Run Mamma, Run
My darling four year old has been saying since before last Christmas, “Mummy, can you wear the green dress with the spots on it?” Unfortunately, while I desperately wish it wasn’t the case, I have to say no. It’s a tiny vintage size 14 that I will not be fitting into any time soon.
I wish I had committed more of my time and attention to staying fit during my pregnancy. I think it would make getting back into it now much less daunting.
Many of us are a little bit nervous about exercising while pregnant. There are lots of warnings about not getting too hot, not being too cold, not over using certain muscles, not over stretching and staying hydrated. It can seem a bit overwhelming, and like it would be much easier to just stay home and watch TV.
But reality for most people (of course you should check with your doctor first) is that half an hour of light to moderate exercise each at least four days a week during your pregnancy can be amazingly beneficial.
There are a number of obvious benefits to exercise whilst pregnant, including a smaller weight gain, and maintaining cardio fitness until you’ve given birth and recovered enough to get back into your pre baby workout regime. But perhaps even more motivating are the slightly less well known benefits such as; reduced swelling of feet and legs, reduced risk of gestational diabetes, decreased risk of need for intervention during birth, and increased likelihood of a faster labor and birth.
A really important target area for ALL pregnant women is the pelvic floor. It’s important to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles before the birth of your baby. This can help with labor, the birth and speed up your recovery.
There are lots of appropriate exercise choices for pregnant women. While it’s not recommended that you start a rigorous exercise program once you’re pregnant, if you weren’t already doing so, walking around the block or doing some walking in the shallow end of the pool are a great option for those new to exercise. Check out this gorgeous racer back top and super comfortable yoga pants, great options for your changing body shape.
Jogging or the stationary bike can still be good options for those with a healthy baseline fitness, but you should consult your doctor to ensure there are no other underlying issues to be concerned about. And finally, swimming is a wonderful full-body, low impact workout suitable for everyone.
Pay attention to your body and how you’re feeling. Don’t push yourself too hard, but make sure you actually get your heart rate up to get the full benefits of exercise during pregnancy.
After you have your baby give yourself time to recover. You don’t have to get back into it straight away. If you had a complication free birth, it’s generally ok to start with a gentle (and short) walk as soon as you feel up to it, but if you feel nervous or unsure, wait until you’ve seen your doctor at your six week check-up to get the all clear.
Even if you were exercising rigorously before and throughout your pregnancy, make sure you start out slowly. Birth is a huge deal and your body will need time to get over it. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you wear a supportive, well-fitting bra.
Be committed (this is where I struggle). Once you have the all clear from your doctor, set some goals. But remember, you will need to be flexible with your timing and/ or how you choose to exercise. Where you once might have been at the gym every day, you may have to be content to go for a walk with the pram or a baby carrier (at least for the first little while), until everyone gets into a routine.
My little one was four months old this weekend. There are no excuses for continuing to sloth about the house, so I’ve joined the gym, I’ve booked the neighbours for a baby-sit and I’ve promised my four year old fashion stylist that I’ll be donning the green dress for Christmas…. I’ll let you know how that goes.