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Mommy To Be Exercises: What to Avoid

As a mom I have a million reasons to stay fit. I exercise for my own health and well being, but also to be a good example to my kid. And of course, just to keep up with him! That in and of itself is basically a cardio workout. Now that I am pregnant with my second, I’m not going to let my exercise routine slip up. It has changed, no doubt, but having a fit and healthy pregnancy is a priority.

As new moms there is an intense pressure to “bounce back” after pregnancy, but I want you to know that is NOT why I suggest you exercise during pregnancy. Your body needs time. Period. Exercise may help you feel better and stronger more quickly after, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to “bounce back.”  Your body literally rearranged its organs to fit that baby in there! Bouncing back is not priority!  The OTHER benefits of exercising throughout your pregnancy are numerous however, and make exercising when you feel tired, heavy, and achy totally worth it. First of all, it helps keep that fatigue at bay and boosts your energy.

It is always important to get clearance from your doctor, because they know your particular situation. For the most part, exercise is safe and recommended for most women during pregnancy.

What to Avoid:

  1. Avoid exercises that put you at risk for injury, or that are too high impact. High impact is somewhat subjective: jumping and jogging may become uncomfortable physically, or you just may not feel comfortable or quite right about these during your pregnancy. Personally, I have to stop jogging just a couple months into my pregnancies because I get cramps in my lower abdomen. I will do mini jumps, but only a few at a time; I don’t get carried away with marathons of jumping jacks. Why? During pregnancy your ligaments (these hold your joints together) become lax or looser (graphic content ahead) to prepare your pelvis to squeeze a human out. This is due to a change in hormones which means the target may be your pelvis, but it has a whole body effect.
  2. Don’t start something dramatically new. Pregnancy is not the time to decide you want to start CrossFit or training for your first 5K or Zumba.  
  3. Don’t over exert yourself. During pregnancy you have a higher resting heart rate so this is easy to do. You want to shoot for moderate exercise. A simple way to determine “moderate” is by doing the talk test: you want to be able to maintain a conversation during exercise but not sing a ballad.  
  4. Holding your breath, particularly while your are exerting yourself. This creates too much pressure in your abdomen and causes your heart rate and blood pressure to shoot up.
  5. Laying on your back after the first trimester as it restricts blood flow, and laying on your stomach because, well there is a human there you might be smooshing.
  6. Crunches or sit ups. Once your belly starts to protrude, you may develop diastasis recti. This is a separation or splitting of your rectus abdominus- the six pack muscle- in the center to make room for your growing baby.  Working your rectus abdominus may be uncomfortable but it is also somewhat pointless. It may even make the separation worse! Instead work your deeper abdominal muscles and the rest of your core. Oh and don’t start doing crunches and sit ups after pregnancy until you’ve checked to make sure you do not have the separation!

Now that you've read about what to avoid, come back later this week (or sign up for our newsletter!) to find out what you can be doing while pregnant!

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