First I want to say this is my first child, so my experience with fitness through pregnancy is obviously very limited. I would also like to say I am NOT a medical professional. Obviously, every woman and every pregnancy is very different and what I talk about in this blog might not work for someone else and that consulting your medical professional is always needed. That being said, I am a HUGE believer that some form of exercise or physical activity is the key to overall health (during pregnancy or not) and I will always support getting in whatever movement you can at any stage of life you are in 🙂
My experience with pregnancy was not “glowy” or “glamorous” in any sense and maintaining my fitness routine was out of pure determination to maintain my health and mental happiness with movement. I have 3 takeaways when it comes to fitness through pregnancy and I believe these can be helpful for most going through such a life/body/mind transition.
Do Your Research – It is way more than “Listen to your body”
There are tons of resources out there now but “BirthFit” and “Brianna Battles Pregnant and Post Partum Athlete Program” are a few of the several resources I looked at when it came to fitness throughout my pregnancy. “Listening to your body” doesn’t really apply here because 1. Your body has never done this before and 2. It’s not just about how you feel NOW, but it’s also about how you want to set yourself up to feel LATER.
Modify More Than You Think Earlier Than You Think
This was HARD for me! It is very challenging to not be able to do what you once did or even what you might still be able to do but know it might not be best for your body either now or possibly later. A quick reminder that pregnancy is not the time for PR setting or goal chasing. It is a time to prioritize movement for the pure health of you and your baby. THAT’S IT! That means that intensity will go down – WAY DOWN, weights will go down – WAY DOWN and some of the things you love about fitness will probably be taking a back seat for awhile.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
If you have a pregnancy like I did, you probably don’t feel good. At all. On many different levels. Even if you do feel good you might be exhausted (mentally or physically) and might not feel the most motivated. Fitness in life is NOT about motivation, I fully believe it’s about dedication and prioritizing. Fitness in pregnancy is no different. It isn’t about waiting to be motivated to workout or get movement in, because if you wait for motivation to hit, you might be waiting the duration of your pregnancy! Remember, some movement is better than no movement at all. Even if it’s just going for a 20 minute walk. I promise you will feel better after a little bit of movement.
Remember every woman and every pregnancy is very different but try to keep moving a few days a week and I know you will feel better mentally and physically!
-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Youth Program Director / Media & Event Director