One of the most challenging things about being pregnant for me has been modifying my exercise routine. I like working out, sweating it out at yoga class; it keeps me balanced. But with the anxiety of harming the baby in the first few weeks and then dealing with my growing belly, I’ve had to adjust expectations from my body. Watching the weight scale rise so quickly has been terrifying. I’m carrying a lot bigger than I thought I would. I feel heavy and sluggish and like I have blocked energy in my body. I’ve had to slow everything down but here’s how I’ve been sort of trying to stay fit during pregnancy.
1. Prenatal Yoga
The yoga studio is my happy place. I continued to practice Ashtanga/Iyengar at my regular studio, Monkey Yoga Shala, until 8 weeks then I transitioned to a prenatal practice with Cynthea Denise. I’ve also been going to Bloom Retreat (a boutique yoga studio and spa for women) in Walnut Creek and prenatal classes at Namaste. It’s a special gift to spend time breathing and stretching in a room full of other pregnant women. I’ve just started incorporating Vinyasa classes back into my routine, now that I know the modifications I need to make and I have energy back in my second trimester. I hope to continue yoga until the very end, even if it’s just showing up to prenatal class for a few child’s poses.
This one’s a bit controversial and there’s some sources that say you shouldn’t run at all during pregnancy, but the consensus seems to be it’s okay if you were a runner before and you take it moderately. I’ve gotten more uncomfortable over the weeks running with a heavy belly and the weight of the uterus pushing down on my bladder. So we’ll see how much longer I can last with this activity.
I walk 2 miles everyday to and from the train station to my office. I hate having to schlep my heavy purse with me during this power walk, but I’m pretty happy as long as I have my sneakers and a good podcast to listen to. Even if I accomplish nothing else physical that day, at least I have this walk.
4. 7 Minutes to Fit Book
A few years ago the New York Times published an article that instantly went viral, The Scientific 7-Minute Workout. The co-author of that article expanded on that one exercise to 50 in this new book from Chronicle, 7 Minutes to Fit.
I can do it at home at my own pace with modifications and no equipment necessary. All in 7 minutes! Though I usually do 2 reps of each at a slower pace with stretching at the end, for a total 20-minute or so work-out.
I’ve also found this site to be helpful for pregnancy-friendly ab work-outs: 5 Best Ab Exercises for Expecting Mamas.
The best piece of advice is to be in shape before pregnancy in order to stay in shape while pregnant and afterwards. I’m trying to be accepting of my alarmingly large belly. And I can’t wait to have my body back to myself. But at the same time, I’m relishing this precious time to be more still and listen to my body, marveling at all the changes the baby and I are going through right now. Please remind me of this when I’m complaining in my last few months.