Did You Know?
Physical activity during pregnancy can decrease pregnancy ailments, improve overall fitness and even have a positive impact on delivery.
Welcome! Today we are going to go over some helpful tips on how to reap the benefits of movement during pregnancy.
#1. Find a Fitness Instructor Who is Certified in Prenatal Fitness
At such an important time of life, when you are growing another human, it’s essential that you receive proper instruction from someone who understands the benefits and risks of various prenatal exercises.
This doesn’t mean you need to hire a personal trainer - although that can also be a great option, especially if you are looking for more focused attention and training in your workouts.
Depending on your schedule and preferences, you have several different options for finding someone who is certified in prenatal fitness.
If you find yourself short on time, being able to exercise from home can be a game-changer!
Working out from home can consist of workout videos through larger programs, such as:
- The Sweat App
- Every Mother App
- Barre Blend Pre and Postnatal with Elise Joan
You can also go the local route and find a gym or trainer who is running classes online, either prerecorded or live.
If you are in the Edmonton area, some great options are:
A really great advantage to these types of workouts is the care and attention you’ll receive from the trainers.
Another thing I found very motivating and encouraging in these types of at-home workouts was having other women participating in the workout via zoom.
Seeing their hard work, dedication and enjoyment of movement was really inspiring for me!
Another option for getting moving during your pregnancy is to join a local gym or fitness studio that has a prenatal fitness program.
Once again, just make sure you are double-checking their credentials and asking questions about their experience and education in prenatal fitness.
A great benefit of doing pregnancy exercise programs in a local gym or fitness studio is the community.
You will get to enjoy the benefits of movement alongside other like-minded moms, encouraging each other in your prenatal fitness journey.
Along those lines, that brings us to our second tip for an active pregnancy…
#2. Seek Out Encouragement in Your Prenatal Fitness Journey
Some of us may typically require little to no support in order to be motivated in our prenatal fitness journey.
While others of us could care less about movement if it doesn’t involve other people.
Regardless of which side of the spectrum you find yourself on, having support and encouragement through community can be key to stay on track with exercise during pregnancy!
Sometimes you will feel tired, unmotivated or nauseous, and it’s incredibly helpful to have others around you that can lift you up and motivate you when you’re just not feeling it.
This can be as simple as finding another mom who is also pregnant.
Together you can motivate each other, talk about how movement is benefiting you and encourage each other with every step you take.
You could join an online community through the prenatal workout program you are doing, or another support group.
Perhaps you find it motivating to see others’ journeys and watch as a bystander.
If this is the case for you, following someone on social media who inspires you with their prenatal fitness journey may be helpful.
*Just be cautious with this one to not compare. Your journey is your own and cannot be compared to anyone else’s!
#3. Listen to Your Body and Be Kind to Yourself
It’s good to be motivated to move throughout pregnancy, but it’s equally (or more) important to allow your body to rest.
Listening to your body and allowing yourself to rest can be more challenging for some than motivating yourself to work out.
But rest is SO important!
If you are feeling rundown and exhausted, your body is trying to tell you something.
LISTEN to your body!
Take the time you need to rest and, if you are finding your current workouts to be too much, slow things down and take a more gradual approach to your prenatal fitness routine.
Your trainer should be able to help with this as well. If you are feeling overly tired or sore, make sure you talk to them so you can find a healthy balance.
#4. Get a Supportive Maternity Sports Bra
Having a supportive sports bra during pregnancy will help prevent back and chest pain by keeping your growing gals where they belong!
If you plan to exercise during pregnancy, having a sports bra that you find comfortable and supportive is key.
Here’s what to look for in a Maternity Sports Bra:
- It’s supportive - your maternity sports bra should have a taller under bust band and a proper, snug fit around your rib cage (this helps to prevent the band from riding up your back - a sign that you aren’t wearing the correct size).
- It’s breathable - it should be made from a material that allows your skin to breathe and keep you cool. E.g. Nylon/spandex or polyester/spandex blends
- It’s adjustable - as your pregnancy progresses, your breasts will likely grow with you. Having a sports bra that is adjustable (think adjustable shoulder straps and a hook-and-eye closure) will allow you to wear the same sports bra comfortably for a longer period of time - making it a better investment!
- It’s comfortable - a sports bra with soft material and no underwire is the way to go.
- It’s full coverage - as your breasts grow, you may find that you need more support and coverage to feel comfortable and now fall out during workouts (this will be especially true if you are breastfeeding after baby arrives).
- It’s Oeko-tex 100 Certified - this testing ensures that the clothing is free from harmful substances. Especially during pregnancy, you want to make sure you aren’t exposing yourself to health risks.
#5. Eat to Fuel Your Body
You may have heard the term, “eating for two”, in regards to pregnancy, but we know now that, although we will need more calories, we won’t need twice as many while pregnant.
A better approach is to think of the phrase, “eating twice as healthy”.
Instead of thinking about food during pregnancy as restrictive or indulgent, think about food as fuelling your body.
By fuelling your body with healthy, nutritious foods, you will be more likely to have the energy you need to do your prenatal workouts and your day-to-day activities.
Another benefit to fuelling your body with nutrient-dense foods during pregnancy is the benefit to your baby.
