Pregnancy can be one of the most magical times in your life, but there is one undeniable fact that every woman has to face during their pregnancy — you're going to put on weight.
While this is totally normal and healthy since you're busy growing another human being, there's no reason for you to give up on fitness while you're pregnant.
1. Don't Stop Me Now
If you were already active before you saw those two little lines, there's no reason to stop being active once you know you're pregnant. Anything you could do before your pregnancy you can continue to do during your pregnancy, as long as you feel comfortable doing it.
To add a personal anecdote, I used to ride my bike between 5 and 10 miles every day while I was pregnant with my daughter to get to and from work. My OB-GYN encouraged me to continue riding as long as I was comfortable.
If you run every day, keep running. If you ride a bicycle every day, keep up with it as long as you can safely ride. Anything you could safely do before you were pregnant is a good option to keep yourself fit throughout your pregnancy.
2 Keep Those Cravings in Check
We all know about those cravings. There's nothing quite like having the irresistible desire to snack on pickles and ice cream at 3 a.m. You may be eating for two, but you really only need 300-500 extra calories every day to feed that little human.
Focus on a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, calcium and folic acid. Your doctor might also recommend a prenatal vitamin to make up for any vitamin deficiencies in your diet.
This doesn't mean that you should ignore all your cravings. Just remember that everything should be enjoyed in moderation. Eat a piece of cheesecake instead of the whole thing, or replace a bag of candy with a bag of grapes. There are tons of healthy alternatives to the junk food that baby might be craving, so put down those pickles!
3. Get Flexible
One of the most common suggestions you'll get for exercise during pregnancy is low-impact aerobics. What better way to enjoy some low-impact exercise than by getting flexible with yoga? If you're not a regular yogi, that shouldn't stop you from getting your poses on. There are plenty of yoga routines that are safe for even beginner yogis.
The one thing you need to remember is that while standing poses and twists are fine, you want to avoid any poses that require you to lie on your back or on your belly. The same rules apply to yoga that apply to sleeping on your back — it's not a good idea because it can reduce blood flow to your uterus.
4. Hit the Water
Swimming can be the perfect pregnancy exercise, especially during the second and third trimesters when you might not feel like being too energetic due to your increasing size.
It's a no-impact exercise, and the water provides buoyancy so you don't feel quite so heavy. Even if you're just floating back and forth, you're getting more exercise than you would just by wandering around the house.
The trick to any exercises, whether you're pregnant or not, is to make sure you stay hydrated while you're floating. Getting dehydrated while exercising is a quick road to really uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions, so keep drinking that water no matter how often you need to pee.
5. Play with the Kids
This doesn't necessarily only apply if you already have kids. Running around and playing with kids, yours or by volunteering at a local school or daycare, can be a great way to stay active while you're pregnant. As an added bonus, it's great practice for when your little one starts walking.
Not only is it good exercise for you, it's good for the kids too. Unstructured play, indoors or out, is a great way to help kids develop their hand-eye coordination, leadership skills and even math abilities. What better way to encourage their development than by playing along? Just be prepared to be anything from a cowboy to a space alien and everything in between.
6. Go for a Walk
Walking is probably one of the easiest ways to get some exercise while you're pregnant. If you haven't been active before your pregnancy, it's also a great way to add a bit of exercise into your regimen without going overboard. Walking four or five days a week adds a good amount of exercise to your day.
Toward the end of your last trimester, walking is also a good way to get your labor started as well!
7. Rock On
Dancing is another great low-impact way to exercise while letting you get your groove on during your pregnancy. Whether you're taking a dance fitness class like Zumba or just rocking out in your living room to your favorite music, dancing is the perfect workout. Just make sure that you're paying attention to your body and you don't overdo it.
Plus, studies have found that listening to music during pregnancy is beneficial for the baby as well, so it's a win-win situation for both of you.
Staying fit during pregnancy is important to help you have a healthy baby, but it also makes it easier for you to shed the baby weight once that little one has finally entered the world. Whether you decide to swim, dance or stretch it out at your local yoga studio, staying active is all that matters.
Put down that bowl of pickles and ice cream, turn on your favorite music and get going! You've only got so much time before you'll have to worry about diapers and sleepless nights.
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