Being a woman is hard enough, add pregnancy to the mix and it becomes a whole lot harder. Now, besides the uncomfortable feeling of lugging around a mini-me and all of the fun things that come along with that, like the morning sickness, the swelling, all of the different aches and pains, fatigue, and the thing that many women fear the most--that baby fat, the weight gain, OH NO!
Putting that aside for a minute, chances are you still have a life too; you might be a working mom--or mom-to-be, which is highly respectable. Whether you have to or you want to, showing the willpower and the strength to go work 9-5 while carrying a baby is nothing to be laughed at; ladies, hats off to you.
Now let’s not forget with being pregnant always comes the many different doctors’ appointments, Lamaze classes, parenting classes, and hospital visits. Does this sound like you? Pregnant? Hurting? Working? Doctor’s appointment tomorrow during your lunch break--you guessed it! Sounds to me like you’re really busy.
Now back to all that baby weight. How are you ever going to get rid of it when you’re this busy, not to mention uhm…being pregnant might just make exercising a little difficult as well! You don’t have the time or the energy to go to the gym or even for your usual 38.7 mile morning run.
No worries though, it’s not like you have to be going to the Gym like you’re a WWE Pro Wrestler John Cena, and you don’t need to look like him either. After all let’s not forget, you are pregnant; you can always hit the treadmill when the baby comes. Ha, who are we kidding, you’ll have even less time then!
On the other hand you don’t have to end up looking like Andre The Giant either, so here are some simple things you can do in your day to day life to try and keep nice and fit even while you’re pregnant. Read these tips and your baby fat will be running for the hills!!
7 Take Some Me Time
This one sounds kind of stupid I know, and some of you are saying, 'Well I have to work.' Trust me, like I said the baby comes first, and the same goes for you. Stress is never a good thing, stress can lead to all kinds of serious health issues like premature births and other complications related to birth stress.
Do whatever you can to take some ME time. Any half-decent company will let you take some pregnancy leave--I would highly advise you to do that if you can. Also, if you’re planning to get pregnant try to save up some money first so you don’t have to work as much or at all during your pregnancy. It’s just not worth all of the stress and trouble.
Now as for the baby weight, at this point you could really start doing something like going to the gym every now and then, go for a jog, pretty much anything that was mentioned in article. The moral here is that if you’re not quite as busy as you thought, then you'll have more time to focus on your fitness. Some things you can do to really take some me time are mediation or just relaxation.
Many people enjoy mediation because it really lets you clear your mind and forget about all of your troubles; which is the whole point of meditation, just clearing your mind and relaxing. During meditation you should cross your legs and sitting with your back straight. This not only helps you relax, but it also helps you maintain proper and it makes you stretch your back.
You could relax by drawing a picture, listening to some music, or snuggling up with some snacks and while watching your favorite movie. You might even consider getting a pregnancy massage. You can give yourself a massage too, a perennial massage to be more specific. This is simply the practice of stretching the skin between the vagina and the anus in order to give it more elasticity; this will have some obvious benefits when you’re giving birth.
You should tend to your mental health and happiness. Mental health can--and usually does-- directly affect your physical health. If you are sad, unhappy, unmotivated and downright depressed, then that will relate to your physical health as well. These emotions or mental issues can cause things like tiredness, fatigue, headaches and muscle pains, and even weight gain.
Being happy is a good trick to getting into a fitness state of mind and not gain too much weight during pregnancy. Now whether this means indulging in the foods you love every now and then, buying yourself something nice, or maybe even having some really good sex with your husband. Either way, your happiness will affect your physical health.
Being happy counteracts the direct physical effects of depression, happiness stops you from feeling sad and less motivated to exercise and get out of the house. Depression might even cause you to eat a lot more of the foods you shouldn’t be eating. BE HAPPY and you will be healthy!
6 Know your Limits
One of the best tips I can give busy pregnant women in terms of staying fit is to listen to your doctor, they know what’s best. If they say that you're not in a condition to exercise then don’t, it’s simply not worth it. You can always lose the weight after baby comes.
During pregnancy it's important to always stretch, whether you are exercising or not you should stretch daily. Keep in mind for just 10 minutes once or twice a day you should be stretching your muscles. I know you’re busy but you can do this, and 10 minutes isn't too much time that it would drastically effect your schedule.
