You were NOT ready for this!
Fitness and pregnancy can be quite a taboo topic. More so in the past, but there is still a lot of misinformation out there about what you can and can’t do when it comes to training while pregnant.
First thing you should always do is speak with your doctor about what is okay to do while you are pregnant. Every woman and every pregnancy is very different – some women are more advanced with fitness and others less so, some women have uncomplicated pregnancies, and some don’t. Always do what is best for you and your baby.
If you have no complications, it’s generally okay to continue to train how you did prior to pregnancy with slight modifications. A few things you probably shouldn’t do include trying something completely new, having specific goals like losing fat or gaining muscle, training for a marathon or powerlifting meet, or any other things of that nature. Fitness and pregnancy is all about keeping you and your baby as healthy as possible, and of course trying to keep some strength and endurance is nice, too!
Exercise is absolutely wonderful for you and your baby when you’re pregnant for so many reasons:
Keeps your weight gain in check
Pelvic floor and core work benefits you postpartum
Labor and delivery may be easier
Lower risk of gestational diabetes
Less likely to get constipated
Helps you sleep better
Reduces pregnancy discomfort
Lowers risk of pregnancy-related complication
May help your body get back postpartum
Those are just a few of the reasons, and I’m sure there are more. There are always modifications you need to be aware of when you’re pregnant. First, always listen to your body - do want you can and what you’re used to. I wouldn’t suggest trying crossfit for the first time if you’ve never done it before. A healthy mix of weight training and aerobic exercise is a great way to exercise during pregnancy. Avoid exercises that have you laying on your back after the first trimester. Always focus on proper form. Avoid testing one-rep maxes – you can push yourself but don’t push it too hard.
Pregnancy nutrition is also important. Making sure you’re eating consistent and healthy meals. Focus on lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, complex carbs, and lean proteins. Balanced meals with a combination of all macronutrients and micronutrients is best. However, it’s also ok to indulge here and there! Pre and post workout nutrition is pretty similar to before pregnancy. Carbs and protein are your best friend for pre and post workout. Great ideas include chicken, potato and broccoli; oatmeal with banana and peanut butter; etc.
Now, let’s bust some myths – true or false:
You should be taking your exercise routine easy? FALSE, but it depends on the person. Some women have to take it easy due to certain complications. You can still push yourself, but always listen to your body and only as much as you feel comfortable.
You can’t play sports whilst you’re pregnant? For some, TRUE. It depends on the sport, though. Things such as skiing or snowboarding or anything similar that can make you fall are a no-no.
Exercise will only make you more exhausted? FALSE! Quite the opposite.
It’s too dangerous to lift weights? Definitely FALSE.
Only pre-natal exercises are safe for pregnant women? FALSE.
Eating habits – you need to eat for two? FALSE. You do need more calories, but only about 300-500 more calories than your maintenance.
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