Whether you’re currently pregnant or planning to be in the near future, it’s time to start thinking about how to workout while pregnant. I know this because I’m in the family-planning stage of my life, which is extremely exciting. But it also means that, when the time comes, my workouts will need to change a bit to accommodate my pregnancy. To help prepare for that, I’ve started doing a ton of research around how to workout while pregnant. I’ve also looked into safe exercises for pregnancy and ways to be the healthiest for my baby. I am also finishing my Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist Certification through PROnatal Fitness. Here are some of the best prenatal fitness tips I’ve found and ideas for how to stay active during pregnancy.
5 Prenatal Fitness Tips to Prioritize Your Health
It’s no secret that pregnancy comes with many unpleasant side effects, like fatigue, nausea, swelling, and more. And while there is definitely a time to let your body rest, it’s also important to stay active during your pregnancy. With that in mind, here are some prenatal fitness tips to help you prioritize your health and the health of the little one growing inside of you.
1. Redefine Your Fitness Goals
It’s time to start thinking for two, which means redefining your fitness goals during your pregnancy. Start by talking to your doctor about any health risks you may have for exercising while pregnant. While it is generally safe for women to continue exercising throughout pregnancy, everyone is different. You might have unique circumstances that alter what is safe for you and your baby. Once you get the all-clear from your doctor or receive boundaries for safe exertion, redefine your fitness goals and focus on your why.
Why do you want to make your health a priority during your pregnancy? Here are some of my reasons:
- To prepare my body to give birth by being as strong as I can be
- To sleep better during pregnancy
- To have more energy throughout the day
- To feel good about my body, even as it changes
- To improve my focus in the midst of “pregnancy brain”
- To create a safe, healthy environment for my baby to grow and thrive
2. Keep an Eye Out for Abdominal Coning
Abdominal coning, also known as “doming,” happens when there is excess pressure on your abdomen’s connective tissue, and your stomach protrudes and forms a cone-like appearance. While it’s important to do core exercises during pregnancy, keep an eye out for abdominal coning and abstain from movements that cause the cone, like planks or crunches. Other core exercises are safer with less chance of experiencing abdominal separation. Additionally, practicing diaphragmatic breathing during training can help stop abdominal coning. You can also modify exercises to put less pressure on your core. For example, rather than doing push-ups or planks on the floor, place your hands on a raised surface like a bench or counter and do the exercises at an incline.
3. Do Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises
Practicing diaphragmatic breathing before and during your workouts is beneficial because it helps your lungs fill with more oxygen. Plus, it stimulates your abdominal muscles, strengthening that essential area. Diaphragmatic breathing enables you to create a connection between your core and pelvic floor, relaxing the pelvic muscles. This mind-body connection can come in handy during labor, making it easier to push. It also increases blood flow and nutrients to the placenta during pregnancy. To practice this, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in your nose and focus on filling your stomach with air rather than your chest. Release the breath out of your mouth, and repeat.
4. Avoid “Dangerous” Exercises
While they might not have been “dangerous” before becoming pregnant, things have changed. It’s best to avoid certain exercises requiring balancing skills or come with a high risk of falling if you feel unstable. As your belly gets bigger, your center of gravity will shift, making it more difficult to find and maintain your balance. Work with a personal trainer to ensure you make the proper modifications to your workout plan as you progress through your pregnancy. Any fall is a risk to you and your baby, so always stay on the safe side. Modify your exercises as needed, and work with a personal trainer to ensure you are safely challenging yourself during your workouts. (Interested in working with me as your personal trainer? Learn more here!)
5. Listen to Your Body
While you should most definitely listen to your doctor when working out while pregnant, it’s equally important to listen to your body. Pregnancy is not the time to try new, crazy workouts, go for your weight-lifting PR, or drop extreme amounts of weight. It’s the time to maintain a consistent, safe routine and listen to your body. When you’re in tune with your body, you’ll know when an exercise is doing more harm than good and when to take a break altogether. Have grace with yourself. Remind yourself that your body is going through significant changes, so you might not be able to workout for as long or as hard as you used to. That’s okay! If you are planning to start a family in the next year or so, I recommend starting a workout plan now.
My Best Advice for How to Workout While Pregnant
Exercise is essential for a healthy pregnancy, but it can be tough to figure out how to stay active when your body is changing. Here’s my best advice and answers to your questions about how to workout while pregnant.
When Should You Start Doing Prenatal Workouts?
There are many benefits to starting your prenatal workouts in your first trimester. Not only will it help you maintain a healthy weight, but you might also experience better sleep, reduced stress, and improved mood. Of course, everyone’s first trimester is different–some people barely notice any changes while others experience extreme nausea and fatigue. As always, listen to your body! Join the waitlist for ALFitCrew: Pre and Post Natal Workout Program (Coming Soon).
Can You Get in Shape While Pregnant?
Yes, you can get in shape while pregnant. However, it’s essential to care for your body (and your baby) above all else. I encourage you to view prenatal fitness as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout your pregnancy rather than a time to try to achieve extreme changes in your physique.
What is the Best Prenatal Exercise?
Many exercises are beneficial during pregnancy, including:
- Strength Training–with modifications (when needed) to keep you and your baby safe
- Resistance Training
- Body-Weight Exercises
Which Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
In general, you should avoid any type of exercise that causes abdominal pain or trauma. It’s best to stay away from strenuous cardiovascular exercises that require rapid movements, jumping, hopping, or bouncing. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. And if you attend a class, be sure your instructor is trained in prenatal fitness and understands how to supply safe modifications for you and your baby.
Workout While Pregnant with the ALFitCrew App
If you’re wondering how to workout while pregnant, you’ve come to the right place. I’d love for you to join me as I practice the best prenatal fitness tips and incorporate safe modifications into the ALFitCrew workouts. Finding safe exercises, modifications, and accommodations that consider your pregnancy is essential. Let’s talk today about how you can prioritize your health and maintain a consistent fitness routine during pregnancy with the ALFitCrew app!