May 23, 2016

Exercising for Two: Tips for an Awesome Fit Pregnancy

This is a guest blog post by Krystal Troyer.

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Hello Mom On the Move blog readers! I’m Krystal and I’m SO excited to share this post with you. Thanks to Mom on the Move for having me!

Exercise during pregnancy is a subject that I am very passionate about. The benefits are numerous! Not only does it make you feel better and give you more energy, but studies show that exercise during pregnancy can improve the journey through pregnancy, as well as make the labor and delivery easier and less stressful on your body.

BENEFITS OF EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY

It is a common misconception that exercise can be harmful to your pregnancy and that if you were inactive before pregnancy that you shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy. It is important that you talk to your OB about this, but unless you are high risk most doctors would suggest that you do start! If you are thinking about getting pregnant and you do not currently exercise, I would say to start now! Your pregnancy will be much healthier and happier if you do. Let’s walk through some of the benefits!

1. Exercise decreases pregnancy discomforts: Exercise helps keep the minor discomforts of pregnancy at bay. This includes leg cramps, swelling, bloating, constipation, back pain, and varicose veins. It also helps or may even prevent gestational diabetes.

2. Improved Body Composition: Women who exercise during their pregnancy experience less overall weight gain and body fat gain compared to pregnant women that do not. This will make it easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.

3. Increases Muscular Strength & Endurance: Strength training during pregnancy has so many benefits! It decreases your risk of joint and ligament injury while the effects of the hormones progesterone and relaxin are working against you by loosening your hips and pelvis! It will also help make the process of labor easier on your body. Try thinking of labor as an athletic event. You are going to need a lot of stamina and to be able to use the correct muscles with the correct force. The right routine during pregnancy can help with this. It can also help increase your body’s stamina, endurance, and energy levels.

4. Improved Support of the Pelvic Organs: A lot of stress happens in the pelvic organs during and after pregnancy that can lead to some really unwanted side effects like bladder or uterine prolapse and urinary incontinence. Exercise helps to strengthen the pelvic floor and this is a VERY important part of the body to take care of!

5. Better Sleep: Stretching your body and promoting nice blood flow through the muscles will help you sleep better. Exercise also improves your mood and energy throughout the day.

6. Self Confidence: Weight gain and a growing belly are an absolute with growing a tiny human, but it’s not always easy on the ego. Exercise has been proven to aid self-confidence. Since I am eating well (with a few treats and indulgences here and there of course) and exercising regularly, I know that my little babe needs the weight that I am gaining.

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FORMS OF EXERCISE FOR AN EXPECTANT MOM

There are many different forms of exercise to choose from. If you participated in regular exercise activity prior to becoming pregnant, it is probably fine to continue in your current routine. It’s very important not to overdo it, always use caution and listen to your body. You should avoid activities that include contact sports, extensive hopping or jumping, and activities where falling is more likely. That leaves a variety of exercise choices available to you, here are a few!

*Prenatal Yoga is a great option! Not only is it low impact, but very relaxing and great for opening the hips and preparing your body for the work ahead.

*Weight Training is great for the body during pregnancy. It helps build muscle tone and strength, which you are really going to need during labor as well as afterwards, when you are toting that little babe around with all of his essentials! Contrary to popular belief, squatting is a GREAT exercise to perform during pregnancy. Squatting during labor may help open your pelvic outlet to help your baby descend, so practice squatting during pregnancy! I’m a huge advocate of strength training, I’m still doing many of the same lifts that I did prior to pregnancy, including squats, deadlifts, lunges, chest press, rows, shoulder press, etc. The weight is considerably lighter at this point than it was pre pregnancy, but my body enjoys the work and I know it will thank me later.

*Cardiovascular Training is always helpful, and there are so many options. Early in my pregnancy I was still able to keep up with high intensity cardio sessions, and as time has went on I have scaled it back to some low impact steady state cardio. You can use cardio machines for this, I will typically use the elliptical, the bike or the treadmill. Walking is usually deemed safe for everyone. It is easy on your body and joints, and it doesn’t require extra equipment. It is also easy to fit into a busy schedule. Lately I have been taking my dogs on extra-long walks, or if I use the treadmill I will turn the incline up and walk at a brisk pace. Swimming is a great choice as well, many women use this as their main source of exercise during pregnancy.

Exercise can be a great path to enjoying your journey through pregnancy. Remember to always consult with your OB about what is healthy and safe for you during your pregnancy. I hope that you picked up a tip or two from this post! Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and comfortable pregnancy! Thanks again Mom on the Move for having me!

Xoxo
Krystal Troyer

Bio:
Krystal Troyer is a Denver native with a passion for fitness. She offers online training and is an experienced physique competitor. She is focused on empowering individuals to make healthy choices and live a balanced lifestyle. She is currently 32 weeks pregnant with her first baby. Follow Krystal on Instagram

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