Fitness During Pregnancy
Happy Wednesday Everyone,
I wanted to find a way to stay connected to my growing business during this time, so I thought I would write a blog post every couple weeks pertaining to all things pregnancy and delivery related. My first post is, as the title eludes to, fitness during pregnancy! Fitness and health have always been huge passions of mine. As a plant-based eater and an avid fitness junkie, this post was even more enjoyable to write.
There has been a long-standing myth that women should not workout while pregnant. In fact, it almost seems like society has decided that if you’re pregnant you should spend your days on the couch catering to your food cravings. As mobile beings that get energy and endorphins from exercise, this could not be further from the truth! Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to reduce pregnancy related pains, improve elasticity and flexibility, and promote happiness. What’s there not to like about that!
One of the main reasons I became a doula is not so much to make labor easier on women myself, but to empower them to tap into the strength and tenacity we have already been given! More and more studies are showing that women who feel more empowered and supported during their birth have a more positive experience. Just like Thomas the Tank Engine said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” Isn’t that sometimes how we have to talk to ourselves during a run or when holding a yoga pose that feels uncomfortable? Exercise absolutely nurtures and promotes that feeling of empowerment! When women exercise during pregnancy, they are not only keeping their body fit and prepared for the physical challenges of labor, but they are practicing and preparing for the undoubtedly challenging mental aspect of it as well. I recently listened an interesting podcast by “The Homebirth Midwife” about prenatal yoga. It spoke specifically about it being an incredible asset and preparation for pregnancy, labor, and even into the first postpartum weeks of motherhood. Learning how to slow down, breathe deeply, and trust your body are all key aspects of yoga that will directly translate to labor. I know many doulas who double as yoga instructors because they believe so passionately in the benefits and correlations between it and birthing experiences.
With all of this being said, it is important to pick the right type of exercise while pregnant. My fiancé would categorize me as a “rock climbing addict,” but once we get pregnant I will certainly have to dial that back. Light to moderate cardio, hiking, resistance training, yoga, and swimming are all incredible ways to keep the body moving during pregnancy. However any type of contact sport or potentially dangerous activity such as climbing, surfing, skiing, or snowboarding are discouraged due to the potential to cause abdominal trauma. And of course, be mindful; listen to your body. If you are in your first trimester and you are vomiting every day, take it easy! Maybe go for a short walk, but always listen to how you are feeling.
There are so many resources, pregnancy related exercises, and yoga classes to take if you need some encouragement. Please reach out to me if you need either motivation or direction regarding this area. I know for me, food and fitness play a major role in my mental and physical health each day. I hope everyone who reads this finds even a small amount of time today to get up and move around. Until next time! Thanks for checking out my blog!
Emily Mulvey, CLD
*Please note*. This is not to be used as medical advice. As a doula, I am not qualified to give medical advice. Please consult with your OB or Midwife for individualized recommendations.