When the fatigue and strains of pregnancy have you reaching for the chocolate box or the dough balls, the last thing you feel like doing is exercise. The very thought of participating in that spin class you used to breeze through, or jumping back on the treadmill for a 10km run, requires more energy than you could ever dream of having right now. So instead, a day on the sofa feels more achievable.
But, as we all know, being active makes us feel better, so how do we make it feel more attainable during pregnancy? Perhaps we just need to approach the concept of exercise a bit differently when we are pregnant.
Instead of trying to do what we did before we were pregnant, we need to think of ourselves as a new person with different goals and different abilities. After all, our bodies, our emotions and our needs are all different during pregnancy.
We need to adapt how we exercise to the changes we experience in ourselves during pregnancy, such as lowering the intensity due to fatigue and reduced lung capacity and allowing ourselves more relaxation time with specific focus on calm breathing.
Pregnancy is a time of great change in many aspects and the journey our bodies go through involves huge changes, many of which require some adjusting time. All these changes happen relatively quickly and some things are constantly changing, such as the size of our growing bump and the fluctuations in hormones.
All these changes have an impact both physically and psychologically so we can’t expect ourselves to always be able to achieve the same things as we did prior to pregnancy.
As our bodies grow throughout pregnancy our ligaments become more lax due to hormones that are preparing our bodies for birth. The ligaments that usually hold our joints in place tightly are now a little loose, much like a loose screw fitting and therefore we lose some stability around our joints.
As such, it’s really important for us not to put our joints under too much strain when we are pregnant, especially if we are doing an activity we had not done prior to pregnancy. Low impact exercises, which don’t load our joints are much better and more sustainable during pregnancy, with lower risk of injury.
Swimming and walking are among the best overall health boosters, which give a full body workout without overloading our joints too much. Pilates and yoga are also very popular as you can tailor them to your own ability, whilst working on strength and endurance, both of which are needed for labour. They are also great for focusing on breathing and incorporating some essential relaxation time into our pregnancy.
Another thing I learnt about exercise during pregnancy is not to compare myself to others. It’s so easy to freak out when you hear another woman tell you how much exercise they are doing during their pregnancy, but I soon realised how unhelpful and distracting this was for me.
We are all so different in our pregnancy experiences, so trying to achieve the same with our activity levels is pointless.
Pregnancy requires so many things from us, both physically and mentally; we need to be patient and listen to our bodies; learn to be flexible and adapt to what our bodies are telling us and how we feel.
Every pregnancy and every baby growing inside every expectant mother is different. That is one of the unique beauties of every pregnancy, no one will ever experience the same journey that you and your baby have experienced together.
So enjoy this special time and do the activities that are right for you and make you feel on top of the world during your pregnancy. And remember, this journey is just for you and your baby, so don’t feel pressured to take the path of someone else on their pregnancy journey.
Love and best wishes,
The Bamboo Baby Company x