Whether you’re already exercising, or have yet to begin, it can be overwhelming trying to determine what activities and exercises are appropriate to do during your pregnancy. At FITMOM, we’re here to help you sort through all of the conflicting information and provide you with the most current and up to date recommendations and guidelines to keep you healthy, active and safe, as you exercise throughout your entire pregnancy.
In a typical, uncomplicated pregnancy there is usually no reason to avoid exercise. In fact, many health care practitioners recommend that even if you weren’t active prior to pregnancy, you can still begin an exercise program when you become pregnant. And if you’re contemplating becoming pregnant, starting some form of regular fitness before becoming pregnant is fully endorsed.
For those of you who are already active, there isn’t much you’ll need to change in terms of your exercise routine during the first trimester. If you’re a runner, you can continue running. If you attend group fitness classes, you can continue with them and you won’t have much to worry about in terms of finding modifications. You might however, find yourself feeling a little more tired and nauseous than before you were pregnant, so just listen to your body and consider shortening your workouts on days you are feeling more tired and avoid any movements that make you feel nauseous. Sometimes eating a small snack about 90 minutes before you exercise can reduce those feelings of nausea.
In our FITMOM 2B classes, we’re often asked:
… what exercises are safe for me to continue during my pregnancy?
… what exercises should I avoid while I’m pregnant?
… can I still play xxx sport?
So, we thought we’d share our answers to these common questions!
Q: Can I still train my core during pregnancy?
A: Of course! In fact, you should. However, you are likely going to need to make some adjustments to HOW you train your core during your pregnancy. It’s best to avoid crunches and prone plank after your first trimester, to minimize any abdominal separation that is beginning to occur. Instead, try incorporating more functional breathing, often referred to as the Core Breath, to keep your deep core functioning well through each trimester. We also love pelvic tilts with core activation and superwoman to keep the backside of your body strong. As your pregnancy progresses, or at any point if you feel like your belly is being pulled to the floor you can do your superwoman standing.
Q: Can I still do high-impact activities like running, cross-fit or plyometrics during pregnancy?
A: If you were running before you were pregnant, it’s usually fine to continue running throughout your first trimester and into your second trimester of pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, you might want to run less frequently and shorter distances to conserve your energy.
As your joint begin to loosen up to prepare for the birth of your baby, your risk of injury increases due to less stability in your joints and ligaments. You’ll want to avoid running on uneven surfaces and avoid other activities that require excessive jumping, skipping, hopping or bouncing.
Instead, we encourage you to include low-impact (no jumping, feet stay on the floor) like walking, the elliptical or swimming for cardio and body weighted exercises. As well, incorporating light weights into your fitness routine will help build strength and maintain your muscle tone. We think our FITMOM2B classes are one of the best ways to stay active and strong throughout your pregnancy.
Q:Can I still play “x” sport when I am pregnant?
A: If you play contact sports like softball, baseball, hockey, basketball, ultimate or soccer, where there’s a high likelihood of colliding with another player, it’s a good idea to take a break during your pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to avoid any sports that have an increased risk of falling (skiing, horseback riding, etc). Instead, your pregnancy might be a good time to try out a prenatal yoga class so that you can focus on keeping your body better aligned during your pregnancy and learn some beneficial relaxation skills that will likely help you both in labour and in parenting!
As your pregnancy progresses there may be some modifications or adjustments you find you need to make to your exercise routine. Regular check-ins with how you are feeling and making small adjustments each time you exercise are key to staying active throughout your entire pregnancy. If you can, find a prenatal specific fitness class, like our FITMOM2B class, in your area. Not only will you find that a prenatal specific class is a rich resource of information, it’s also often the start of your new community that includes other moms that are in the same stage of life as you are. A good prenatal fitness program will help you maintain your posture, improve your balance, remember to stretch, and improve your cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
What are you waiting for? Join a prenatal fitness class today!
FITMOM advocates exercise during pregnancy. We recognize that there are contraindications to exercise in pregnancy as outlined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) & Society Of Obstetrics & Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). Individuals are encouraged to seek approval from their health care provider before starting any new fitness program.