One of the biggest myths that drive me crazy is that you cannot start exercising during pregnancy if you haven’t been active before. YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN START EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY! Should you start training for a marathon if you’ve never run before? Well, obviously not. Should you start incorporating activity into your daily routine to benefit both you and your baby? YES! As long as you have the green light to exercise from your doctor, you can start exercising throughout any stage of your pregnancy!
The question is where/how to start! Even though I am a certified personal trainer, certified women’s fitness specialist, and certified pre/postnatal exercise specialist, EVERY pregnancy is different, and I’m not working with you individually. Make sure you always run everything by your own doctor first. With that, below are some recommendations I have if you want to have an active pregnancy, but are starting from square one!
First of all, good for you!! Starting to consistently exercise is hard enough as it is, but doing it while pregnant is amazing! Second, not only does exercising during pregnancy minimize the aches and pains that come with it, it also minimizes fatigue, the chances of developing gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, emergency c-sections, and medical interventions during labour. It can improve delivery and how your body recovers postpartum. It also increases blood flow to the baby, increasing the nutrients they receive. It has been shown to improve babies brain function, and reduce the amount of stress they are under during delivery.
In general, it is recommended to get in 150 minutes of activity a week - this can be broken up into increments! A standard approach is 30 minutes of exercise, 5x a week. If you are new to exercise, and you aren’t quite comfortable with exercising 5x a week, start slow! If 30 minutes, 3x a week is more manageable for you, then great! You simply have to start somewhere, and work you way up. You can actually get stronger during pregnancy (even though you may have to modify towards the end). Maybe even set a goal of exercising 3x a week for 15 minutes!
Here are some great exercises I’d recommend starting out with! A good rule of thumb (this applies to EVERYONE, beginner or not) is to always do an exercise without weights first. You should be able to do any exercise with perfect form, before incorporating adding weight. You will get muuuch more out of the exercise doing it un-weighted, than doing an exercise with poor form.
Exercise should never feel painful or uncomfortable. If it does, you need to stop and modify. Try adjusting the range of motion (not going so far down with your squats, lunges, etc.) to see if that helps. If modifying does not help, then do not continue.
Walking - this is so simple, yet amazing for pregnant women and their pelvic floors!
Stability ball bicep curls
Reverse lunge - if needed, bring your back leg closer to your front leg to reduce the range of motion
Hip rolls - EVERY pregnant woman should do these
Stability ball overhead press
Pelvic tilts (standing up option HERE if laying down is uncomfortable) - EVERY pregnant woman should do these too!