Have you heard that active pregnant women feel and sleep better? Did you know that exercise during pregnancy can shorten labor time? What about the fact that babies of moms who worked out during pregnancy may show better physical coordination?
These are just a few potential benefits of working out while pregnant. Now, all that said, we get it. The idea of taking on additional physical stress all while ensuring maternity-safe workouts can be daunting. That’s why we checked in with our amazing Coach Lauren. She’s got extensive knowledge to help moms-to-be become as strong, effective, and confident as possible before giving birth.
Physical strength equals mental strength
“All the research shows that the stronger you are before, the easier your birth and recovery will be,” Lauren says. “There must be a sense of empowerment when you’re working out while pregnant, getting that strength, which just isn’t about being able to lift a weight. Being strong does something to your psyche and confidence. Having all of that physical and mental strength going into birth sets you up with an advantage.”
Stay safe when exercising during pregnancy
Lauren offers prenatal workout advice. “Don't raise your heart rate too high,” she advises. “And don't do anything wildly new.” She also reminds you not to twist. “The abdominals are not really designed to hold that load,” she says.
Pay attention to your glutes
When working with her pregnant clients, Lauren refers back to the human body’s most primal patterns: squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, pulling, and breathing. “Focus on those, and you’re golden because they’re foundational. We can also look at specific body parts,” she explains. “The glutes, for example, tend to be underactive, because as soon as the belly starts growing and pulls your pelvis into an anterior tilt, your glutes lengthen and therefore weaken.”
After you start your glute training, Lauren advises moving on to working the pectorals and loading the scapula. When strong, those body parts hold your posture and prevent neck pain so you can hold your baby properly.
Don’t forget breathwork
Breathwork increases circulation and encourages your muscle fibers to communicate. “Just use easy belly breathing,” Lauren advises.
Prenatal workout adjustments
Lauren is an advocate for working on mobility consistently throughout your pregnancy, as it gives you the “freedom of movement and blood flow.”
For the first trimester, you can keep your pre-pregnancy activity — with your doctor’s oversight and approval, of course. Once you move into the second and third trimesters, Lauren suggests performing any typical prone movements on your side.
Above all, Lauren says to listen to your body and use your intuition, because that’s what can make the most successful pregnancy and transition into motherhood.
Disclaimer: We recommend that you consult your doctor or other health professional before you begin an exercise program or if you have questions or concerns about your health. If, at any time during your workout you do not feel well, please stop immediately and seek medical advice.