Let's start with why. Why exercise? There is enough change and trauma and work that your body does in pregnancy... why push it to exercise too?
My Reasons Why
- Vanity - By 20 weeks I had gained 20 full pounds (The "average" is to gain TEN... ACK!). I didn't expect to lose weight by exercising, but I thought maybe exercising could slow the flow of poundage and lessen the pudge by the end. The way I was headed, there was going to be pudge abound!! I ended up only gaining 13 more pounds over the next additional 20 weeks and I lost flab as baby girl grew and gained. I never got super puffy and the pudge stayed at bay. YAY!
- Stress Relief - We have dealt with medical mysteries within the house and my dad was diagnosed with cancer during this pregnancy too. The stress of those things, plus the toll of daily life with 4 kids ages 7 and under was enough to pull anyone under. Exercising was my release and kept me positive and centered. I looked forward to it and I felt better afterward. Endorphins were working fo' sho'.
- Energy & Well-being - After the first 20 weeks, I felt wonderful. My energy stayed high. My level of comfort was awesome. I never hit that drag-out tired phase. It's really a win win win which spurred onto emotional benefits. I was happy because I felt so well and being happy just trickles down to everything else in life. :)
- Health Benefits - In past pregnancies I would sometimes have protein in my urine (lovely, I know) and would eventually swell (ankles, fingers, and eventually my face -beautiful-). My blood pressure was always low (105/70ish), buuuut: This pregnancy: no protein at all, no swelling until 38 weeks and it's super minimal even still (and it's been pretty hot out!) and my BP had been in the 80's over 50-60's range the whole time. My body is responding to exercise... and positively. Awesome.
Overall, other than the motivation to actually push play and DO it, there wasn't a downside. Not at all. I'm so happy I stayed active.
|This was a "sweat pic" taken on a day when they really made me work for it.|
Did you workout the whole pregnancy? How often did you exercise?
Here's my breakdown for this specific pregnancy...
Weeks 4-6: I worked out daily.
Weeks 6-13: At 6 weeks I got slammed with morning sickness and tried to workout, but petered out to just not working out at all. Stopping a workout to hold back gagging... no fun. Once I was gaggy, the workout out ceased.
Weeks 13-20: I worked out maybe once a week. I was still feeling rough until 20 weeks so I listened to my body and took it easy.
Weeks 20-26: I worked out about 3-4 times a week. I mixed prenatal workouts (youtube) with some standard ones. I think at this point I was pretty much only doing YouTube workouts. I will share links below.
Weeks 26-37: At week 26 I joined a Beach Body Challenge and needed to workout 6 days a week doing the 21 Day Fix. At first I felt like "Ooof I'm too pregnant for this." or "Wow, yeah, this is hard." Ya know what? I pushed past that hump and got stronger. I finished the challenge and continued on working out 6 days a week. On days I was tired I would do prenatal yoga or a prenatal YouTube workout. On the days I felt good (most days) I did one of the 21 Day Fix workouts, following the modifier as needed. I can write a post up about what modifications I followed, but in general I just listened to my body and pushed when I knew I could.
Week 37 & 38: These were my transition weeks. Baby girl was posterior and I felt the need to tone down workouts to let my body prep for labor without things being pinched and tightened. I wanted to let nature do that it needed without me adding stress. I know others have worked out to their due dates, but it felt right for me to let baby girl find a better position and rest my body before labor. During these 2 weeks I did the 21 Day Fix once or twice and did prenatal stretching or a workout another 2 days.
Weeks 39 & 40+: These weeks I decided to keep up the normal life of cleaning, organizing, laundry, running after kids, etc, but I stopped formal workouts. This is my rest time. This is my time to prep for baby. I plan to begin 6+ workouts a week once I have healed from delivery, and this is my time to take a hiatus before I get back to working out. I have put in a stretching video and a squat workout, but overall these weeks have been low key to let my body prepare for labor.
What workouts did you do?
The biggest one was the 21 Day Fix. I borrowed mine from a friend, so it's not actually even mine to keep. The price isn't cheap, but it is a really great workout series and one that you could legitimately do through all 3 trimesters. The workouts are 25 minutes long and there were 4 of the workouts that I felt worked very well in pregnancy: Total Body Cardio Fix, Cardio Fix, Dirty Thirty, and Lower Fix. There is also an Upper Fix, Pilates, Yoga, and Plyometrics.
You can also do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I tried that out and could modify for pregnancy pretty easily.
My YouTube stash:
She has 3 workouts per trimester and they are really great!
This channel has a TON of workout videos. There are crunch-less ab workouts which would be great for the second and third trimesters. There are cario workouts, strength. Overall, just good stuff. There is a super lot of them so you have to wade through, but this channel alone could keep you plenty busy.
This is an 8 minute workout that is all squats and is GREAT for preparing for baby!
These workouts tend to be on the easier side, which is good for a day you are tired or don't want to workout but will anyway. Denise Austin is also pretty cheesy, but whatever. :P
I think that's most of them. You can search for "prenatal pilates" or "prenatal yoga" or "pregnancy workout" or "prenatal workout" or even trimester specific workouts and there are a TON more. These are the ones I tried and liked. :)
As far as pregnancy modifications, I stuck with staying off the floor after my first trimester, around 32 weeks I stopped any jumpy moves and kept everything low impact, and I would grab a drink of water if my heart rate felt to high to give it a chance to come back down. I always felt ok challenging myself and pushing myself, but if something really didn't feel right, I would tone it down. Listen to your body, but don't make excuses. I learned that you can push and work and tone and stay very fit in pregnancy... you are pregnant, not powerless. :)