We all know that physical activity is important and something that we should incorporate into our lives daily, but what about when we are pregnant or post pregnancy? Our bodies definitely have different needs during and post pregnancy, however, exercise can greatly benefit us and our babies. During pregnancy exercise can help reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling, increase your energy, improve your mood, promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance, may improve ability to cope with labor and makes it easier for you to get back in shape after the baby is born. Exercise postpartum can help restore muscle strength and firm up your body and can make you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of well-being.
So now that you know how great exercise is, what should you do? Prenatal and postnatal exercise definitely has modifications no matter what your fitness level. When I was pregnant and directly post pregnancy I found DVDs and classes specifically targeted to my needs were best and taught me what modifications I needed to make. I’m lucky enough to live in an urban area where I have access to amazing prenatal, postnatal, mommy & me classes and gyms that offer babysitting (once the babies are old enough). A great resource for finding out what the guidelines for exercise pre and post pregnancy is The AMERICAN CONGRESS of OBSTETRICIANS and GYNECOLOGISTS (ACOG).
It is also great to speak with a trainer who knows the appropriate modifications. I was lucky enough to chat with Noël Descalzi (founder) and Lisa Bruno (co-founder) of Work it Out Fitness Studios (WiO) located in Hoboken, NJ. If you live here definitely check it out. It’s an amazing boutique gym that offers an amazing variety of classes, prenatal classes, mommy & me classes, babysitting, and gymnastics for kids. Check out their tips below to get started:
1. Do not do any exercises which require you to lie flat on your stomach or back after the first trimester
2. Walking is a great way to stay fit throughout all 9 months of pregnancy
-When walking use the curb or stairs to do step-ups
3. Standing leg lifts are a simple exercise that moms-to-be can do at home. You can also lie on your side and do this exercise!
–WiO suggests three sets of ten leg lifts on each side
POSTNATAL – Work out with baby!
1. New moms can do pushups over baby (lying flat on floor), and give little ones a kiss each time they go down!
-Scale up the difficulty and once in the ‘up’ position push back into downward dog before going back into another pushup
2. Put baby in a carrier (or hold out in front of you) standing with legs shoulder-width apart and do three sets of 10 squats
-Scale up the difficulty and do this exercise in releve
3. Group fitness classes are great for new moms
-Classes introduce you to other new moms
-Get new moms out of the house
4. WiO suggests finding a gym that offers on-site childcare and/or mom-and-me classes, since no new mom wants to be too far from baby!
Always check with your health care provider before starting any exercise routine and to get clearance post pregnancy. For more great tips and inspiration follow Wio on their BLOG, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, & YOUTUBE.