You’re pregnant. Congratulations! Now Keep moving.
As an expectant mother you want to be as healthy and strong as you can be to prepare for your birth. It’s not called labour for nothing.
That said, there are going to be days, particularly during the first trimester, when you feel so exhausted that even the sheer effort of lifting your hairbrush could reduce you to a puddle of tears.
“In the first trimester, the metabolic changes alone are tantamount to running a couple marathons.”
The adaptations that your body goes through during the first trimester are phenomenal. Your metabolic changes alone are tantamount to running a couple marathons and the rise in the hormone relaxin will soften connective tissue to prepare you for birth. It’s side effect, morning sickness, can be debilitating. Then you can pour in exhaustion and an ocean of emotion and it’s hardly surprising that exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Here’s the good news. This phase usually doesn’t last.
If you are lucky enough not to spend your mornings with your head in the toilet bowl then it’s business as usual. You’re pregnant! Congrats! Now keep moving. If you are feeling wretched, be nice to yourself. You are doing your best. In the olden days women were put into ‘confinement’. Thankfully science got a voice and research shows us that movement during pregnancy is important for you health and for your developing baby.
“Do you feel okay? Then carry on as normal.”
Your body is used to moving, listen to it. Learn to trust yourself. Adapt your exercises as you need to. Pregnancy however is not a time to be pushing your fitness boundaries or take up a new high risk activity like running, rock climbing or cage fighting. Although a good right hook to silence the overzealous ‘advice givers’ could be a very useful skill.
“Typical types of movement and exercise”
- Walking during pregnancy is a perfect exercise. It gets you away from your desk at work or out of the house. As your pregnancy progresses your centre of balance will shift. It’s better to take a couple of short walks, say 15 to 20 minutes, rather than doing it all in one go.
- Strength training will keep your muscles in good condition. Yoga and Pilates are perfect for maintaining your strength during pregnancy. Look out for good pregnancy yoga and Pilates classes. The teachers are specifically trained to deal with and modify your exercises. Not only will you learn how to use your body as it adapts throughout your pregnancy but you’ll find a ready-made support network.
- Aerobic conditioning. Make sure that you stay hydrated and avoid over heating. Modify the intensity as you need to. Keep a high energy snack handy and make sure that you eat something within 20 mins after training.
“Some things to consider.”
In most pregnancies you will experience both physical and psychological gains from regular exercises and movement. If you are expecting multiple births or experience complications then seek advice in this area before commencing or continuing with your exercise.
Do rest when you are feeling fatigued. All the amazing creation and development in your body can result in sudden onsets of exhaustion. Honour them and take that nap!
As with anything, if you are unsure, nervous or confused. Ask an expert.