Pregnant and tired? It’s no wonder. While pregnant, your body is in a constant state of low-level exercise, even while you’re at rest. While this information should be considered when choosing the appropriate fitness demands during gestation, it does not mean that you should cease to exercise and eat whatever you want while you’re pregnant. (Sorry to burst your bubble.)
For a long time, pregnancy women were thought of as weak and fragile state. Anyone who knows what labor is should throw the words “weak” and “fragile” out the window for fear of appearing an idiot and being drop-kicked by the nearest mama-bear. In reality, while everyone else is just sitting there, you’re making another human. Walk your badass self outside and throw a truck or something.
Potential benefits of a moderate-intensity fitness regime while pregnant far outweigh the risks, but there is no one-size-fits-all program since each person is at a different level of fitness prior to becoming pregnant.
There is only one major difference between what I ask of a normal client vs a pregnant client. I ask normal clients to push-through pain and give more than their bodies naturally would. Pushing through goes out the window once a client is training for two. You don’t have to scale back drastically, but you should consider what I said at the start about your body being in a constant state of low-level exercise. Put on the brakes at moderate, rather than advanced intensity.
Another consideration is that of your joints. With high relaxin and progesterone levels coursing through your body, your joints are softer, and at greater risk of injury that you might not be aware of until they harden back up postpartum. There are enough exercise options that do not impact your joints that I recommend swapping out plyometrics and running for safer choices. To be clear, I do not draw a hard-line on this since you aren’t going to “shake the baby loose” or some other silly, mythical danger. The issue is that you are carrying more weight on less stable joints.
Speaking of joint stability, a great way to support your joints is to continue resistance training. In addition to supporting your joints, resistance training will keep your lean muscle mass up and help you manage your weight both antepartum and postpartum, and you’ll also need those muscles so you can carry around your bundle of joy. The only concern here is to avoid straining, which goes back to my main piece of advice about not pushing through.
Finally, whether you plan to exercise or not during your pregnancy, I ask that you remain aware of your posture. Extra weight is pulling your body unnaturally and, combined with softer joints, it can lead to discomfort during and after pregnancy. Take care to keep your shoulders back, hold your head high – not forward, and don’t over-arch your back even as your belly works to pull it forward. You’re growing a person. Walk with pride!
Respect your body, listen to your body, and continue to take care of your body as you normally would, and as you hope your child will when it’s up to him/her. It’s no longer only about shaping you. You’re shaping another person, and that person is counting on you. No pressure.