As part of our overall commitment to helping our members and the community achieve their health goals, we recognize that as an expecting or postpartum mom, it’s often hard to know what is “right” to do in order to stay healthy and active during and after a pregnancy. That’s why we’re introducing part two of our BirthFit series.
This multi-part blog series comes from Janina Schmidt, our certified BIRTHFIT Coach and facility manager. Take it away Janina!
How do you integrate fitness into your life when you just discovered that you are pregnant (first trimester weeks 1-12)?
First of all, congratulations! This time in your life is so exciting. You will have lots of questions on your mind, wondering what you should and should not do from now on. It is a time of big adjustments and considerations.
Regarding your fitness, do you keep the same exercise routine as before? Do you just take a break for the next nine months? As we lined out before, exercise is beneficial when trying to get pregnant, and this does not change when you find out that you are. However, now the intention is going to shift. Now you are not just training for your sport. You are training for birth.
What is the challenging part?
At this stage, most people surrounding you probably do not know about your pregnancy yet and the belly is not yet visible. It is easy to think that at this point, not much has to change in terms of your workout routine. But keep in mind that once you are pregnant, you are “fully pregnant”. This means that some things should be adjusted right away.
What you should avoid:
- Extreme trunk flexion exercises (think sit-ups, russian twists, mountain climbers)
- One-sided training
What you should focus on:
- Training both sides of your body to avoid imbalances
- Working on strength, stability and range of motion
- Only lifting weights that you know you will be able to lift
- Learning to create intra-abdominal pressure
If you usually love your cardio training like running, you might find that this seems impossible right now with the hormone shift leaving you feeling fatigued and nauseous. Do not worry, listen to your body and see what is doable for you. The nausea will often disappear when the pregnancy progresses. If you feel good and this is something you enjoy, continue with your running training (maybe check out Pose Running for less impact and higher efficiency).
Monitoring your training will be a big advantage here. Journal how you feel at different times of the day. With most adaptations like an increased heart rate, increased heart and blood volume and oxygen output happening in the first trimester, you want to make sure that you are recovering well. If you notice that you are starting to feel under-recovered, it is time to take it easier. We want to achieve adequate training loads that are not too low and not too high to maximize the benefits. One option is to use “Borg’s Rate of Perceived Exertion”.
When is the best time to journal your feelings?
- After waking up
- Immediately before your workout
- During your workout
- Immediately after your workout
- 30-60 minutes after your workout
While all of these considerations are important for the whole pregnancy, there are some additional things to consider for your workout routine with the pregnancy progressing. In my next post, I will discuss additional changes for the second trimester.
Stay tuned for our next BIRTHFIT posts!
If you are considering becoming a mom, are pregnant, just had a baby, or know someone who might be interested in learning more, please contact us for more information!