The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends regular exercise during pregnancy with a minimum of 30 min of moderate activity on most days of the week (except if you have a particular complication or a specific medical condition where your doctor doesn’t recommend exercising). Exercise has substantial benefits during pregnancy including an improved energy level, better sleep and less: aches, constipation, bloating, swelling and stress. It can also contribute to an easier labor and delivery and of course make it easier for mommy to get back in shape after the big arrival.
In my first pregnancy, having just arrived to New York, I was so excited about enrolling in a prenatal gym class. I was looking for a well-designed workout routine that would keep me active enough without compromising my health or the health of my developing baby. Of course I was also looking to meet other preggos and start making mama friends in the new city. Too ambitious, I signed up for prenatal aerobics and yoga classes 3 days/week, 1 hour each. A couple of weeks later, I found myself struggling to make all the classes due to the unpredictability of my morning sickness and energy levels. While the classes themselves will help with improving the energy levels, that point should not be overstated and pregnancy comes with an inescapable yoyo of energy and hormones. I mean some days I would wake up full of energy and would spend 8 hours focused on rolling stuffed grape leaves (got ambitious with new cooking conquests) and other days I would literally struggle just to get out of bed! Keeping up with an elaborate workout schedule I figured was not for me, frankly not sure how other preggos do it and certainly the level of physical activity you did before pregnancy will play a big role in determining that.
This time around I decided to design my own exercise routine! I chose to walk daily, at least for an hour. My main tool is my little daughter’s stroller. I call it my “Stro-mill”! So far, this has been the most consistent and convenient activity, and it’s so much fun! While getting my daily errands done, shuttling my little one to her classes or taking her to the playground in the park, doing my routine window shopping duties and just zigzagging the city while getting some fresh air, I get so much stro-mill time! If it happens that the weather isn’t perfect for a stroll, running around a 2 year old all day while getting household duties done is certainly compensating and providing me with some strength training because of the carrying/bathing/playing/dancing with my little one! Now if you are a stroller mama like me, you should take advantage of that and incorporate this magic tool in your exercise plan! Otherwise here are some other ideas to keep active safely while you’re expecting:
- Walk to work if possible or park your car at least 20 min walk away from your destination.
- Ditch the elevator, instead opt for the steps
- Walk your dog daily
- Cycle on a stationary bike
- Take a swim class
- Plan weekend exercise time with your partner
- It didn’t work for me but it might be just the right thing for you, so worth a try: Prenatal aerobics, yoga, Pilates or any other classes designed for pregnant women (just make sure you get some flexibility in the gym membership you select so you can work around your energy/hormone yoyos)
Don’t forget to keep well hydrated and avoid overheating! Enjoy your workout or Stro-mill!