Sometimes you just need to know how real moms, just like you, are managing active and healthy pregnancies.
So that's why we sat down with Ginny, contributor over at Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, to get the scoop on how she's staying fit and sane during her pregnancy.
How have you adjusted your fitness routine during your pregnancy?
I kept to my usual workout routine until I spoke with Erica Ziel, prenatal fitness coach and founder of KnockedUp Fitness. Erica has observed that miscarriage is more common during the first trimester when a mom expecting baby #3 or beyond is running and doing plyometrics. This fit my own experience exactly—I miscarried last year (my fourth pregnancy) after experiencing spotting after intense workouts.
With this knowledge, I’ve cut out running and plyo, but I still try to do weights alternating with cardio Monday through Friday. Now my cardio consists of training on the elliptical or stair-stepper, or walking on the treadmill with the incline up. I may get back into running now that I’m in my second trimester and baby is bigger—I miss the endorphin rush!
Of course, I’ve also cut out most of the ab work I used to do so that I don’t cause increased muscle separation. I do some obliques, but no sit-ups or crunches.
What has been the biggest setback to exercise for you during pregnancy and how have you overcome it?
Lack of energy was definitely an obstacle for a while! I took more naps during the first trimester, for sure. I also found out recently that I’m anemic, so it’s no wonder I’ve been having energy issues. I’ve started taking an iron supplement and my energy is already improving. Eating clean helps a ton, too!
During the first trimester, I also had a lot of lower back pain and soreness in my hips, probably because of the relaxin hormone. Throughout that time, I laid off any weight lifting that targeted my lower back, but now I’m fine with dead lifts and such as long as I’m cautious about the amount I’m lifting.
How do you handle the balance between being a working mom of a toddler, being pregnant, and maintaining a fitness routine?
I am extremely blessed to be able to work as a freelance writer from home while taking care of my three kids and expecting a fourth! I’ve found that I have to get my workout in early in the day, or it’s not going to happen. We have a nice schedule right now, and even my youngest is old enough to understand when it’s time for Mom to go work for a while. It will definitely throw me for a loop when I have a newborn in the house again. Newborns are not accommodating! Fortunately, baby will arrive in summer while our family schedule is much more relaxed. And even if he keeps me from the gym for a while, I can take him for walks around the neighborhood while the weather is nice.
Best tip you have for mothers who want to stay in shape during their pregnancy?
Pregnancy does not give you a free pass to eat whatever the heck you want for 9 months! If you do, you will be kicking yourself when you have lots of weight to lose postpartum. Of course, you should gain weight during pregnancy, and of course, you will need to a eat a little more than you used to. Just keep in mind that you’re not eating for two adults—you’re eating for one adult and one tiny fetus. Making healthy food choices is a huge part of staying in shape during pregnancy. Exercise is icing on the cake … or maybe almond butter on the rice cake? Keeping up with moderate exercise a few times a week can help you avoid some pregnancy complications and keep your muscles strong!
If you didn’t exercise during your last pregnancy, what differences do you see this time around?
This pregnancy more than any other, I’m trying to be diligent about getting proper exercise. I realize that the older I get, the more difficult it is to bounce back from a pregnancy. If I can keep my body in check during the pregnancy, I’ll (hopefully) have a smoother, faster recovery. For now, I’m enjoying the energy and mood management exercise gives me. At 20 weeks, I haven’t gained much weight yet, and I’m happy about that! I tend to put on a lot of water weight toward the end, so we’ll see how diet and exercise play into that.
What is your advice for women who are nervous about starting a prenatal fitness regimen?
First, talk to your OB and get the green light on whatever fitness program you’re ready to embark upon! Once you have her go-ahead, start easy and quit any movement that causes you pregnancy-related pain (aching biceps are good; lower back pain is not). If you want to be on the safe side, choose classes or videos made especially for prenatal use.
What are your favorite healthy living essential you use to keep yourself on track?
Larabars, my blender, a water bottle always by my side, and streeeetchy clothes!
- Ginny Butler, Contributing Editor at Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, blogger at pnmag.com/knockedup.