the baby or cause miscarriage. However, research suggests that staying active during pregnancy is safe and beneficial for both the mother and the baby.
It’s important to note that every pregnancy is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to listen to your body and consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program during pregnancy.
Exercising during pregnancy can be a great way to stay healthy and prepare your body for childbirth. However, it’s important to listen to your body, dispel common myths, and consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. By staying active and focusing on your overall health and well-being, you can have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy can be a challenge, but it’s important for both the mother and the growing baby. As a mother who has been through three pregnancies, I’ve learned a lot about exercising during pregnancy, and I want to share my experience with you.
During Second Trimester
In the second trimester, I focused mainly on strengthening my posterior chain muscles and upper body. The posterior chain muscles, which include the calves, hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles, are crucial for supporting the extra weight of the growing tummy, and preventing back discomfort and pain. I did exercises such as deadlifts, good mornings, squats, hip thrusts, the bridge, kettlebell swings, and leg curls to strengthen these muscles. While some experts advised me to avoid lunges due to the hormone relaxin, I found that they worked well for me.
Strengthening the upper back muscles is also important during pregnancy, as it helps to balance the breastfeeding and holding of the baby that will happen after birth. I focused on stretching the front side body, pectoral muscles, and anterior shoulder while strengthening the upper back muscles to bring my body into optimal balance and perfect posture.
During the third trimester
During the third trimester, I mainly focused on cardio exercises and kept my heart rate at a level that allowed me to breathe through my nose the whole time. This helped me stay active and maintain my fitness level while accommodating the extra weight and the loosening of ligaments during pregnancy.
Remember, every pregnancy is different, and it’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you. This is a precious time to appreciate the miracle of your body and the beautiful process of creating new life.
Our beautiful baby boy was born on August 27, 2022, after my labor was induced on my due date. It was an incredible experience, and I felt empowered, cared for, and supported throughout the entire process. Thanks to the outstanding doctor and nurse who were with us, I managed to have a vaginal birth without any tears.
My partner caught our peaceful baby boy, who came into the world without even crying. It was a beautiful moment, and we feel so blessed and grateful for our little miracle.
Remarkably, my recovery after the birth has been effortless. I was amazed by how good I felt, and within just two days, I went to the river with our newborn. I am so grateful for my body’s resilience and the care I received during and after the birth.
A week after giving birth, I was feeling ready to start exercising again. I began with a core routine that consisted of one minute of each exercise in a circuit. I did three rounds of the following exercises:
- Dead bug
- Walk up ceiling
- Open and close leg
- Legs go down and around 10x total
- Legs go out and around 10x total
I am excited to continue exercising and gradually increasing the intensity as my body heals and adjusts to its new normal.
Debunking Common Exercise Myths During Pregnancy
Myth #1: If you don’t exercise, you shouldn’t start during pregnancy.
In reality, pregnancy can be a great time to start an exercise program, even if it’s as simple as taking a daily walk. Research shows that regular exercise during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of complications, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. If you were sedentary before pregnancy, gradually incorporating physical activity into your routine can help you manage weight gain, prevent back pain, and promote a quicker recovery after birth.
Myth #2: You can’t work on your abs during pregnancy because it can cause damage to the baby, the pelvic floor, or even cause diastasis recti.
While certain abdominal exercises may be unsuitable during pregnancy, some core exercises can be safe and beneficial. Strengthening your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles can help alleviate and prevent back pain, as well as prepare your body for delivery and recovery. Consult with a healthcare provider or a certified pre- and postnatal exercise specialist to determine the right exercises for you.
Myth #3: You can’t do high-impact exercise like running during pregnancy.
If you were already a regular runner before pregnancy, it can be safe to continue running with modifications as advised by your doctor or midwife. It’s important to listen to your body and modify your routine as needed if you experience any discomfort or symptoms like back or hip pain or pelvic floor issues.
Myth #4: Exercising will make you more tired.
In fact, regular exercise during pregnancy can boost energy levels and improve circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to both you and your growing baby. Just be sure to stay hydrated and adjust the intensity and duration of your workouts as needed.
Myth #5: Lifting weights can be dangerous.
Strength training can be a safe and effective way to support a healthy pregnancy. Strengthening your muscles, particularly in the lower back and hips, can help alleviate pain and provide greater stability in your joints. As with any exercise, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider and a certified pre- and postnatal exercise specialist to create a safe and appropriate workout plan.
If you are unsure about what exercises to do during your pregnancy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be happy to help you during such a special time.