What you eat during pregnancy is the main source of nutrients for your baby.
In fact, a nutritious diet during pregnancy has been linked to healthy brain development across the lifespan of your baby.* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6045434/
In pregnancy, many women don’t get enough iron, folate, calcium, protein or vitamin D.
Check out our blog on Nutrition in Pregnancy for more tips on how to get these nutrients.
*Make sure you talk to your doctor about a well-rounded eating plan for pregnancy.
#6. Invest in Good Maternity Workout Leggings
If you plan to squat, lunge, jump and kick (or even just walk and move at all) during your pregnancy, chances are you will need some amazing maternity leggings!
But what exactly should you be looking for in maternity workout leggings? They should:
- Be Breathable and Moisture-wicking - you want to avoid overheating during pregnancy, especially during a prenatal workout. So having breathable maternity leggings is essential.
- Be Comfortable - you want to avoid leggings that roll and chafe and, instead, find maternity leggings that have a good amount of stretch and a buttery soft material.
- Be Supportive - you want to find leggings that will be snug enough (in the right places) to make you feel supported.
- Be Squat-proof - if you ever plan to wear your maternity leggings outside of your house, you want to make sure they are squat-proof! This means they should be made from a heavier material (that is still breathable) to ensure they won’t be see-through.
- Have a Covering Belly Band - near the end of your pregnancy, your baby belly will need a lot of coverage. Make sure you find maternity workout leggings that have a high enough belly band to give you full support and coverage of your baby bump.
- Have a Belly Band That Dips Down in the Back - a lot of maternity workout leggings keep the belly band the same height in the front and the back. As your baby belly grows, the front section sits too low on your belly and the material on your back can bunch up (which is incredibly uncomfortable!). Having a belly band that dips lower in the back helps you avoid this annoying feeling.
- Be Versatile - having maternity leggings that you can wear comfortably to exercise in, but can also wear out of the house makes for a great investment.
- Be Oeko-tex 100 Certified - this testing ensures that the clothing is free from harmful substances. Especially during pregnancy, you want to make sure you aren’t exposing yourself to unnecessary health risks.
#7. Find a Safe Space to Exercise
If you choose to workout at home, make sure you have a safe space to do so.
This means clearing anything off the floor that might pose a tripping hazard, making sure it’s not too hot in the room and ensuring the floor is not slippery or uneven.
#8. Wear Breathable Maternity Workout Tops
As we mentioned, overheating in pregnancy, especially during workouts, can cause problems.
This is why it’s important to invest in breathable maternity workout tops that allow your skin to breathe and keep you cool.
Here are 5 Things to Look For in Your Maternity Workout Tops:
- Breathable - you want to avoid overheating during pregnancy, especially during a prenatal workout. So having breathable maternity workout tops is key.
- Stretchy - as your baby bump grows, you will need your clothing to adapt and grow with you. Look for workout tops that will stretch nicely with you, but also shrink back after the baby arrives. Think nylon/spandex or polyester/spandex blends.
- Oeko-tex 100 Certified - this testing ensures that the clothing is free from harmful substances. Especially during pregnancy, you want to make sure you aren’t exposing yourself to unnecessary health risks.
- Versatile - want to avoid feeling frumpy and grumpy? Invest in some maternity workout tops that make you feel good enough that you would even wear them outside of a workout.
- Nursing-friendly - this one is a bonus! If you plan to breastfeed after your baby arrives, buying maternity workout tops that also double as nursing workout tops can save you both time and money.
#9. Wear Some Good Shoes
Your shoes should be comfortable, have good grip, and not be too worn out.
Depending on what type of prenatal workout you are doing, the surface could be slippery and you don’t want to take a chance on falling.
This is why it’s important to make sure that you have proper footwear.
#10. It Won’t Be Perfect
Recognise that prenatal fitness doesn’t have to be (and won’t be) perfect.
And that’s O.K.!
This is about YOU. Not anyone else.
Someone recently reminded me of the analogy of being in a plane… it’s important that we put on our own “oxygen mask” before anyone else’s.
In other words, first of all take care of yourself so that you can feel better.
By doing this, you will be so much more prepared to take care of others.
Without our own source of “oxygen”, we will dwindle away and not be of much help to anyone else.
So stop telling yourself that making you and your health a priority is selfish.
It’s NOT selfish!
It’s wise to take care of yourself.
#11. Find the Joy in Movement
Instead of making your active pregnancy about a number on the scale, a size of pants or a certain aesthetic of your body, make it about what helps you to feel better.
The benefits of movement are numerous!
During pregnancy, exercise can help you:
- Reduce back pain
- Ease constipation
- Lessen health risks (preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or needing a C-section)
- Gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy
- Improve your overall fitness and strengthen your heart
Don’t worry so much about which activity you choose to do to get moving during pregnancy.
The important thing is, with your healthcare provider’s consent, that you move!
Whether you enjoy dancing, walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, yoga, pilates or strength-training, there is movement you can enjoy.
We hope these tips have given you some insights into how you can enjoy an active pregnancy in 2022.
Until next time,
Kelsey & the Be Active Maternity Team
*Please Note: Contact your healthcare provider before beginning any prenatal fitness program. This blog is not intended as medical advice.