You can bench press two hyper kids and make a grown punching bag cry. You can throw a monster truck tire over and walk on a Lego, barefoot, without losing your cool. You’re a strong woman – you’ve popped out a baby or two, what’s a few lunges to you? But what about training while pregnant?
I’m really not of the opinion that women are fragile flowers who get to sit out of gym class. In fact, I’ve seen you guys kicking ass out there and I know that having a pair of ovaries doesn’t give you a weak body.
While I won’t argue with a woman who knows what she wants, the fact is that fitness needs change during and after pregnancy, as your body gears up to do what makes any Ironman look like a walk in the path: motherhood.
- Your body is always changing. Different now than it was 15 years ago, or one week ago. Women’s’ bodies are cyclical, so be flexible. If something isn’t working anymore, try something else that does.
- It’s a cliché but listen to your body. We’re all born with a strong bodily intuition and this skyrockets during and after pregnancy. Go until you feel tired, then stop and rest properly till you can go again.
- Don’t compare. Your body will never be what it was, and your pregnancy won’t be like anyone else’s. Don’t try to get your pre-baby body “back” (did bodysnatchers steal it?) or keep up the same routine you did before you were pregnant.
- Keep constant tabs with your doctor to make sure you’re eating enough and getting proper rest between workouts.
- Keep up your self-esteem. Honestly, it’s not something many women talk about, but pregnancy can make you feel like a big ol’ sack of crap. Get some cute workout clothing that’s comfortable and try not to freak out about your swelling feet – they will go down again!
- Don’t be a hero. After pregnancy, the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles may weaken and separate, and barging into an intense workout can cause serious damage. Talk to a physiotherapist if you have some injuries you’re concerned about and go slowly and gently, in the beginning, to get you up to speed again.
- Don’t worry about making gains. That’s for the little one. More important is to maintain flexibility, strength and a positive outlook.
- Don’t do it alone. Trainers with specialized certificates can help you work out safely and comfortably, and the support and encouragement of your family and workout buddies can make a huge difference when you’re feeling fat and hormonal.
Ultimately, many women find that the pregnancy and birth journey is all about respect. Stopping to listen to your body lets you tune into what it needs and doesn’t need, and the pace it wants to go.
Rather than working out being something that jeopardizes this natural process, it can actually be a great way to go deeper into body awareness and support your body throughout its transformation.
To all the moms, and moms-to-be, I hope you have a very Happy Mother’s Day!
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