Ahhh pregnancy, new season of life and a new body! It can be really fun to watch that tiny bump grow over the months as your little one develops. It can also be a little challenging getting use to a basketball growing in your mid-section. With your center of gravity shifting and your ligaments stretching, sometimes it can it seem like you don’t recognize your body at all! With a new body comes new aches, pains, and difficulties with activities you use to not think twice about. To encourage you to take care of yourself during this fluid time with your physical condition, here are a few tips on safely executing those daily activities as well as some helpful thoughts on exercising pregnant!
Get in the habit of doing your daily activities with these methods in mind:
1. Go SLOW! Don’t make quick, jerky movements. Try to do harder movements (getting out of bed) in steps.
2. Getting out of bed: a)sit up b) swing legs around to front slowly c) lift self out of bed carefully
3. Turning in bed: sleep with pillow between knees. Keep knees together and turn slowly onto back then onto other side.
4. Picking something up off of ground: Try to not bend over but squat carefully and reach. Raise back up slowly holding on to something for support so you don’t fall over.
5. Walking: Don’t use large strides, walk straight and “tall”, engage pelvic and core muscles, swing arms if walking fast.
6. Grabbing something to the side of you: try not to twist but turn whole body!
7. Sneezing 🙂 : Stop (if moving), keep legs together, engage pelvic muscles (hold onto something if it’s a powerful one and you are off balance with your baby bump 😉 )
8. Sitting in chair: try to sit at edge of chair and sit tall instead of slouching back. When getting tired, move so back is supported but try not to slouch and sit tall resting against chair. DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS!
9. Standing: Try to keep pelvic and core muscles engaged when you think about it. Try not to arch lower back too much. Don’t lock knees. DO NOT REST ON ONE LEG FOR A LONG TIME! Try not to stand in one spot for a long time (take a little walk or sit down for breaks).
10. Resting while standing: If there is a chair or table near by…face it and lean forward (bent forward slightly at waist) resting elbows or holding on to it in front of you (will also encourage baby to turn the right way toward the end of your pregnancy)
You may find that your energy is not the same now that your body is working on growing a baby! However, staying active can keep you and your baby healthy throughout pregnancy as well as keep you physically prepared for labor. However, your body is going through many changes (more than you can imagine) and you want to make sure that you are keeping your baby safe as well as yourself. Be mindful about the exercise you choose for yourself during this time. Remember…your goal is not to lose weight, look thin, or lift as much as your can. This is a time to think about the big picture. When in doubt, ALWAYS ALWAYS ask your doctor if an activity is safe for you and your baby.
Here are some basic tips to follow to help you stay healthy and active and be wise with your body as your exercise:
1. BREATH! Don’t hold your breath while exercising. Make sure to exhale when you are contracting a muscle or using force (or beginning a long contraction). Inhale before you start exercise.
2. Whenever doing strength exercises, make sure you 1. engage pelvic muscles 2. engage TA (core muscles) 3. Stand straight (if standing) 4. Inhale…then begin!
3. When walking: don’t take large strides (even when trying to walk at a faster pace), walk with quick smaller steps if needed. Try to keep body aligned and “walk tall” so you are not slouching. Swing your arms to help you keep your balance.
4. When doing stretches: Be aware not to do quick movements or hold for a loooong time…you have extra relaxin hormone making you stretch easy! If convenient try to stretch toward the end of the day (not first thing in the morning).
5. Drink water! Stay hydrated! Very important for you and baby! Use ice water if it’s a hot day or you are exerting a lot of energy to keep your core temperature down.
6. After the first trimester, do not lay in a supine position on your back. You could cut off needed circulation with the extra weight laying on an important vein.
7. Use the medicine ball to sit on and bounce or stretch out any aches! Also, try water exercise in the pool to give you relief from the extra weight you are carrying.
8. Try to avoid high impact sports or activities. Not only is excessive jumping bad for the baby, but your pelvic floor muscles could be damaged by the impact and weight combined.
9. Do your kegels…EVERY DAY 🙂 I know, I know…you feel like you’re “not doing anything” when you do them! Heck, no one can even see what you are doing…but believe me…they are important! Sooo important. Consult your doctor if you are not sure you are doing them correctly! Not only will you help your body with the added “load” it is carrying, but you are helping your body be ready to heal after birth as well!
10. Eat before you exercise. Even a small snack. Try something that is easy to digest, low in fat and high in carbohydrates.
11. Slow down! If you are tired, take a break. If you feel worn out, rest or sleep. This is the time to take it slower and be GENTLE with your body. No one is going to be impressed if you complete a marathon pregnant and then have to get surgery during postpartum because you hurt yourself. And trust me….AFTER having a baby is NOT the best time to recover from an injury!
Please remember, you are not only trying to be wise with your own body during this time, but you are responsible for another life as well! Do your best to make sure you are taking care of that little one inside you! This is the beginning of a very long and amazing relationship for the two of you!
Warning Signs to Look Out for During Pregnancy:
(If you experience any of these STOP immediately and talk to your doctor if you are concerned)
1. Vaginal Bleeding
2. Dyspnea (hard time breathing) prior to exertion
5. Chest pain
6. Muscle Weakness
7. Calf pain or swelling
8. Preterm labor (contractions)
9. Decreased fetal movement
10. Amniotic fluid leakage