I have 4 children, so I am no stranger to pregnancy. I have had 2 pregnancies where I did not exercise and 2 where I did.
I tell you the truth!
The pregnancies where I did exercise were easier!
By easier I mean the labor was easier, and the pregnancies were easier on my self image. My body snapped back to pre-pregnancy shape sooooo much faster because I retained my muscle tone, and had less weight to lose afterwards.
I am sure you know that exercise during pregnancy is very beneficial.
But, there is a problem.
If you are currently pregnant, you may realize at this point that working out is more challenging now than it was pre-pregnancy.
People who have never been pregnant do not understand how it feels to be pregnant. First trimester you are dog-tired. Sleep just feels so nice that first trimester, and you may find yourself nodding off frequently. I know, I have been there.
The second trimester is better, and IMO prime workout time. Some call the second trimester the “golden” trimester because you feel better and usually have a little more energy.
By third trimester you begin to just feel big, and the pregnancy feels hard again. Motivating yourself gets difficult again as your belly grows.
So, just how can you motivate yourself to workout if you are pregnant?
I have three ideas that I hope will give you motivation.
#1 Exercise Benefits the Health of you and your baby
Hypertension, aka High blood pressure, affects nearly 10 percent of pregnancies. Hypertension can lead to preeclampsia in some women.
Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can damage body organs and cause placenta abruption, premature delivery or intrauterine growth restriction.
As the study states, women who DO NOT exercise have a two and a half times GREATER risk of having a baby with Infant Macrosomia. Macrosomia is the term used for a larger than normal babies, or those over 8lbs 13oz. Macrosomia can cause problems during delivery, for obvious reasons. Macrosomia can also cause the baby other health problems after birth.
My baby girl, who was my first pregnancy, weight 9 lbs 4 oz, and it was during this pregnancy I did not exercise, so the risk is real.
The following pregnancies, I was motivated to exercise because of this and the weight I gained with the first.
# 2 It is so much easier to snap back to pre-pregnancy shape
One huge difference I noticed was how much easier it was to lose 5 extra pounds than 40. That seems obvious, but it hugely motivated me to exercise during pregnancy.
My first labor was 24 hrs long and I gained at least 50 lbs.
I don’t really like talking about it.
I sincerely wish the experience had been better, but it wasn’t, and it was my fault. I did not make exercising a priority.
I was sad too after my baby girl was born because I felt so bad about my body and had no energy.
Listen ladies, I can not recommend exercise during pregnancy enough. I want you to be happy and as energetic as possible.
Walking out of the hospital wearing your pre-pregnancy jeans. OK. Even your pre-pregnancy “fat day” jeans. You will feel SO proud.
With my last two pregnancies I exercised, and I was able to wear those jeans right out of that hospital. In addition I had an 8 hr labor, vs a 24 hr one. The experience was night and day, and while I can not say it was ALL because of exercise, but much of it was.
In addition to that:
Being happier is better for you and for your baby. Having more energy and a positive mental state makes it easier to care for your baby.
Tips for exercise success:
Buy two or three exercise outfits that will take you through your entire pregnancy. Gaya Fitness has awesome workout pants with waistbands that adjust the width as your belly grows. Plus they have a small zippered pocket for your valuables on the back.
Pick up a new pair of CrossFit workout shoes for women to complete the ensemble.
With a new pregnancy workout wardrobe you will be motivated to workout so those adorable new clothes don’t get left unused.
# 3 don’t forget to remember yourself
What do I mean by that?
A baby is a blessing, and a sacrifice of time and money and energy that we moms willingly give to our babies out of pure love. It is a beautiful thing.
But you know what sisters?
We need love too! And we should share some love with ourselves in the form of self care and maintaining our interests, our physique, our passions-our lives as separate human beings.
These things that make us happy, these things that make up our life, they must continue during pregnancy and motherhood for us to remain happy.
Happy Wife, Happy Life
Ask any husband what he prefers, a happy wife who takes time for her self and her body?
Or a wife who sacrifices everything, looks and happiness included, for the baby?
I am not advising selfishness and neglect here, what I am saying is that the best thing for your family is that you are a happy, balanced woman.
Most women are not happy when they neglect their health and fitness. Give yourself permission to care for yourself during pregnancy and beyond, it is better for everyone that way.
So what are you waiting for. Order some fitness gear, get up and get running. Or walking. Or whatever you are into.
* Katie is a busy wife and mother of four. She guards her gym time jealously, and would rather miss a PTA meeting or get takeout for dinner than miss a workout.