Pregnancy can be rough. It seems each trimester can bring on its own set of problems. My first pregnancy I was very lucky and breezed right through it. The second time around, I was not so fortunate. With all day nausea my first trimester, low blood pressure my second trimester, and terrible back pain and mood swings my third trimester it was a challenge to not just sit on the couch all day and soak in Netflix. We’ve all been there, so how do we stay active during our pregnancy? We know it’s good for our bodies, better for our babies, and helps for an easier labor. So here are my top 10 tips to help, whether you’re already pregnant or planning for the future.
Now that you’re pregnant your body is working overtime. Set realistic goals for yourself. My husband and I had a two-week backpacking trip planned 6 months into my first pregnancy. We had to revise that trip by camping at a campground and going out for short day hikes. In my mind, I thought I could still hike multiple miles but in reality, after several miles, my body was done. By setting unrealistic goals it will only discourage you, which can lead to feeling like giving up altogether.
I’ve heard from multiple women soon as they see that positive pregnancy test fear builds up inside them wanting to protect their womb. Of course, always check with your OB if you have concerns. But for the most part, if you are not a high-risk pregnancy continue the activities you already enjoy. With both pregnancies, I continued to climb at our indoor climbing gym well into my third trimester.
Now, this might seem to contradict but rest is also important to stay active. If we don’t let our body take the breaks it needs we will crash and burn. We can forget to try to stay active, now we’ve put ourselves in a survival mode.
This tip might not work for everyone. Sometimes we can’t predict when the nausea is coming or the side effects of pregnancy are going to hit us. But if you have been more prone to a certain time of day when the nausea hits or your b/p drops plan your activity to avoid those times. Through my second trimester, I had low b/p mainly in the mornings. I tried my best to take my rests in the morning and leave my activity for the afternoon.
We all have cravings and it’s usually not for broccoli and spinach. I’m not saying don’t give into your cravings (trust me I have eaten my share of sweets this time around!). But in between all the junk we want, try to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition. This will only help with your energy level and overall well-being.
If you did not run before you were pregnant now is not the time to become a runner. Choose activities your body is already used too. If you’re thinking, well I didn’t do anything before, just walk. I guarantee whether you realize it or not you were walking before pregnancy.
This especially helps once you’ve reached your third trimester. Now your belly is so big it hurts to even walk, none the less try to keep up with any other sort of activity. The water becomes your best friend. Try some water aerobics. I have even enjoyed kayaking. I get to sit, work my arms out, and jump into the water to cool off.
I can not stress enough. Find a group of moms you can share your pregnancy highs and lows. Remember they have been there too. You’ll be more motivated to go for your morning walks if you get to share that time with other women you can relate with. For me, my MOPS group had an evening yoga class I really enjoyed. It was my time to unwind, relax, and socialize while getting my work out done.
Whether it’s just your husband or you already have kids include the whole family. Plan short hikes on the weekends. Find a river or lake and rent some canoes. When you put it on the calendar you’re more likely to stick with the plans. Plus if the kids are excited you’ll be more willing to go and enjoy the experience.
This is very important. After giving birth to my first daughter I ran a half marathon 4 months later. This motivated me to stay active during my whole pregnancy. I knew once I was cleared 6 weeks after giving birth I would not have much time to train. This time around I have signed up for a 30k trail run. Again I will only have about 12 weeks to train (if she comes on time!). Now I’m not recommending to go sign up for a marathon if you are not used to running. But find a 5k several months after your due date or some other kind of race that will help keep you on track during pregnancy.
*If you are a high-risk pregnancy or your OB has advised you otherwise please listen. Your babies health comes first.