Staying Fit While Pregnant
As a mum of two, I experienced yoga quite differently for each of my pregnancies. In my first pregnancy I enjoyed an athletic practice versus my second pregnancy where I embraced a more yin focused practice. My biggest piece of advice is to listen to your body, and practice how it feels best for you and your growing baby. But...you're here for a bit more that just that one tip, so read on for a few things to help you stay fit, healthy and most importantly to enjoy your pregnancy.
The overall intention in keeping fit during your pregnancy is to create space: physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a phase of life to maintain your fitness and embrace your intuition. While you will find that modifications to your fitness routine will be necessary, you will still be able to continue enjoying your favourite ways of exercising throughout your pregnancy journey.
This is the most gentle and vulnerable time of your pregnancy. Your new little baby is working together with your body to make a safe and viable home in the womb. To help facilitate that process you need to keep your body temp below 38 degrees Celsius, avoid strenuous activity and keep stress (emotional and physical) down to a minimum. Your body is producing a surge of hormones, which can cause nausea, tiredness or even sickness - remember it’s ok to take a rest.
Things to avoid:
Closed twists, like a twisted lunge.
Large back bends, like wheel or camel pose.
Inversions, like handstands. Instead enjoy gentle inversions, such as waterfall or a supported bridge with a block on the lowest level.
Listen to your body: when you’re tired take a rest, when your energetic ride that wave! This is not the time to push through any pain or tiredness. Start to listen and react to your body’s communication.
Your baby has implanted into the uterus, and your risk of miscarriage has greatly decreased! Many women start to feel more energetic - enjoy this energy surge and head back into your favourite fitness activities. The rule of thumb is you can continue your fitness routines that were established prior to pregnancy, but it is best to not begin any new fitness routines. You’ll start to develop a belly bump during this trimester and will need to accomodate for this growing belly while exercising.
Continue avoiding the activities from T1.
Begin practicing a hip width stance for standing postures and lunges, such as chair pose and warrior lunges.
Avoid crunching abdominal exercises, like bicycle legs and boat pose.
Modify with planks and bridge lifts.Once belly has popped, avoid stomach lying postures, like bow pose and cobra. This will require you to modify your vinyasa during yoga class.
If lower back pain begins, please see a physiotherapist as this could be a variety of things and will require special modifications to combat the pain.
Lengthen your lumbar spine in all poses to counteract the pregnant bodies natural desire to over bend the lower back as the belly expands.
Baby and you are starting to really bulk up and prepare for baby’s entrance into the world. Your body returns to producing a large amount of hormones and baby might start causing you some discomfort around your pelvis and ribcage…just to name a couple areas.
Continue avoiding the activities from T1 and T2
Squats are great! Use these to build endurance for labour and keep up strength to assist in your postnatal recovery.
Embrace support from props: blocks, bolsters, walls and blankets will assist in helping you to create balance and space.As baby grows, your diaphragm looses space.
Support your breathing functions by utilising your intercostal muscles.
To counteract your growing breasts and to prepare for feeding baby, enjoy chest & shoulder opening postures like cow-face arms and downward dog with blocks or the wall.
To gain a deeper understanding of how to best enjoy your pregnancy while staying fit and to enhance the growing bond between you and your growing baby, I invite you to attend my weekly Prenatal Yoga class hosted every Saturday @ 10:30am inside the Total Fusion Mount Gravatt yoga studio.
Please note: The above are suggestions based on a normal, healthy pregnancy. As with all medical circumstances, please refer to your doctor and physiotherapist to discuss the best way for your body to maintain fitness during pregnancy.