Whether you’re a workout fanatic or someone who rarely hits the gym, exercising during your pregnancy can have some real benefits! Physical exercise during pregnancy improves overall health and wellness. It can help with some of the discomforts of pregnancy and it can help prepare your body for labor and delivery. It’s also great for your mental health! The question is where to start and how to adjust to your changing body.
Generally, your health care provider will suggest that whatever workouts you were doing before getting pregnant can be done while pregnant as long as you feel ok and make certain adjustments. It’s always best to discuss any fitness routine with your healthcare provider, but here are the general guidelines for adjustments to make during pregnancy.
- Avoid compressing the baby: Twists are typically avoided during pregnancy because of the pressure they put on your baby and belly. Adapt with open twists or staying centered while others are twisting in classes.
- Take the weight down a notch: All providers have slightly different recommendations, but a general rule of thumb is don’t lift more than about 25 pounds. Lighter weight and more controlled movements are your friend during pregnancy!
- Avoid crunches after the first trimester: After the first trimester, you want to try to avoid any movements that place strain on the midline or cause the belly to bulge outward. This can add to the stress your abdominal muscles are already under and could lead to diastasis recti (a separation of your core muscles) down the line. Instead, focus on core exercises that encourage pulling the abdominal muscles in towards the spine.
- Stay off your back: Depending on your pregnancy, anywhere between the first trimester and first 20 weeks or so your uterus will expand to the point where it puts pressure on the Vena Cava, a large vein that brings oxygen from your lower half to your heart. It can lower oxygen flow to your baby as well. Typically, you’ll start to feel symptoms such as lightheadedness as this begins to be a problem, but a good rule is to spend no more than about 3 minutes on your back. This is also why side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy!
- Stretch, but stay active while you do: The body releases a hormone called relaxin that allows the ligaments around the pelvis to become lax in preparation for labor, however it’s not just those ligaments that are affected! As a result, you can feel more flexible during pregnancy and could overstretch, which can cause issues down the line. To avoid overstretching keep your muscles active during stretches. What does that look like? A good example is keeping your feet flexed in a forward fold to activate the leg muscles while you stretch.
Feeling overwhelmed thinking about modifying exercises as you go through your pregnancy. We completely understand! We offer 22 different fitness classes a week, 14 of which are prenatal classes. Our classes are tailored specifically to pregnancy so you won’t have to modify anything and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that our highly trained instructors will lead you through a workout that’s safe for you and your baby.
Check out our fitness schedule here.