Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, exercise should be a part of your prenatal lifestyle. Exercising while you are pregnant can help alleviate body aches and keep your mood stable as you grapple with pregnancy hormones. Here are a few tips to make that prenatal exercise plan stick.
1. Find a Class
Most of us aren’t motivated enough to work out regularly without accountability. That’s why gym memberships and running clubs abound. Having a class of other people to help make sure you show up is a smart way to get your prenatal workout in regularly.
Prenatal workout plan classes are a good choice because they specialize in the needs of pregnant women. There are exercises that have to be modified or are off-limits while you are pregnant. A class that is designed for pregnant participants will already have guidelines in place to keep you and your baby safe while you exercise.
Classes also offer a chance for you to connect with other pregnant women. It can be hard to find a community once you have a newborn and are recovering from giving birth. Having friends who are in your same stage of life before the baby arrives will make adjusting to the arrival of a newborn easier. Whether you go to a physical class or work out with others virtually, you will have the chance to bond with other women.
2. Enlist Your OB or Midwife
Your OB or midwife will likely recommend working out to you when you first see that positive pregnancy test. Make sure to ask questions about what exercises are allowed for your particular situation. If you were working out before you became pregnant, you may be allowed to carry on with more intense workouts during the first part of your pregnancy. However, you may need to pull back depending on your unique situation.
Low impact workouts that still get your body moving are ideal when you are pregnant. Walking, swimming, and yoga tend to be recommendations that work for most women.
However, if you are a runner and you want to keep running during pregnancy, ask your doctor. She will be able to tell you if that’s a good plan. Know that your workout plan may also change as your pregnancy progresses. While prenatal exercise usually helps you have a healthier pregnancy, situations can arise that keep you from being able to continue a certain workout plan. That’s why it’s important to seek medical guidance and to ask questions.
You can also ask your midwife or OB to hold you accountable for following a prenatal workout plan. Ask your OB to make sure she asks you each time you come in for an appointment how many times you’ve worked out and how it makes you feel. Resists the urge to fib if you haven’t stuck with your workout. Your doctor or midwife can offer tips to help you get back on track if keeping a consistent schedule becomes a challenge.
3. Focus on Your Future Self
There will be days when working out doesn’t feel possible. The early days of morning sickness and the third-trimester exhaustion can easily derail the best of plans. You will need to listen to your body and make sure you are honoring your needs at every stage of pregnancy. However, on days you simply aren’t mentally motivated to work out, think of your future self.
A good prenatal exercise plan can reduce your risk of having a C-section or developing gestational diabetes. Your labor could also be shorter if you work out throughout your pregnancy. These are goals that every pregnant woman has, so it’s wise to remind yourself that something as simple as a daily walk can help you reach them.
If you don’t feel like doing laps in the pool, think about your future in labor. You can even think of post-birth you. Working out during pregnancy may speed up your recovery after the baby arrives. Those same walks that kept you fit while carrying the baby will be easier to incorporate into your daily life when you are strolling with your little one postpartum.
Prenatal exercise is a simple, effective way to boost your physical and emotional health during pregnancy. Choose a plan that works for you and reap the benefits of staying active while pregnant.