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Exercise and Pregnancy

Women have been having babies since the beginning of time, and yet it is still amazes us and raises questions - questions like, "Should you really be doing that while you’re pregnant?" Some things, probably not! While exercise was in the “probably not” category in the not too distant past, the medical community is now advocating for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week for pregnant women with no contraindications.


Though everyone is pretty much agreed on WHY exercise is important during pregnancy, it’s the HOW that can be overwhelming! For new and even established exercisers there can be confusion, unawareness and even fear surrounding how to work out while pregnant...not to mention questions about logistics! How am I supposed to touch my toes when I can’t even see them? What and how should I modify to keep myself and baby safe? How will I ever find the motivation to get to the gym when I can barely get out of bed? There has been a wave of pregnant instructors and clients at Raw Power (don’t drink the water!), so we thought we would speak with both an instructor and client to get some real-life insight from moms keeping themselves strong during pregnancy. As with anything, ALWAYS contact your physician first!


Did you maintain the same exercise routine during pregnancy as you did prior to finding out you were expecting? If not, how was it different?

JAMIE: I maintained my same routine through my pregnancy meaning I ran (at the end walked) three days a week and did weight training, Pilates or yoga at least three other days. I had to modify certain moves, but I literally did barbell with Bree the morning I was induced at almost full weight. I just tried to maintain the same strength as I went through the pregnancy.  


How did your workouts change over the course of pregnancy – a workout at two months is much different from a workout at eight months!

DIANA - Although I maintained the same routine, you are correct - workouts definitely change as your baby bump grows! I am fortunate that I did not have any complications or high risks throughout my pregnancy, so my strength training routine stayed pretty consistent. Squats became a little bit more difficult (that belly can get in the way!), but my motto through it all was to just keep moving. Even if I moved at a slower pace, I knew that was better than not moving at all. I am a runner, so as I got further into my pregnancy, I backed off on pace and focused more on my breath and the motion of running. Eventually I ended up walking more than running.  I knew that keeping up with my routine would help tremendously after pregnancy and delivery.


What was the biggest challenge you faced to staying active during pregnancy?

DIANA - Fatigue! I remember being so tired with my first, and now that I'm pregnant with my second that tired feeling has intensified. Chasing around a toddler while pregnant really does wear you out!


What kept you motivated?

JAMIE - I've always enjoyed working out. It was like a personal challenge to see how much I could do for how long. I also was told countless times how much it would help in labor and recovery. I have no basis for personal comparison but labor was not a big deal and weight came off very fast for me.  

DIANA - Knowing how much an active lifestyle would help me during labor, delivery, and beyond helped me on those rough days when I didn't want to workout. I want to stay healthy for my children, and I want to show them the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle as they grow older.  There is no better way to teach that than by living by example. I hope to show them how much better life can be when you are active and healthy.


Any advice for pregnant moms looking to get or stay active?

JAMIE - Just try things. Don't rule anything out unless told by your doctor. You will be surprised what you can do!! Every little bit counts too. When I could no longer run, around 32 weeks, I started briskly walking 4-5 miles. Sometimes it was broken up throughout the day but I tried to get it in. Even though I wasn't running it still challenged me and helped minimize weight gain.


DIANA - I think the best advice I could give someone is to just keep moving. It doesn't matter if you're walking instead of running, or using lighter dumbbells than you did prior to being pregnant.  The key to long term success is to stay active. I did A LOT of walking toward the end of my pregnancy and I truly believe it helped me more than I even know.


No matter what stage of pregnancy, post-partum recovery or life you are in, get moving and come see us! We are here to help and encourage you to stay active - safely! - through pregnancy and beyond.

Written by Katherine Hubbard