So I would not consider myself a gym junkie by any means but I have regularly exercised throughout my life.
I am 168cm tall weighing anywhere between 65-70 kgs.
Apart from the weight benefits of exercise, I also found it a great way to de-stress from an arduous day at work and also found I slept much better when I had a work out.
So in my case, I didn’t pick up I was pregnant until I was 8 weeks and meanwhile I was exercising as normal. Now this isn’t the best thing to do if you know you are pregnant until you get the doctor’s ok. The first trimester is always the most crucial for your baby’s development so if I had known earlier, I would have stopped.
Now I am a big advocate of exercising while pregnant! But not in the way that I was used to before. I have always been a member of a gym but when I thought about the classes that I usually do i.e. Zumba, Pump, Cycle, I started worrying that it might not be so good for the baby and also as I was getting bigger, not sure if I felt comfortable being around crowded gyms so I had to look for alternatives.
Once you have passed the 12 week mark, it’s usually ok for you to take up normal exercise again.
I heard that pre-natal yoga and Pilates was fantastic to help your body to prepare for labour and work on areas like your pelvic muscle and hips which is crucial for birthing, so I started looking around.
I needed something close to work so it would make it easier to get to. I found Life & Balance http://www.lifebalance.net.au, just down the road from my work.
They run pre-natal courses which you sign up for 6 weeks which personally I found great to motivate me to go as opposed to pay per class.
I also had the dilemma of whether I should go Pilates or yoga. I have previously only done Pilates so I signed up to pre-natal Pilates. After the first class I did, I was so sore for the next 2 days. Too sore in my mind and also maybe because I was just over 3 months, I was a bit scared that I was putting too much pressure and strain on my body so I asked if I could switch to their yoga class and it was not an issue at all.
So I have been doing yoga ever since and its been fantastic. I’m now 34 weeks and still doing my classes and the stretches are really helpful especially when you hit your 3rd trimester and the body aches truly kick in.
The other exercise I do once a week which I also heard is fantastic for pregnancy is Aqua Aerobics. Now I was very skeptical about this type of exercise as I always saw it for seniors and thinking what benefit would I get out of this but I must admit its the class that I look forward to the most.
I missed the ability to do any cardio work like running and jumping, which are all things you can do in an Aqua class. You even get to do weight training as you get the foam dumbbells which create resistance to the water and mimic weight training which I also love and missed.
The weightlessness of the water is also great to make you feel “normal” in the sense that you don’t feel heavy like you do out of water and you get to kick in the water, jump around and its a great workout.
I pay $15 per class at a health gym which is great because that’s all I use the gym for.
Also one of the girls in the class was also pregnant and did the Aqua class up until 2 days before she gave birth and she was in labour for 2 hours!! What a dream! She thinks the Aqua classes really helped her and so it has given me even more motivation to go even when I don’t feel like doing anything.
And the last exercise which time and time again you hear is the best when you are pregnant is walking! I try to walk every other day that I am not exercising and in the first 2 trimesters this was a breeze, but now in the 3rd trimester, I can’t walk as fast as I used to and I definitely need more breaks but its great for your body and helps you work out without the intensity.
Now I can’t say without a doubt that exercising is the sole reason why I have been able to maintain a good weight for my pregnancy, but I do think its a contributing factor.
I started off pre-pregnant weighing in at 70kgs and I am 34+3 weeks now and I am weighing 77 kgs.
Just to give you some perspective, the average women by the end of term (40 weeks) would have put on 12kgs. Now this is only an average number. I know women who have put on 8kgs by end of term and others who have put on 20 kgs.
Hard to say what contributed to each because I didn’t really ask what they did or did not do throughout their pregnancy.
But I believe exercising not only helps with your pregnancy and the aches and pains that will come, but also helps you prepare for labour and also after you have given labour, easier to get back in shape (I will keep you posted on this one once I have given birth!).