Before I get into the subject of exercising while pregnant, I need to say:
“Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program especially if you are expecting.”
Okay, now that I’ve said it we can move on.
Personally, I think pregnant women make great athletes. Just the increase in blood volume alone is enough to make the expectant mother’s body a fine oiled workout machine (Ever heard of blood doping? This is the legal kind.). Add in her tolerance for discomfort, tons of rest, and all the good vitamins and foods she is pumping into her system and…wham…you have the recipe for a phenomenal athlete.
It’s just a recipe though and often times exercising during the pregnancy marathon can be really challenging. When I got pregnant, I was so sick for the first fourteen weeks that moving off the couch was an Olympic event. Eventually, the sickness passed and I was able to resume running, but it still wasn’t the same.
I admit, I got very frustrated and thought about heading for the couch with some chocolate chip cookies. Everything I had read about this subject talked about amazing athletes who had maintained a very high level of fitness while pregnant and then quickly returned to their old selves within a few weeks of giving birth. Why wasn’t that me? Why was I having to beg, borrow and plead to get myself out and moving? Oh, right, I’m growing the major organs, bones, eyes, ears and other fun parts of a HUMAN BEING!
When I really started to think about the pressure I was putting on myself and what my body was doing I snapped out of my frustration. Pregnancy is a really special time and while I wasn’t going to sit on the couch, I also wasn’t going to pick my next marathon training plan and go at it. This was my time and I was going to enjoy it.
I started doing slow jogs and walked when I felt like it (which was a lot). If I could get through a prenatal yoga DVD great, but if not then ten minutes was fine too. If I spent time working in my garden that day then I considered that my exercise. By changing my mindset, I got out more and actually enjoyed myself rather than beating myself up about not working hard enough or fast enough.
My advice to all your pregnant gals out there (after you check with your doctor of course) is to keep up your exercise routine, but be flexible. Don’t be too hard on yourself (this is not the time to start doing two workouts a day). And honestly, if you are too tired today that’s okay. Rest today and move tomorrow.
By taking this advice to heart you will be a fit and healthy mama, but also a sane and rested one. You have a new baby on the way and you’re going to need it.
Fitting in Fitness appears every other Wednesday. Before becoming a mother to one inquisitive little boy named Ethan, Montco Mom Sarah spent five years working in the fitness publishing industry. She finds peace, and a sense of self through running, weight training and practicing yoga. Questions, inquiries and inspiration are always welcome. To learn more about her parenting style, check out her blog Ethan’s Day.