Since announcing that we are expecting I have gotten a lot of questions and comments about my fitness routine. So, I wanted to share what I have been and am currently doing at 26 weeks and talk about why working out while pregnant, for me personally, is more important than ever.
Normal routine – give or take depending on work and other scheduling conflicts
- Monday: Spin + yoga class (30 minutes of each)
- Tuesday: Yoga sculpt class (60 minutes) or spin + yoga class again
- Wednesday: Spin + circuit class (core, balance and barre type work; 30 minutes of each)
- Thursday and Friday: Depends, but usually spin + yoga again one of the days but not both
- Saturday: Kettle bells + barre class (60 minutes)
The instructors at my gym are knowledgeable about what is and is not safe as my pregnancy progresses. A few of the female teachers also have little ones themselves and have shared their personal experiences with me. I have also asked my doctor a lot of questions and done a ton of research on my own. Because I was working out regularly before I got pregnant my doctor did not think it was necessary for me to wear a heart monitor. She said that as long as I felt okay and never got completely out of breath, my body was used to the pace.
And at the end of the day, I listen to my body. If a move doesn’t feel right I don’t do it. When I need to take a water break I do and catch up with the class when I’m ready, and when I need a day off altogether I take it without hesitation (well, that last part about having “no hesitation” is a lie but I do take it off).
- Cut out handstands and inversions completely once I found out I was pregnant
- Avoid any position that has me lying flat on my back (started at 20 weeks) or on my belly (started around 16 weeks)
- Lowered which weights I use in most classes, or switch back and forth between a lighter and heavier set depending on the exercise and exertion level
- Avoid all heated classes and will likely switch to morning classes, when the gym is the coolest, as the temperatures heat up in May and June
- Avoid all deep twists in yoga
- Move from a chaturanga pushup back to plank position instead of into upward facing dog (started around 16 weeks when upward dog became uncomfortable)
- Use yoga blocks in some poses, such as pyramid, as it gets harder to bend all the way over
- Eat a protein-rich snack before every class (e.g., Greek yogurt, Larabar, apple and peanut or almond butter)
What working out, especially pregnant, does for me
- Relieves my stress after work or puts me in the best frame of mind for the day ahead
- Helps me sleep
- Keeps me limber and stretched, a god send as my hips and lower back have rebelled against sleeping on my left side starting at about 18 weeks
- Helped/s me deal emotionally with the changes my body is going through (and the numbers I see on the scale at each doctor visit). I know that I am taking care of little sprout and myself
- Keeps me strong, which I am told will help me during labor. I used to say “white dress, white dress” to myself during grueling workouts pre-wedding. Now I close my eyes and think, “labor, labor labor,” when the going gets tough in a class
- Keeps what I have worked so hard for, fitness-wise, within reach for after the pregnancy. Aside from my random decision to run a marathon in 2007, I have never stuck with a workout routine until two years ago and I am determined to keep fitness, in whatever form it looks like once sprout arrives, in my life
I realize that I am very lucky to still be feeling as strong as I do. Many women are forced to take it easy for the safety of their baby and I have tremendous respect for whatever is needed and feels best for your body.
But if I can offer any unsolicited advice for friends and readers who are not yet pregnant but may be one day, do yourself a favor and establish some sort of workout routine now. It is much easier to maintain your stamina and motivation if fitness is already part of your life.
A yoga/spin/sculpt teacher that I adore recently had a baby, but last year I’ll never forget what she told me when I said I wanted to have a baby one day. She said, “train to be pregnant now, before you are even pregnant. Work hard now and you will be grateful when the time comes.” She could not have been be more right.
I have no idea what months seven through nine will hold for me and I realize that at one point, not slowing down will not be an option. As the basketball protruding from my front side turns into a watermelon I look forward to trying some prenatal yoga classes and on potentially more days than not, giving myself a break entirely.
I’d love to hear what you think about working out during pregnancy. I really enjoy learning from others who have paved the way before me!