I know; youre pregnant and the LAST thing you want to do is workout. Science and those pregnant workout mommies will tell you though that working out during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Studies conclude that exercising during pregnancy will not limit the amount of nutrients and food your baby receives; your body does a wonderful job of sustaining your babys life while in your womb. Working out benefits you most of all and a healthy mother equals a healthy baby. I know when Ive been pregnant I had good intentions of working out but I also used the pregnancy as a way of rationalizing my desire to not workout. After gaining what I estimate is a total of 90 lbs. during both of my pregnancies I really wish I hadnt rationalized my way out of exercising.
The First Trimester
For the most part anything goes in the first trimester, although I would highly recommend that you steer clear of boxing or any combative type of exercise that may put you at risk of falling or receiving any trauma to your abdominal area. If youve been running continue doing so. If youve been strength training keep it up as the added strength you gain will inevitably help you during the labor and delivery.
If you havent been working out leading up to pregnancy start out with moderate activity (such as walking on a treadmill, walking outside, or doing light weight strength training) ten minutes a time three times a day. Dont let the fear of harming your baby intimidate you from starting an exercise routine. Speak with your doctor or midwife and express your concerns if you have any or if you just want to get the green light.
Meet Laura, 11 weeks pregnant
This is Laura; shes actually my little sister. Lauras pregnant with her first baby due in July. Lauras an exercise enthusiast and getting pregnant hasnt changed that. The first weeks of the first trimester were challenging for her but she was able to continue running one or two times a week and the days where she felt too tired she did workout videos on Hulu Plus from home.
Combine a few upper and lower body exercises to get the most out of your workout. See here, we have Laura doing some bicep curls paired with lunges. Make sure when you lunge that the knee thats in the front does not go past your toes and that youre using your back leg only as a kickstand keep balance. The point of a lunge is to work the quadriceps muscle in your front leg. Keep the weights light unless youve been doing hardcore strength training prior to pregnancy (and in that case again ask your doctor or midwife); use three pounds, five pounds or eight pound weights. Then work on your triceps by doing a few triceps extensions. For these kinds of exercises lets keep it to repetitions of ten or 15 and then do three sets, alternating between the biceps to the triceps.
15 biceps curls with lunges, 3x
10 or 12 triceps extensions, 3x
Walk or run on the treadmill for 10 minutes (beginner with no work out prior to pregnancy) or 30 minutes.
Also, look into prenatal yoga. The benefits of stretching through-out your pregnancy are great such as decreased back pain, better sleep, better strength and endurance during labor and delivery, as well as decreased chances of preterm labor. Check out this article on BabyCenter for more benefits of doing prenatal yoga.
Are you currently pregnant? Will you be working out or have you already been working out?
Leela Rao Date 2/4/2013
I would just like to say that I am due next week (yeah!) and have only slightly changed my workout routine from before I was pregnant. For the first trimester, nothing changed. Five days a week I either did spinning class for an hour, swimming for a mile, or a combo of weight training and cardio for an hour. In the second trimester the only thing I modified was the weight training, lightening up on the weights a bit and no longer doing bench presses. Now in the third trimester I've dropped t