Stretching is good because when you’re pregnant your body produces certain hormones that make your joint and bones slightly softer and more flexible, this can make them slightly brittle. So the stretching can really help counteract this. The stretching will keep you nice and fit, what could be better?!?
Pilates and yoga are good ways to stretch and strengthen your muscles. You can fit a session into your schedule for a 25 minute block of time, and you don’t have to go to the gym, just upload a Youtube yoga instructional video, and that’s good enough. Remember though, as has been mentioned several times now, heat is bad for your baby so don’t overheat yourself.
In terms of yoga that means that hot yoga is completely off limits; that’s way too hot, the increased temperature and blood pressure is just not good. There are some simple exercises which can be done while lying on your back, such as straight leg lifts, lifting weights vertically, glute stretches and pelvic thrusts while clenching the buttocks. These are all great exercises to keep you fit and you don’t even have to get up!
5 Light Exercise
Now I know that this article is all about fitness tips for busy pregnant women, but where there is a will there is a way. Even if you have to get up a half an hour earlier, or just do it quickly before bed, I’m pretty sure you could find the time to fit in even just 20 minutes of exercise per day. This could be pretty much anything… now I don’t really recommend sit-ups since the whole baby thing might kind of get in the way just a little bit, but what you could do is get an exercise ball. There are many good exercises that can be done for your back, thighs and abs during pregnancy using an exercise ball.
Another good fitness tool for quick exercising are pressure resistance bands, you know those big colored stretchy pieces of rubber that you twist and contort and hold in all different kinds of ways while using all of your humanly strength not to punch yourself in the face, yeah those things. Maybe start out with the green ones, some light resistance and some light stretching. This should keep your muscles nice and toned.
You could combine the resistance bands with walking or swimming for a more effective workout. The point is try to keep active, get some exercise when you can. Being pregnant is hard, especially when you’re a working mom, you maybe even have another child at home, but you can always find 20 minutes in a day to get some sweating done.
It's often hard to exercise much in the first trimester due to fatigue and nausea, but once the second trimester comes around those things go away and it becomes a little easier to exercise. For the second trimester do both weight and cardio training; do these 3 days per week each, alternating between the two.
Remember too much heat is never good, overheating can cause damage to the baby, this as well as elevated blood pressure from over-exercising can also cause damage to the baby, so remember to always go at your own pace and don’t overdo it; 45 minutes should be more than enough for fit pregnant women, those who are just starting or don't exercise regularly should take it easier and not push themselves too hard.
For the pregnant women with a higher fitness level the best weight training exercises you can try are weighted squats, side-planking, glute and doorway stretches, as well as step-ups. These are all good exercises. And for the cardio walking, cycling or swimming is recommended, as long as you're not exercising in a heated pool.
Walking is the best low impact exercise you can do. And the best part is you can walk just about anywhere you want. When you’re sitting at home and it’s one of those rare times when you have a few minutes to yourself to just sit down, but suddenly you want your latest craving, instead of calling for dear old hubby to go to the kitchen to get a snack for you, get up yourself and go get it.Save calling the hubby for your last month of pregnancy when moving about becomes quite difficult.
You should enjoy the ability to move around while you still can, because when you get in your last trimester, you'll find that getting around is a lot of effort. If you’ve not been very active so far during your first trimester, try walking 3 times a week for about 15 minutes. By the end of the first trimester try going for walks at least 4 days a week and 20 minutes per walk.
If you’re starting out from a better fitness level then try walking 5 days per week at about half an hour per walk. During the second trimester is usually the best time to exercise, it’s after the nausea has begun to wear off and before most of the weight gain. Increase your walking by at least 1 day and 5 minutes per walk from the first trimester.
For the third trimester, exercising and walking will become more difficult, especially with your belly getting bigger, nonetheless try sticking with the routine you have developed up until now; try walking up to 6 days per week, making sure that you don't over stress yourself or fall short of breath. Take breaks as you need them and don't push yourself to do any physical activity you aren't physically capable of doing.
Of course all this being said it all does depend on your running shoes and your initial fitness level; if you’re very fit go for longer walks more often, as well try speed walking (don’t go any faster, jogging or running can be bad for the baby due to the high impact nature of the exercise). As well, if your fitness level is lower than, just do a normal walk or even a slow walk.
