As soon as I got pregnant, I started reading pregnancy books. My favorite book has been Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy. I found this book to be most comprehsensive, and very, very easy to read. And down to earth. Realistic, but with out scare tactics.
One thing that the authors made abundantly clear, was the importance of exercise during pregnancy. Of course they stressed that a pregnant woman should not START a new regime while pregnant, and should always get exercise cleared by her doctor, etc. In this book, exercise was pretty much listed as the cure for most of the common pregnancy ailments. Tired? Exercise. Morning Sickness? Exercise. Feeling Bloated? Exercise.
I experienced a decent amount of morning sickness my first tri-mester, and there were some days when all I could manage was walking my dog 1/2 a mile. Eventually, the morning sickness passed, and I was able to exercise more normally again. I say more normally, because let me tell you….pregnancy exercise is so, so different than pre-pregnancy. I recognize that every woman is different, and please, please don’t take my advice on any of this. Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant and interested in exercising.
Prior to getting pregnant my exercise schedule looked a little like this:
Monday-early morning walk with dog, 1 hour kettlebell class at noon
Tuesday-early morning walk with dog, 1 hour yoga class at noon
Wednesday- early morning walk with dog, 1 hour kettlebell class at noon
Thursday-early morning walk with dog, 1 hour yoga class at noon.
Friday- early morning walk with dog
Saturday-long walk with dog
Now? It does NOT look like that. First and foremost, my dog moved with my husband to Wyoming, and it’s REALLY hard to motivate oneself for a 5:30 am walk without the dog’s well being as an incentive. Secondly, every week is different. Sometimes I am tired, sometimes I am just lazy. But I always try to keep in mind that a)exercise is good, and b) rest is also good. It is about finding the balance.
I decided, that my goal for my pregnancy is to work out 4x per week. Two kettlebell classes per week, and then two other sessions, either yoga, or walking. When my husband moved, we let our gym membership lapse, so gym-going is out. To help me achieve this goal, I created a little exercise chart, with the weeks of my pregnancy on it (as opposed to the weeks done by month) and then seven blank boxes. I fill out a box every time I do a work out. Sorta like a kids chore chart, only minus the yellow stars. Hmm..maybe I should start using yellow stars.
It’s worked pretty well, and I’m happy to report that I USUALLY get 3 or 4 workouts in.
So, how is exercise different? Well it’s harder. You have more blood volume when you a pregnant, so everything is harder (at least for me) and I am much quicker to get out of breath. I have made a few modifications to my kettlebell workouts, of course the standard rules for ab work and laying on my back, but also, no jumping (mostly because it makes me have to pee), and no lifting heavy heavy weights. I am sure some people would still consider my workout to be too strenuous, or that I use weights are too heavy, but they work for me, and I have ZERO problem scaling or slowing down when I feel like I need to.
Example: Here with the workout I did today:
5 minute warm up
10 Kettlebell Windmills on each side. 8kg kettlebell in each hand (the rest of the class did Turkish Get Ups)
20 London Soldiers (marching with straight legs, bringing leg up to parallel, and opposite hand down to leg)
30 Kettlebell Swings. 16kg kettlebell.
20 Bicep Curls. 2 8kg kettlebells
20 Squat Presses. Two 8kg kettlebells
1 lap around the room lunges with no weight.
30 bicep curls with exercise band
30 tricep extensions with exercise bands
30 second plank on each side.
The rest of the class was able to go 2 or more times through. I only made it through the whole cycle 1.5 times. I had to pee, I had to take drink breaks, and it was just plain tough.
The hardest part about pregnant exericse for me, isn’t the physical challenge (im sure that will come as my belly gets bigger), it’s the inability to perform at the level that I am used to, and dealing with the frustrations that brings about.
But, I am going to keep at it, as long as it’s safe for me. Cause exercise is never a bad thing.