Being that I am currently in my third trimester of my third pregnancy, I thought fitting to start off my fitness section of my blog with some really good reasons that none complicated pregnant women should workout. I’m in a really interesting place to make these remarks because I work in the hospital on a LD floor and do lots of post-partum care but also because I am a high risk pregnancy. My first son was born at 33 weeks due a number of complications and recovery took so very very long. My second son was also an induction due to a few of these factors but we made it to 37 weeks (no NICU!!). We thought we were done but we are unexpectedly blessed by a beautiful baby girl due in February. I will write more in depth about this at another time but because I’ve been on both the medical side and the mom side, let me offer some reasons to stay fit during your pregnancy!
With my first son, I did some running and very light weights until around 20 weeks when I started getting a bit achy and then just completely gave up on exercise all together. I craved a lot of extremely unhealthy foods and gave in to every little whim. I ate a lot of chicken wings (This was pre vegan days)
Here is me, the day I found out I was pregnant with my first, fit and trim!
Here I am again at 26 weeks. Big change.
I know…still gorgeous but not healthy at all. All in all, with my complications and giving birth at 33 weeks, I gained 90lbs. But not in a healthy way. Believe me, I know there are pregnant women out there who need to gain a good amount of weight for their bodies to best care for their babies. Im not one of them. It took me the better part of 2 years to work it off.
My second baby I gained about 40lbs, kept fit and active during the pregnancy even up to the day before I gave birth and it was a completely different story.
Here I am at 16 weeks, reasonably fit healthy and happily pregnant.
Here again at 37 weeks, the morning of my induction
Still running, lifting and doing pilates until that very day.
So many differences but one of the main things was my fitness and diet. I absolutely fell in love with lifting heavy sometime after Asher was born and continue it today.
Now that you know where I come from, let me tell you my reasons both a medical professional and a mom.
Top Ten Reasons to Workout in Pregnancy
- Energy!! I know it seems counterproductive to expend energy to get energy but I promise it helps! Even with that first trimester tiredness. I couldn’t stand the tiredness. If you know me at all, I’m a getter done type person with incredible drive to do 5000 tasks in a day. Shifting my focus from “this will make me more tired” to “this will be the best thing I can do for my baby and my energy in the next 30 minutes” really helped.
- Faster Recovery Time Yes, its very very true. Not just to “get that pre baby body back” (no such thing) but also recovery in physical and some mental states. Your body will be used to recovering from workouts and walks/runs and continues down that track. Im not even talking about losing weight but having a baby takes a serious toll on your body and working out during pregnancy helps your body to return to its normal functioning.
- Less Chance of Cesarean I’ve talked with people who think that moms who have c sections take the easy way out. This is so not true! Both ways of delivering a baby come with their own pain and each their own difficulties. It takes much longer to recover from a C section as well as we sometimes forget, because its so common, the a c section is a surgery! Its rough on the body in its own ways and Id never tell a mom that she took the easy way out! Please don’t you do it either.
- Preventing excessive weight gain- This one is obviously in everyone’s list but lets not forget that you cannot out work a bad diet. Also there is so much emphasis on weight with moms that we sometimes forget that there is healthy weight gain for pregnancy even in previously obese moms. Im not going to put a lot of emphasis on this point because everyone else…mothers, aunts, friends, strangers on the street…will.
- Less aches and pains during pregnancy- Yes even though you may have some muscle soreness, its nothing compared to sciatica pain or joint pain that could have been avoided…Im speaking from experience here.
- Shorter Labour- A recent article which I shall post a link to in the other links section of the website stated that moms who workout during pregnancy have almost 1/3 shorter labours than moms who don’t. Who really wants an extra 2 hours of labour anyway!
- Post Partum Depression- This is a big topic that hits close to home as I went quite depressed after my first son was born. Again another post for another time but this has been shown in numerous journals and articles and its huge. I’ll post more links to my research as soon as I can gather everything. My second son, no depression at all. While there were a few other factors that will have contributed to this result, working out was totally a huge part.
- Benefits the baby- Many studies have shown that moms who give the gift of prenatal exercise for their babies, may make them smarter, more heart healthy and absolutely help with childhood obesity. You set them up for a successful future and who doesn’t want that for their baby?
- Clears Your Head- Ok so this is mostly my own findings between my children. I get bad baby brain where things are foggy, words don’t come out right and I put cereal in the fridge. But working out helps to clear up a bit of this fog and helps me to start thinking back on track. Its certainly not a cure all for baby brain but Ive found that it helps.
- Haters gonna hate, give them a good reason. This sounds silly but I get strangers commenting all the time on my belly. Seriously its almost like as soon as it pops out, it gives everyone a license to comment on not normally socially acceptable things to comment on such as weight, “are you sure there isn’t two in there?” and other super fun commentaries. Working out, you still get comments but I find they have a nice balance with such lovely things as “That’s amazing, I could have never done that while I was pregnant!” Again, people are still going to say stupid rude things but its nice to have those compliments mixed in there.
So there is my list. Stay tuned for my workouts, workout calendars and things I eat during pregnancy. Its a beautiful time. Love your body for its amazing abilities!