Guest blogger and personal trainer Kaila Morgante shares her experience and tips on how to stay active during pregnancy and her top 5 tips to keep moving!
I work in the fitness industry, so upon becoming pregnant I was already very active. Our little bundle was a happy surprise and, as an avid runner, I didn’t know when I signed up for a half marathon that fall that I would be 11 weeks along. I said to myself, “I’ll take each day as it comes and go with how I feel.” That’s the motto I followed every single day for 10 months. By the end I had run 6 races with her and she wasn’t even there to see us finish! I am confident that my activities provided me with a great no-symptom pregnancy, a delivery that I was strong enough to handle (40 hours, what?! Pushing is HARD!) and also allowed my daughter the strength she needed to hang on without complications for her long drawn out entry into the world!
Medical Information Overload. I found it very difficult to sort through the data and recommendations to determine what the right level of exercise was for me. The numbers bogged me down and the differing opinions stressed me out. I knew my capabilities but felt that now, all of a sudden, society deemed me incapable of carrying something for myself or traveling at more than a snails’ pace, and for this independent gal, that didn’t sit well (although don’t get me wrong, help was needed and appreciated at times!) So, after much thought here’s where I ended up and what I firmly believe; we have lived in these bodies our entire lives and know them better than anyone else. It’s up to us. We have to self-monitor and know when too much is too much. I’m not going to say it was comfortable every single day, and if it wasn’t, I toned it down or stopped. But, we are women… we have an internal alarm for our loved ones, I trusted myself and so should you.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. I got a lot of sideways glances and I can’t tell you how many times people commented that I was crazy or endangering my child for running and lifting weights while pregnant. But, because of the mixed information out there, who can blame them? They’ve formed their own opinions and that’s ok. I took it upon myself to educate instead of being offended because, here’s the thing; each case is different. When you see someone who is expecting, you have no idea of their history. Prior to becoming pregnant I had trained in various fitness genres nearly every day and ran 4+ times per week. My body was used to that, so with the gradual changes of pregnancy, it adapted and was fine. This may or may not be the case for all!
So, is keeping to your gym schedule for everyone? According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Healthy pregnant women need at least 2½ hours of exercise each week. This is about 30 minutes a day.” Here’s the bottom line, working out while pregnant helps control your weight gain, find more energy (believe it or not!), prevent preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, eases symptoms and discomfort while also providing more oxygenated blood to your child and, research has shown, boosting the babies brain function. Those are just a few of the multitude of benefits!! That makes some level of activity a necessity in my book! Bonus: After delivery you’re return back to your pre-pregnancy self is significantly easier!
Now, how did I do it each day? Here are the top 5 reasons I was able to stick it out…
1. Morning Workouts – sorry night owls… by the end of the day your body has been carrying around a small
bowling ball and it’s TIRED! Schedule your workouts first thing in the morning. You’ve been lying down and gravity hasn’t had a chance to set in yet!
2. A Support Belt – There’s absolutely no way I would’ve kept going without it. They sell them everywhere but I got a nice heavy duty one and wore it anytime I ran or did any type of cardio. It was a miracle worker. Strap that puppy on and go!
3. AQUA!! – Can I tell you about the friendship I made with the pool by 9 months?! I’m not an super skilled swimmer, so running in the water provided not only a great workout but allowed for no impact and (thank god!) no gravity! Literally for 15 minutes after I was done I could almost close my eyes and not feel the weight pressing on my pelvis! Don’t be intimidated, get in the pool! It’s one of the most effective full body workouts you can do!
4. Take it Down a Notch –Allow yourself that mental free pass. Every time I would go out for a run, or into a class or the weight room I’d say, “I’ll just take it slow today and do what I can.” Your goal at this point isn’t to get your heart rate to its max or to burn mega calories. Your goal is to keep moving and work your muscles to stay strong, but not quite get after it like you used to. Trust me you’ll enjoy those workouts more if you don’t put that pressure on yourself to perform and, it’ll help you accomplish the toughest thing in fitness… getting out the door.
5. Enlist Positive Cheerleaders – surround yourself with people that understand you aren’t “injured.” Those who give you the right amount of help when you need it and let you do your thing when you don’t. Having people around you like this make those “haters” just a blip in the radar. For the number of folks I had criticizing me, there were two more praising me and making me feel great. That in itself is all we need during our pregnancy, whether we’re talking about fitness or not! My husband and I communicated a lot about my activity level. Ultimately, he concluded that he trusted me to know my body and my limits and cheered me on all the way to the delivery room!
Of course, consult with your doctor so that you’re informed of any underlying conditions that may prevent you
from exercising. With their clearance, you’re good to go. Also, make sure you’re not starting a new regiment but simply continuing the one you have. If you don’t have something in place at all, walking is the most fantastic and safe way to start!
So, the moral of this story is; don’t be afraid to keep active and do what you love! Remember, trust yourself don’t stress yourself. If at any point your routine becomes too much, ease back. Be gentle with your body but don’t assume it’s fragile and/or broken. It knows what to do, it was made for this. It’s strong enough to produce a human being and that in itself is tougher than any workout you’ve ever done!
Kaila Morgante is a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, running coach and owner of FitSimple Training and Wellness. FitSimple is an online based training company that offers customizable and affordable programs at the ultimate convenience. A unique and fresh approach to fitness, FitSimple’s application and virtual training will keep you engaged and help you finally stick with your exercise routine so you can achieve the results you’re looking for! Sign up for a FREE 15 minute one on one training session, join one of our group classes or inquire about how our app or programs can work for you today!