Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy will have huge benefits for both mum and baby, however, exercise and dietary changes can be a little more complicated when you’ve got someone growing inside of you.
Today we’ll be sharing our best tips for getting into shape whilst pregnant, what workouts are best for you, and the kind of things you should be eating to be healthy, strong, and safe during your pregnancy.
Before we get started, a little disclaimer to say that we are in no way medical professionals and any changes that you make to your diet or exercise routine should be consulted with your doctor beforehand.
Our tips and advice are from personal experience and are to encourage a more healthy and happy lifestyle during pregnancy.
Consider your levels of fitness
If you weren’t into fitness and exercising before your pregnancy, then starting to begin whilst you're pregnant will make it a little trickier than normal for you, e.g. breathlessness will affect you a bit more as you’re not used to higher intensity exercise.
However, if you’re planning on focussing on your diet and routine during pregnancy, you’re guaranteed to see some toning of your muscles and some positive changes to your body, some of which are not all focused on the way you look.
Those who enjoy regularly working out before pregnancy will find it easier to exercise during their pregnancy.
Those already in shape may see less physical results, but it’s still important to remain healthy and active, which you will then be able to extend on to after your pregnancy.
Benefits of getting in shape whilst pregnant
Exercising whilst you’re pregnant can increase your energy levels and reduce the pregnancy fatigue you may be feeling.
As much as it is important to rest, you don’t want to spend the majority of your pregnancy with your feet up (unless you’ve been medically advised to do so).
Even going for a little walk can boost your energy and mood, it doesn’t always have to be a thorough workout.
Staying in shape during pregnancy is also known for reducing bloating, swelling, and constipation. It also reduces your risk of developing gestational diabetes which can affect you and your baby during and after pregnancy.
Staying fit and healthy can also make your delivery process a little bit easier and will also speed up your recovery process after giving birth.
Accept the changes happening to your body
If you’re now pregnant, you’ll need to accept that you won’t be able to make drastic changes to your exercise and eating habits right now.
You’ll need to come to peace with the fact that you will put on some weight, you will feel tired and sometimes you won’t feel like exercising, but there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
You are growing another life inside of you and give yourself the credit for that.
How to get in shape while pregnant
The best way to eat whilst you’re pregnant
Your eating habits and diet is the easiest way to maintain a healthy body weight during your pregnancy.
The same 80% diet and 20% exercise rule still applies here. So no matter how much exercise you do, if you’re not eating well, you won't see any changes.
That being said, you should not be cutting your calories during your pregnancy, in fact, it’s recommended that you eat an extra 100-400 calories a day depending on what trimester you’re in, and will vary from woman to woman.
These extra calories are needed to give your baby the nutrition it needs to grow, so restricting your calories will only have a negative impact on that.
So if you are gradually putting on some weight throughout your pregnancy, rest assured, it’s just because your baby is growing and is healthy.
There’s no need to cut things out of your diet, just eat the unhealthy things in moderation.
Many women will struggle with weird cravings and to completely deny yourself of these will only make the cravings worse and you’ll end up binging.
Make sure you’re getting a moderation of fruits, veggies, fish or meat (if you eat them), healthy fats, and grains.
Try to stay away from processed foods, drinks with empty calories, and also foods that are high in sugars if you want to try to keep your weight gain as minimal as possible.
Eating smaller meals more frequently will help reduce your cravings to snack constantly and will help you feel fuller for longer.
If you do find the need to snack, try reaching for a piece of fruit instead of a packet of chips.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water during your pregnancy, especially if you are going to engage in exercise.
Water boosts your metabolism and helps to keep your body happy and healthy.
You should be aiming to drink a gallon of water a day. Yes we know, you’re always needing to pee as it is, but drinking plenty of water will help you feel more awake, motivated, and healthy.
Exercises you can do during your pregnancy
Before engaging in any form of exercise you should consult your midwife or doctor beforehand to make sure it's safe for your particular pregnancy.
Exercising during your pregnancy will make it easier for you to resume your regular fitness routine to lose the baby weight once your baby is born.
Before doing any exercises you should do a warm-up and some light stretches, so you don’t damage your body during your workouts.
Try to stay active every day, even if that’s just a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood. You should try to aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week to stay in shape.
If you do want to do strength training, make sure you do slow and controlled movements. Use light weights and resistance during your routines.
If you were really into contact sports prior to your pregnancy, then you’ll have to give them up for the meanwhile and find an alternative method for exercising.
Some of the best forms of exercising whilst pregnant are walking, swimming, light cycling on a static bike, pregnancy yoga. You can even try some light jogging or water aerobics if you’re feeling up to it.
Avoid exercises which you are lying on your back, especially after 16 weeks of pregnancy as this can cause you to faint. You want to avoid any exercises that make you feel too breathless, uncomfortable, or dizzy.
Make sure you rest!
To get in shape, regardless of being pregnant or not, you need adequate sleep and rest to help your body recover.
If you’re not sleeping very well during the night, allow yourself to have short naps during the day to boost your energy.
Carrying a baby for 9 months is tiring, so grant yourself all the rest you need as it is just as important as staying active.