Exercise is something we benefit from at any given time in life, both physically as well as mentally. The moment a women is pregnant though she is not only responsible for her own well- being anymore but also for the well- being of that little life growing inside of her. If one’s own well- being has not been a big enough motivation to take care of one self, the baby’s well- being should be. Many pregnant women, including me at the beginning of my pregnancy, are unsure of what exercises they are allowed to do and what they aren’t. At times not being sure what is ok to do when pregnant together with the belief that pregnancy justifies being lazy and moving as little as possible, keeps some pregnant women away from exercising. Exercise during pregnancy though is so extremely important and a great way to feel energetic and happy throughout pregnancy. In this post I am sharing my experience and knowledge around the topic.
The female body is made for carrying and nurturing a growing life. One of the most important things is to learn to trust our bodies. This trust in the body is something many women have unfortunately lost. Pregnancy has the power to help you regain this trust and confidence. When you work on that you will come to understand that exercise during pregnancy is completely safe. Not only is it safe, but beneficial and will support a healthy pregnancy.
If you are used to exercising and you are pregnant, keep exercising. If you are not used to exercising and you are pregnant, start exercising. Of course only if your doctor says that it is ok to do so. It is also important to mention that how you exercise depends completely on yourself. What might feel good to you might not feel good to someone else and the other way around. This requires a level of honesty and listening to your self. Some women already have these traits developed and can refer to them right away. Some do not. Pregnancy is a great time to develop these and strengthen them.
I have put together a list of different things, which have and are helping me regarding my exercise routine throughout my pregnancy:
- Listen to your self (mind & body)
Especially if you are not used to exercising it could be a good idea to exercise with a teacher who is experienced in working with pregnant women. This can help you build confidence and allows you to ask questions regarding which exercises are ok to practice during pregnancy and which aren’t. However, a teacher should never replace you tuning in with yourself. Listening to your body and mind is so important and a great trait to develop. Always remember that you are your best teacher and support.
- Keep in mind that exercise is good both for you and your baby
Knowing that you do something good both for you and your baby is a great motivation. We know today that how we feel physically and mentally has a direct influence on the baby’s well- being and development inside the womb and later on in life. So on days where you feel less motivated maybe just remind yourself that exercising has great benefits on your baby’s well- being.
- Be understanding of how you feel the different stages of your pregnancy
Always exercise with an understanding towards your physical and mental state that very moment. It is important to remember that throughout the pregnancy you go through different developments, which might ask for different kinds of exercises or different intensity.
I for example have experienced extreme fatigue throughout the first trimester. I learned to accept that and adjust my lifestyle and exercise routine accordingly. Combining cardio exercises, such as on the stepper and going for fast walks combined with relaxing yoga practices has helped me to deal with the fatigue. Throughout my second trimester I have felt extremely energetic and more intense workouts and Vinyasa flows have supported that. Now since I am in my third trimester I have came to understand that I am benefitting most from including more relaxation and breathing exercises into my exercise routine, slowing down my yoga flows and going for slower walks.
- Combine movement and stillness in your exercise routine
When I am speaking of exercise I refer both to movement as well as stillness. Throughout my pregnancy I have understood more than ever that a combination of these two is the perfect form of exercise. It allows you to benefit from it both physically as well as mentally. Both movement as well as stillness requires practice. We often forget that our mind works a bit like a muscle and if we are used to constantly run around or over think our mind needs to be trained to be still. A combination of cardio-, strength-, stretching, breathing- and relaxation exercises will give you the most benefits on all levels of your well- being.
- Exercise with an openness
Pregnancy is a time of exploration. Your body goes through a lot of changes. It is therefore best to approach each practice with openness. You might have planned an intense exercise but all of a sudden you feel very light headed or nauseous that day. This does not mean that you need to cancel the practice, but it means that you should adjust the practice to how you feel that very moment.
- Schedule your exercises
Put your exercise time in your schedule like any other appointment. That way you will make time for it and keep up with it even when you feel less motivated. Even 30 minutes are great. It is better to have a short practice than no practice at all. I recommend getting on your mat or going to the gym or wherever you chose to practice also when you do not feel like it at all but just with the attitude to exercise for a little bit.
- Exercise regularly
Your body changes so much throughout pregnancy. A regular exercise routine is crucial to maintain well- being and support yourself in being able to deal with all the changes. By keeping your body strong you support it in carrying the extra weight, which builds up throughout the advancing pregnancy. Regular exercise also helps you dealing with the emotional changes and challenges. It stabilizes your mood and helps you calm down and relax. While it is crucial to take care of the baby it is also crucial not to forget one’s self. I believe that we can use the pregnancy to practice that trait, as it will probably become even more challenging one the baby is born.
Keeping up a regular exercise routine is one way of helping you and your baby enjoy the pregnancy and feel best. Find your way of exercising and practice regularly. Pregnancy is such a beautiful time and I recommend every women to do the best they can to be able to deal with the challenges of pregnancy and benefit the most from the beautiful elements of it. Your well- being and your baby’s well- being can strongly be influenced by your choices. Being aware of that is very empowering and fun to work with.
Happy exercising 🙂