|Pregnancy is just beautiful. Period.|
The truth is, exercise is good for you, even when you are pregnant. And a good moderate exercise program will probably help you maintain your weight and give you more stamina in the delivery room. What an exercise program, no matter how light or aggressive, will NOT do is the following:
1. Make your hips big enough to safely deliver your baby.
2. Eliminate risks of pre-eclampsia.
3. Prevent placental abruptions.
4. Counter any of the genetic or structural reasons you might "fail to progress" or need a C-section.
5. Make labor any less painful.
6. Prevent developmental disorders
|Being able to do cool stuff with your kids is awesome.|
All in all. Its hard. And if you are a mother or about to become one, I'm proud of you for just getting through it.
Bottom line, everyone is different. Just because runway supermodel mom can wear a thong two days after having her 7th baby doesn't mean you should be able to as well. How we carry our babies, how our deliveries go, and how we recover is entirely unique to our bodies, our genetics, and how well we're cared for, both by ourselves and our loved ones, during this time.
|Watching them get awesome at their|
own stuff is even better.
So, back to the exercise part. Not all pregnancies are planned so if this news is sprung upon you suddenly, well, keep doing what you're doing until you can't do it anymore. And that pretty much goes for all of you. But, I have a few caveats. Do be careful in the second and third trimester. Your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This is to relax the ligaments in your hips so your baby can come out more easily. It will also make your ribcage bigger and make you go up a shoe size. Some of these things reverse with time, some do not. But, if you're loading your joints with weight or ballistic movements, realize you may be getting a bit more stretch and stress than you normally would. You can lift weights, but I would not be maxing anything out at this time.
Also, although your baby is pretty well cushioned, placental abruption can happen from falls. My husband is an ER doctor and has seen it often enough not to discount this risk. A full abruption means the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. You can imagine what happens next.
Additionally, if you're like me, pregnancy brings a great wave of uncoordination. I couldn't really pick up anything without a 50-75% chance of dropping it immediately. Complex weighted movements or anything requiring balance would have been a terribly bad idea for me. They may not be a bad idea for others, but they were for me. So, I tried to just walk in a straight line as much as possible and I lifted weights while seated or standing still.
And then what about after baby comes? We all want to get out of this weird deflated not-my-body fatsuit we've seem to acquired, but we need to think about what has happened to it:
1. Your core muscles got devastated and you've learned to move without engaging it at all. This causes an upper/lower body separation and that has to be fixed asap.
2. You lost some muscle mass. This is why you may be back to your non-pregnancy weight, but look squishier in the mirror. (My kids used to like to play with my tummy skin like playdough, talk about an ego-smack.)
3. You're probably really tired and a little stressed out from having a new little one(s) added to the family.
4. Your joints are loose and not likely to firm up for about 5-6 months.
|This is the stuff that actually matters. |
Family. Happiness. Love.
Taking baby out for walks in a stroller or in a sling of some kind is great for getting your aerobic exercise in. And, they usually sleep, which is even better. I would definitely not recommend doing any kind of situps or ab flexion exercises, but standing core work (with a support belt if needed) is a great way to get your core back into shape. Medicine ball exercises such as Russian twists, ball slams, side throws, or just moving it around your body will teach your core to re-engage. Once you can engage your core more readily, add in some pushups and squats. Some bodyweight work or even light resistance training will help your core get back into shape. Light kettlebell swings, windmills, and presses can start to get your hips and shoulders involved in your core stabilization. Without restoring that core strength first, you're going to have a hard time doing anything else well.
So, in conclusion, don't believe the hype. Try and get some moderate exercise during your pregnancy, but if you can't, no big deal. We all can't be superheros, but like I said, just getting through that delivery with a healthy baby is a pretty big deal. Be proud of yourself for that because you just got the best prize ever given out for anything. Take it easy on yourself in the post-partum period as well. Time will solve most of you post-pregnancy problems and taking a moderate approach to recovery will serve you better in the long run.