As more and more women are sharing their pregnancy journeys on social media, there’s this extreme pressure to bounce back almost the moment you conceive, let alone give birth. Over the past few years, there’s been a ton of conflicting evidence surrounding working out during pregnancy. While some fear physical activity entirely, others suggest exercising is an integral part of a healthy pregnancy.
Let’s dive into 3 things to keep in mind while exercising while being pregnant!
- Every Pregnancy is Unique – Just like you
While many women share their dos and don’ts, the fact of the matter is that creating, carrying, and giving birth to a child is entirely unique to the woman experiencing it. This is an important fact to keep in mind when considering your options during pregnancy because what you can and can’t do is heavily shaped by the trajectory of how your journey, in particular, is going. For example, some evidence suggests that exercise training during pregnancy can be beneficial, though data is a lot more inconclusive to women suffering from preeclampsia. So before considering which course of action to choose, make sure you consult your doctor and get an expert opinion specialized to your individual pregnancy and state of health.
General rule of Thumb: If you were working out consistently prior to getting pregnant, it’s fair to say that you can moderately continue a variation of that same regimen. If you weren’t working out at all before conceiving, now really isn’t the time to become an Olympic athlete LOL! Essentially, try to follow your intuition of what feels right and what comes natural to your body and experience.
- Carrying and Delivering a Tiny Human Requires Fuel
Regardless of how much you choose to exercise, a little, a lot, or not at all, it’s important to feed yourself the nutrients you need to have a safe and comfortable pregnancy. Make sure to hydrate with plenty of water and work in as many holistic nutrients as possible. During this time, your body yearns extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you’d need otherwise. Studies show that a lack in nutrients can actually impacts the baby’s development negatively. Now, this doesn’t mean ignore all of your body’s natural cravings but to work in necessary whole, real food into your prenatal diet. Your baby is counting on you!
- What are your feelings telling you? Stop, drop, and listen!
With the hormones and emotions that come with pregnancy along with physical fatigue and worry, it’s very easy to feel under the weather. Especially if you’re not completely over the moon about being pregnant to begin with! Some friendly advice: if you’re feeling anxious or down in a way that isn’t regular to the way you’d normally be feeling, consult your OB – they’re here to make sure you have the most comfortable pregnancy possible and they have access to so many resources that could help you. Some hospitals in the US have prenatal support groups where women come together to chat and talk through their journeys, while others refer women to relaxing yoga classes or monthly massages. Whatever it is that helps you de-stress and unwind, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your body is working day and night, girl, it’s okay to be stressed! Whatever it is you’re feeling, it’s okay. React appropriately to try and enjoy this time as much as possible. Overall, try to remember that this a transformative experience by nature and you’ll feel new things almost every day or not at all. Take a second every day to tune into how you’re doing and listen to your body.
If deciding to exercise, start slowly and intuitively. Drink LOTS of water! Do what you can to have a nourished and fulfilling pregnancy within your bounds of what is and isn’t comfortable. Comparison is a thief of joy – avoid comparing your journey with other women’s especially on social media! The pressure can be insurmountable and you’re probably feeling enough as it is, considering your growing a baby and all!
Written by: Erika Garcia