Although studies disprove the old wives’ tale, many women still fear working out when pregnant or even when trying to become pregnant. Instantly, we start that #momlife and put our health second. It’s easy to do; after all, no one wants to put their baby at risk and we immediately feel fragile because we’re either puking our insides out or exhausted 24/7…and who wants to work out when feeling like that?
The low down is that exercise and good nutrition during pregnancy can actually decrease some of those awful pregnancy symptoms. Okay, maybe not throwing up or food aversions, but symptoms like back pain, muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue.
So, if you are afraid of working out pregnant or while trying to conceive, don’t be.
Studies have shown how working out during pregnancy can help you stay healthy, decrease pregnancy discomforts, and help you to sleep better. Plus, exercise helps to lower stress and anxiety. Recently, I sat down with Erin Adamson (CPT specializing in Women’s Pregnancy) from Gold’s Gym to answer all sorts of questions about her top tricks and tips.
Best Exercises for Pregnancy
- Low impact cardio (walking, stationary bike, elliptical, stair master)
- Resistance training
All of the exercises listed are low impact. Erin says to have a goal of 30 minutes of moderate exercise when planning your workout. You should be able to talk while working out, but warning signs of overdoing it include feeling out of breath, faint or dizzy.
Erin also mentioned the lower back should be a primary focus of pregnant moms. She explained how your core and balance will be shifting throughout pregnancy because your body’s changing constantly to accommodate your growing baby. Not only will lower back exercises help with balance, but also lower back pain. She said it is crucial to focus on your posture inside and outside of the gym. Key exercises: dead lifts, squats, lunges, and lower bridges (before week 20).
Let’s be honest; pregnancy and good nutrition is HARD. Some days, pregnancy causes whiffs or thoughts of food to make us barf and on other days we are literally starving…every…second. It’s a balance that’s so difficult to have control over.
Erin had great tips and truth bombs for all us mamas to be. Like, you’re really only supposed to add an extra 300 calories per day to your diet when pregnant. She suggests that the extra calories be protein to help stabilize hunger, not junk food that won’t fill you up and only add extra weight to your hips, while intensifying your cravings. So, eat your protein first and if you’re still craving ‘xyz’ you’re more likely to eat a healthy portion and not the whole container.
Erin also stressed the importance of eating carbs — the good ones — like fruits and vegetables, and not to forget your whole grains. She explained carbohydrates give you the energy your body needs, as well as the fiber it needs to do you-know-what and avoid hemorrhoids. Along with the latter, make sure to drink plenty of water. See here for more info. Properly hydrating your body will decrease headaches and muscle cramps, which are signs your body is dehydrated.
- Have a workout buddy! Whether it’s a friend that tags along to the gym or someone you text, keep yourself accountable. Plus, working out with a friend always makes the workout go by faster, right?
- Join a workout class like a gentle yoga or a water aerobics class (both offered at Gold’s Gym).
- Don’t stress about working out! Stress can make you sick, mentally and physically. And on top of everything else your body is undergoing, you don’t have time for that. If you feel your workout is too intense, simply change your pace to one of the lower impact workout suggestions above.
- It’s never too late to start working out when pregnant. Just take it your own pace! Remember, low impact is key and if you can’t talk while working out, or feel faint and dizzy, stop immediately.
- Be safe while working out. Remember to avoid certain exercises during pregnancy (scuba diving, contact sport, or lying on your back after 20 weeks).
- If you are struggling with proper nutrition, schedule an appointment with a nutritionist, and don’t forget to take your prenatal daily!
I’m now pregnant with my second child (woo!). I’ve been sticking with a consistent workout routine for over a year now. Honestly, I can tell a huge difference between my first pregnancy, when I was afraid to work out after becoming pregnant, compared to this pregnancy. It’s been so helpful to have Gold’s Gym guidance and access to the various equipment and classes.