The STAY FIT 305 community shows us every day that our bodies are capable of just about anything. But, one of the most amazing and beautiful things our bodies were built to do is give life. This can be the biggest and most impactful physical and mental change a woman will go through.
Often, the thought of exercising while pregnant is met with trepidation and intimidation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Always consult with a physician when it comes to your pre-and post-natal care, but one general rule to live by: you are still capable of doing what you did before you were pregnant, but as always, do it with care and be aware of your body.
Pilates is an especially great practice for pregnant women to become hyper-aware of their body and breath connection, along with strengthening muscles that aid in the birthing process.
Amanda Christodoulou, founder of Pilates Body at Anatomy, debunks a few prenatal fitness myths about exercising while pregnant and shares a few best practices to maintaining your body (and soul) for a healthy baby and beautiful pregnancy.
Lay on Your Back
After a certain point in pregnancy, it will become uncomfortable to lay flat on your back. The main risk associated with lying on your back is the weight of the baby pressing on the vagus nerve, potentially resulting in the baby not being able to breathe, but – neither would mom. If the nerve is compressed, you’d be gasping for air. So go ahead and enjoy your favorite stretches and exercises on your back.
Pilates exercises like the Hundred help connect the mind and body to moving with the breath, Double Leg Stretch strengthens the upper back, hamstrings, and glutes (did you know, all those muscles are part of your “core?”) or exercises on the Reformer like Pelvic Lift, Frog Legs, and Circles, all help stretch the hips and strengthen the pelvis.
Enjoy Prone Position (on your belly) and Spinal Extension
Just like your back, there will come a point where you aren’t comfortable on your belly. And again, until then, do it – a lot. Pilates exercises like Swan, Swimming and Pulling Straps all strengthen our core back muscles and aid in spinal extension. We are already dominant in the front of our bodies, so the rapid weight gain, often caused by pregnancy and its position. can do a number on the lower back. Don’t be afraid to be on the belly in the beginning.
Remember, that your baby is nice and cushioned in there, and there will come a point that it’s no longer comfortable, so enjoy it while you can, because you will miss it.
Remember, you are Not Fragile
Yes, pregnancy is a delicate, special miracle that was women get to experience. But this does not make us fragile. In fact, you are even more capable of getting a good workout in when doing less (um, how long have we been waiting to hear that?!).
This is because it won’t take as much to get your heart rate up, in a healthy working zone. Don’t be afraid when it does. Consider wearing a heart-rate monitor on the wrist, and again, consult with a physician on your optimal heart-rate levels.
Listen to Your Body
You can still lift weights, run, dance, do inversions, push sleds and do whatever else made your pre-pregnancy fit body happy. If an exercise isn’t right for you, you’ll know right away. Listen to what your body is telling you. Keep in mind, it can be challenging to workout with all extra weight on your body that you’re not used to.
Let’s Talk Cravings
Nutrition is a challenging topic during pregnancy, even for the mama with the best intentions. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t require that much more food in your diet. So while you’re not necessarily “eating for two,” you are making choices for two.
Pregnancy is not an excuse to fill your body with sugar and chemicals. It is important to look at the ingredients in everything you consume. Your amazing and smart body will use the placenta as a barrier to protect your baby from toxins, but guess what – you still absorb them, and that will only make you feel worse. The baby will get all of the good stuff and you will be left to process the remainder.