3 Clench, Hold, Release and Repeat
This one is pretty straight forward, and it doesn’t have to just be your booty. By clench, I mean you can clench your butt, flex your stomach, or pretty much any of your other muscles. This one works well for the really busy pregnant ladies out there because it really can be done anywhere and at any time.
If you’re at home cooking dinner, you can stand in the kitchen while you chop up some green bell peppers and clench 20 times over. Clench, hold, release, repeat. You’re booty will be feeling tired and sore, a little more so than before in no time at all. But this kind of pain and fatigue is good, it will exercise your muscles and keep you nice and toned.
Or maybe you are sitting at your office chair in your cute maternity work wear typing on Friday night, all you have to do is flex your abs. Flex, hold, release, and repeat; not only will you be working up a sweat thinking about how soon can you leave for the weekend, but you might even work up a sweat from the ab flexing.
Doing this can help you relieve some stress by focusing on something else and at the same time keep your stomach just a little tighter than it would be. You get the point, it's all got to do with, CLENCH, HOLD, RELEASE, AND REPEAT.
Don't flex too hard now! You might accidentally wet yourself, but flex enough so you can feel it and hold it as long as you comfortably can.
Another thing that can be really effective in terms of the whole clenching thing are Kegel exercises. These exercises involve isolating and flexing your vaginal muscles which control urinary flow and are associated with controlling your rectum. These exercises are important because after childbirth many women, up to 70 percent experience urinary and anal incontinence; meaning they can’t control when they go.
For your Kegel exercises you're going to isolate the previously mentioned muscles, flex, hold, and release. Do this once or twice everyday counting up to 20 each time you flex, hold and release. This will increase your chances of being fully functioning down there when you’ve had your baby. As well the increased blood flow from exercising can also keep the hemorrhoids away.
Seriously though, if you’re really that busy that these tips don't fit into your schedule then there’s not all that much you can do to keep fit. And if you are that busy you might want to consider slowing it down a little, take some pregnancy leave, get your husband to look after the kids, get a baby sitter, and take some time.
My point is that your pregnancy comes first, before anything else should be the safety of your baby and with that its health. Your baby being in good health means that you need to be in good health. One good way to keep in shape, even if you are really busy is to dance. Or more accurately to dancercise, it’s like a mixture of dancing and exercise… it’s like really light cardio.
Once again you don’t need to go sign up for some special class, just get your laptop or order a DVD off of Amazon and get dancing. If you’re one of those people that loves to dance anyway, then this is perfect for you. It will relieve stress and let you have some fun at the same time. Who knows, you may even get rid of some of the extra pregnancy weight.
And if you do have some extra time every now and then you could try to get your husband to sign up for those dance classes you’ve been wanting to take with him since like... forever. Go get your dance on girl!
On a side note here, things like dancing, jogging, running, and anything else that would be considered high impact or that has quick jolting motions is not good. Just imagine a peach pit rolling around in a can, it's the same ideas as your baby in the womb while you're trying to do complicated dance moves.
As I mentioned before, the increased body temperature, stress and increased blood pressure can also be bad for your baby. In some cases too much motion and overstimulation can actually cause premature births so be careful ladies.
I know you have probably heard this a million different times from a million different people but it is some of the best advice there is. Even if it’s just a few steps try not to avoid taking them. This kind of movement is good because it is relatively easy and not too physically intensive.
Keep in mind I’m not talking about walking to the top a skyscraper, I mean for example when you are going to work in a fancy office building take the stairs up to your floor; obviously if you work on the 30th floor I wouldn't suggest taking the stairs the whole way up instead of the elevator. In this case you could always take the elevator up part of the way and walk the rest; it’s the little things that count.
And you’re boss isn’t going to say anything if you’re 35 seconds later because you took the stairs, he wouldn’t dare start yelling at the raging incarnation of hormones and pickles that is you.
Even while you’re shopping at the mall looking for a comfortable maternity sweater, don’t take the escalator to the second floor maternity store, take the stairs and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much quicker it was than waiting for the elevator.
And common ladies, there’s never a time when you're too busy to squeeze in some quick shopping. Taking the stairs is good because it's more than just walking, the up and down nature of the stairs means you are working all kinds of different muscles, kind of like when football players run up and down the stadium steps--just not quite as angry and manly looking.
Point is, keep taking the stairs whenever you can and you will see a difference. Back to the topic of walking though.