During pregnancy your body goes through a huge amount of change. Watching your belly expand with your growing baby is amazing, especially when you start to feel (and later see) your baby wriggling and flexing their muscles.
Along with healthy nutrition and a good level of pre-pregnancy health care, a fit pregnancy plan can help you navigate through the changes of each stage of pregnancy. It may also help to reduce the incidence and symptoms of pregnancy related conditions such preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. A fit pregnancy plan may also be beneficial in helping you through labour and managing the pregnancy blues.
The 1st trimester kicks off with raging hormones while your body is busily creating another human being. For many, it means you may want to slow down or reduce high intensity workouts in favour of a modified program. During the 2nd trimester your energy levels usually return and by the time you reach your 3rd trimester your body will naturally start to slow down again. Common senses applies to each of these stages and its important to listen and respect your body’s changing needs to avoid overdoing it or causing injury. A personal trainer, kinesiologist, yoga teacher or physiotherapist can help you to make the necessary adjustments. Always consult with a health professional or obstetrician before embarking on any ‘new’ exercise plan while pregnant.
I’m a yoga teacher, a wellness coach and currently 34 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby. During my 1st trimester I avoided twisting and inversions and respected my body’s ever changing energy levels. I turned long runs into walks and rested when I needed to. In the 2nd trimester I had more energy and was able to return to some of my previous activities. Ultimately I wasn’t out to beat my ‘personal best’.
It’s All About Balance
Perhaps something that has made the most sense during this pregnancy was the advice from Ginny, a practising Doula and Childbirth Educator who works with obstetrician Dr Lai at A Company for Women. When I met with Ginny regarding my birth she introduced me to Spinning Babies, a class specifically designed to educate and address the importance of balancing the pelvis in preparation for childbirth. Occasionally certain types of pre-pregnancy exercises, especially those that focus on core strength, can lead to misalignment in the muscles of the pelvis which can create challenges for mother and baby during labor. Spinning Babies is a technique used to aims to correct this and help babies reach an optimal fetal birth position ready for delivery. It has also been used for babies that are either breech or transverse. (See below for details on how to contact Ginny.)
The 10,000 Steps Pregnancy
During this pregnancy I was invited to take part in a 10,000 steps-a-day challenge. I found the challenge really flexible because it didn’t limit me to walking; many activities such as, running, cycling, swimming and yoga can all be converted to steps to get to your total. Sometimes I find as a busy working mum that it can be easy to get lost in my comfort zone with exercise; connecting in new and creative ways with likeminded people is fun and keeps things interesting. I loved this challenge because I became part of a new group of people that supported and motivated each other with regular check-ins and meet-ups.
To convert your activities into steps, there are some useful tools on the internet but I found my Fitbit to be best for the job. A Fitbit is a sports band that you wear which keeps count of your steps and links the information to an app on your phone and / or computer. By tapping the helpful little ‘clock-face’ barometer, it can also tell you how many steps you’ve completed so far that day.
How to get started:
Check with your OB: Green light says go!
Schedule and commit to a plan: Walk, swim or yoga, remember to keep it realistic and respect your body. If you know other pregnant mummies or friends that just want to get fit, consider starting up a group together. It’s a great way stay social and motivated.
Track the changes: Keep it interesting by picking a range of activities and tracking the changes with your Fitbit or similar device. Remember to snaps regular shots of your growing tummy and most importantly sit, breathe and enjoy these precious few months.
Stay hydrated and snack smart: Staying hydrated during pregnancy is especially important. Make sure to always take a water bottle and take regular sips during your work out Drinking 2 – 2.5 litres a day is the recommended daily amount.
Nutrition: Our food choices can positively or negatively impact our energy levels. Choosing nutritious and well-balanced meals or snacks is important during pregnancy, it provides us with the fuel we need to complete the mammoth task of creating another human being. After exercise make sure to select healthy and nutritious snacks and foods to replenish and manage your energy levels. See our Balanced Pregnancy Bowls for ideas and inspiration.
There are some circumstances where it is advised to avoid exercise during pregnancy. The following are a guideline, but it is always best to double check with your doctor:
Placenta previa, when the placenta covers part or all of the cervix
Uncontrolled type 1 diabetes
Cardiovascular or respiratory disorders
Malnutrition or eating disorders
Hypertensive disorders such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational or chronic high blood pressure
Previous spontaneous abortion or preterm birth
Ginny | Four Trimesters:
T: +65 94751585