The notion of ‘staying active’ when you have a toddler is actually quite comical. Those of you who have small children or have been around them will know that finding stillness is actually more of a challenge then staying active! Nonetheless, today I’m talking about maintaining some level of formalised exercise during your pregnancy, outside of the mandatory running around with your child.
I’ve always been quite the gym goer and try to keep it up during pregnancy. I’m lucky that this time around I’ve been feeling pretty good energy wise and have managed to continue attending group fitness classes. I must admit though, the other day the mental image I had of myself effortlessly and gracefully prancing around the room or up and around a step was quickly dashed when I caught a glimpse of a red-faced, swollen bellied girl in the mirror realised that it was, in fact my own reflection! Talk about a reality check. Ha. Anyway, I am of the opinion that during pregnancy calories that are consumed are halved and calories that are burned are doubled haha so I’m just happy that I’m moving in some capacity and can justify more brownies later on.
Those of you on social media will be familiar with the hashtags #fitpregnancy, #fitmum, #sweatingfortwo etc. and while I’m definitely guilty of using these ‘buzz’ hashtags, my gripe is that they often accompany photos of calorie controlled meals, strict eating plans, crazy workouts and an emphasis on body after baby plans. Not all these things are bad necessarily, but it’s become so engrained in our culture to minimize weight gain during pregnancy, continue lifting crazy weights and lose weight IMMEDIATELY after your babe is born. Can we not just be pregnant, enjoy some ice cream once in a while and soak up our newborns for the infinite time they are tiny? Having a #fitpregnancy is important and there are lots of hugely inspiring mums and mums to be out there, but the crazy obsessive stuff? That’s not what I’m talking about today.
With all that being said, I DO believe that labour is no walk in the park and having been through it once before I can remember how physically demanding it is and how grateful I was that I went into it with some level of fitness. So how to we ‘stay active during pregnancy’? Here are some of my favourite ways:
- Walking- walking is great; you can do it at all stages of your pregnancy and is actually encouraged right at the very end when you are trying to get that baby out of you!
- Yoga- yoga is not only an awesome workout but it’s also a great way to s l o w d o w n! If you’ve been doing yoga for a while you might feel comfortable to continue on with your regular practice making modifications here and there, otherwise there are great pre natal classes to support you if you are just getting started or find that you can’t keep up like you used to.
- Pilates- with my first pregnancy I did heaps of pre natal reformer Pilates. Most studios are happy for you to attend regular classes until about 16 weeks and then recommend you transition into pre natal. Due to the heavy emphasis on core in Pilates, it’s best to go to a studio run by physios and utilize all of their knowledge and experience. Pilates is also a great option if you have any kind of Pelvic Girdle Pain or instability and also to strengthen those important Pelvic Floor Muscles.
- Group Fitness classes- these are what I love. Think aerobics, body step, body pump, spin, zumba etc. The tricky thing with group fitness is that some instructors aren’t that keen to have a pregnant participant as they often see you as a bit of a risk. If you have regularly participated in these classes and feel confident making modifications or your instructor is helpful then I’d say keep going with them until you’re not comfortable anymore. If you haven’t done much before pregnancy but love the sound of these types of classes, you can try a specific program like Preggi Bellies to still get that group atmosphere but at a lower intensity.
My last two tips are, to make sure you incorporate both weights and cardio into your routine, trust me, you’ll be using your muscles a whole lot during labour, and secondly make sure you are wearing great quality workout clothes and shoes. I’ve definitely had a few frumpy days when I’ve grabbed one of my husbands cotton t-shirts and thrown it on over leggings but really that just made me feel worse. There are so many great options available today that you can look and feel great while working out and wear clothes that support you getting a good sweat on. Here are some of my favourites below.
(Pants- Pea in a Pod Maternity, Tank- Giaan by Spalding for Target, Waterbottle- lululemon, Sweating for Two Tank- Pregfit, Cropped Leggings- ASOS maternity, Fitbit, Shoes- Nike, Bra- lululemon, Long Sleeve Top- lululemon, Grey T-shirt- Blossom and Glow, Shoes- New Balance)
Note- Some of these items are not specifically maternity but I know work well due to the large amount of stretch present or the loose fit. You may need to go up a size in some items. I can speak from experience that lululemon clothing stretches with you during pregnancy and then comes back down with you as well!