When you become pregnant, there's no shortage of information. You're determined to ensure you and your developing little one remain healthy. When you're searching for information, it's challenging to find everything you need in one place to ensure your fitness during pregnancy.
We've created a pregnancy fitness guide that provides fitness tips, but also tips on your nutrition and ways to manage stress throughout your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Fitness Tips
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should neglect your fitness level. Keeping up with your fitness is important, as it will help during labor and postpartum recovery. Being in shape will not decrease the pain. However, it will definitely help give you the endurance needed to get through labor. If you focus on strengthening your Kegels, you’ll have better control of your bladder and bowels. This will ultimately help keep your pelvic floor stronger before and after pregnancy, lessening your chances of urinary incontinence.
Not to mention, staying on top of your fitness can help motivate you to get moving. Exercise will improve your mood over time. There have been several studies that have proven that the incorporation of fitness in your daily life can help boost your overall health.
Here are some useful fitness tips you can use during your pregnancy.
Exercise Throughout the Week
We understand that there will be times during the week when you’re not feeling your best. However, it’s important to understand that your health is important. So we recommend you work out as much as possible.
Aiming to work out for at least three days out of the week is ideal. This goal allows you to choose the specific days you work out. Don’t feel as if you have to work out every day, because there will be days when you don’t want to work out at all.
Beneficial exercises that are safe to do during the first trimester include:
- Ab lifts
In the second trimester, try doing exercises that strengthen your body, such as:
- Kegel exercises
- Standing crunches
- Leg lifts
- Prenatal yoga
Exercises that you can perform during the third trimester include:
- Seated cable rows
- Double arm row
- Leg curls
- Leg extensions
- Lateral shoulder raises
- Bicep curls
- Yoga ball
The last thing you want to do during a workout is become overheated. Whenever you start your workout, ensure you do so in a cool environment.
It's also helpful if you wear clothes that whisk away sweat and allow maximum breathability during your workouts.
Get in the Water for Fitness during Pregnancy
As your baby continues to grow and develop in your belly, you'll experience a host of bodily changes. These changes can increase discomfort. Someone who has never experienced back pain might suddenly begin having back and neck issues.
These types of pains are inevitable, but that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it. Aquatic exercises help soothe the pain you're feeling and provide you with the exercise you need.
It's a minimal impact form of exercise that allows you to get moving without straining and causing yourself more pain. Every gym in your area should offer water aerobics classes, but we recommend checking ahead of time and arriving at the gym early.
You're not the only one who will want a spot in the pool.
Nutrition as Part of Pregnancy Fitness
One of the first things your doctor does after confirming you are pregnant is talk to you about the foods you consume. Nutrition is important, because your body will need more vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Your baby needs tons of nutrients to grow and develop, and you need someone to make up for the massive amount your baby absorbs. Here are some tips that will help you stay mindful of your nutrition while pregnant.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Some people have specific foods, no matter the time of day or season. However, during your pregnancy, try to diversify the foods you eat, because different foods provide your body with the different levels of nutrition it needs.
While you're increasing the variety in the foods you eat, it's also recommended you lower your sugar intake. Consuming foods high in sugar and bad fats can lead to gestational diabetes.
Consume Small Meals
Morning sickness plagues some women throughout their pregnancy, while others don't experience it at all. If you're fighting constant nausea, you need to eat small meals throughout the day.
Having small meals ensures you have something in your stomach, but not too much that it can cause stomach irritation.
Folic Acid is a Priority
One key vitamin women need throughout their pregnancy is folic acid. The consumption of folic acid is important, because it's essential for reducing the chances of your baby suffering from birth defects.
Foods that contain healthy levels of folic acid include:
- Variety of legumes
- Grains fortified with folic acid
- Leafy greens
Of course, the prenatal vitamin prescribed by your Little Rock OBGYN will have folic acid in it, consuming a little extra never hurt anyone.
Drink More Water
Water is key to ensuring your body and internal organs continue to function properly. Therefore, you need to increase your water intake throughout pregnancy. Whenever you think about it or are in between meals, do your best to consume some water.
If you're having problems with morning sickness, you can quickly become dehydrated, which will increase how poorly you feel. Sipping on water between morning sickness is a wonderful way to settle your stomach.
Also, drinking water can help your skin remain moisturized and increase its elasticity if you're looking to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy.
Stress Management as Part of Pregnancy Fitness
Your child can feel the emotions you feel throughout your pregnancy. This means that when your stress levels are high, it can negatively impact your child.
Understand it's normal to be stressed during pregnancy, because you're going through something that's hard on your body, and uncertainty about the future can increase your stress levels. While it's normal to experience stress, you still need to manage it wisely for your health and the health of your baby.
High stress can lead to:
- A weakened immune system
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
These tips will help you keep your stress at a reasonable level.
Talk Things Out
Sometimes all we need when we feel stressed is the chance to talk to someone who understands what we're going through. For example, if you're experiencing some issues in your relationship, taking some time to voice these concerns with your partner is ideal for reducing stress.
Instead of walking around with your emotions bottled up, you get the chance to work together to find a solution that you both can use to avoid differences in your relationship.
If you're going through pregnancy alone, your Little Rock OBGYN can refer you to therapeutic services where you can meet with a certified therapist. The therapist will help you process the emotions you're feeling.
As well as provide you with some ways to practice managing these emotions in your everyday life. Getting the chance to vent your feelings and validate them is huge for many people, and can help improve your mental health in the process.
Get Your Eight Hours of Sleep
Several studies prove the negative aspects that can occur when you don't get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can continue to weaken your immune system and increase the number of aches and pains you have.
As you progress further in your pregnancy, lack of sleep directly affects your energy levels. We all need at least 8 hours of sleep every night to give our bodies time to repair and heal from the previous day.
We understand getting the proper amount of sleep can be challenging, because your little one might not understand that it's time to sleep during the night. Therefore, they might spend typical sleeping hours bouncing around in your stomach, keeping you up at night. Doing a series of prenatal stretches before bed can help ease you into a better night's sleep.
Go For a Walk
It's already been noted that exercising is wonderful for you when and when you aren't pregnant. But in terms of stress management, going for a walk is a wonderful way to get some exercise and fresh air.
Fresh air can help you relax and think about things differently. If you struggle with something specific, taking a break to go for a walk can help you return and approach it with a new mindset.
Pregnancy Fitness: Nutrition, Fitness, & Stress Management
Pregnancy fitness is about more than going to the gym every day. It's about taking care of yourself entirely from the inside out.
We've created a guide above that details useful tips about fitness, stress management, and pregnancy nutrition. The only thing left to do is schedule an appointment with the Woman's Clinic.
We understand what your body is going through and want to be there to help you every step of the way. Our skilled and licensed professionals will provide you with the information you need to stay healthy for yourself and your baby.