5 Most Important Things for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
How to Keep Your Baby, Body and Belly Safe When Exercising During Pregnancy
Congrats, you’re pregnant! Your life and body are about to continually grow and change, but what needs to change with your exercise?
General rule of thumb for maintaining your active lifestyle through pregnancy: if you were consistently doing it prior to pregnancy, your body is generally safe to continue into pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t the best time to pick up some new intense exercise, weight or running routine, but if your body is used to a type of exercise… keep it up! BUT there are some tips for things to watch for while exercising to help keep your body safe and happy!
1. Watch for coning in your belly!
When doing any kind of exercise, your connective tissue in the center of your abdomen is especially vulnerable where it’s thin and stretched holding your abdominal muscles together.
If you notice bulging, coning, or a protruding triangular dome (don’t you love my fancy description) in the center of your abdomen… then modify to avoid this. It happens commonly with crunch-type movements, planks, leg lifts, straining, or even sitting straight up in bed! Avoiding this extra strain on this tissue can also decrease your risk for DRA!
2. Focus on your breath and core support!
You have an increasing amount of weight and pressure on your abdomen, back, and pelvic floor as your body progresses through pregnancy… you need to be THAT much more aware of how to support it with your breath.
Inhale: ribs expand out to side, abdomen and back fill with air, and pelvic floor drops down and open. Exhale: rib cage hugs back in, lower belly draw in towards spine and feel your pelvic floor close and lift into your body (Kegel)
Apply this functionally with exercise, lifting, pushing… even at home! Exhale with the effort, relax between reps.
This can also help with decreasing urinary incontinence, aka peeing your pants when you exercise!
3. Watch your posture!
Keep shoulder blades back, chest open, rib cage stacked over pelvis, and and shoulders stacked over hips. It’s easy when you’re pregnant to lean your upper body back and hips forward. This will put more stretch on weak abdominals, and pressure and pinch on on low back and hips.
4. Don’t be afraid to modify.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to keep up with others, or even your non-pregnant self. Listen to your body.
You may not be able to keep up at the same pace in your workout class, may need to drop your weight you’re lifting, may need to do more fast walking versus running, may need to take more breaks in your routine, or you may just need to take some more rest days and enjoy some relaxing yoga and stretching!
Push-ups may need to go to hands-knees or standing leaning into wall, take out the head lift (crunch) part of your floor routine, do single leg core work versus double leg… the list goes on!
5. Wear support as needed.
Chest/Upper back: your lady friends are growing right along with your belly! A more supportive sports bra can go a long way in helping decrease upper back pain. (Make it a nursing-friendly bra while you’re at it too so you can enjoy the support postpartum with your new little babe!)
Abdomen: Especially if your belly like to grow very far forward or down like mine did, a nice pair of supportive or gentle compressive yoga pants or belly band can go a long way to not make it feel like the weight of the world is pulling forward and straining your back
Pelvis/low back/SI joint: If you have pain in your pubic symphysis in the front, or your sacroiliac joints in the back of your pelvis… the Serola Belt will be your best friend with exercise to add a little extra stability in your pelvic girdle!
If your body feels comfortable staying active and exercising into pregnancy, you go girl! But give yourself a little grace, a little flexibility, and a whole lot of support. Let us know if you’re having any pain – we can help make sure your pregnancy is active and comfortable!
When you’re ready to start preparing for birth, we’ll be here for that too! It can be just mind-blowing to know you can learn HOW to push a baby out before you’re in the moment.