There are many benefits of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise helps you to feel and look better, gets you in shape for labor, keeps you from gaining too much weight, and helps you to bounce back after your baby is born. During my first trimester, I was so sick and tired that I spent the entire three months in bed. I could not exercise at all and the only thing that made me feel better was eating constantly. I was shocked to learn that I gained over 20 pounds in my first trimester! Doctors recommend that you only gain 24-30 pounds your entire pregnancy and I had two trimesters to go! I knew that I had to start a fitness routine as soon as possible or I would gain too much weight. Although I could not diet, I could exercise, so after getting the green light from my doctor, I started the following fitness routine:
During my pregnancy, I have energetic days and lethargic days. I work out on the days that I feel most energetic and rest on the other days. Some days I just feel like sleeping. Believe it or not, creating a baby takes energy and I listen to my body and give it rest when I really need to. I don’t force myself to exercise if I feel I need rest. When I let myself rest every other day or so, I find that I have the energy to exercise at least three days per week.
Because I cannot afford a gym, I check out free exercise DVD’s at the library. I have found that I can do most of the regular workout routines as long as I modify them for pregnancy. For example, if they are doing abdominal work on their backs, I go to my hands and knees and contract my abs while rounding my back and then arch my back. I avoid jumping moves and walk instead. If I do yoga, I stick to videos that are geared toward pregnant women like “Yoga Mamma”.
I always make sure I am doing a toning routine as well as a cardio routine. I really love “Zumba Sculpt and Tone”. I use 5 lb. weights during the workout. It is a fun routine that gives you both a cardio workout and toning workout in one.
When the weather is nice, I enjoy hiking in the woods. I love to get out into nature because not only am I getting exercise but studies have shown that you actually get aromatherapy from being out in the woods.
Because I can do Kegals anywhere, I make sure to do as many as I can every day. This is the most important exercise during pregnancy because they prevent you from getting stress incontinence and reduces your chances of needing an episiotomy.
Now that I am well into my second trimester, I am looking and feeling much better because I have made exercise a priority in my life. As a result, I will be prepared for both the work of labor and the work of motherhood.