There has been lots of talk on social media lately about staying fit in pregnancy. And with good reason. An active pregnancy is empowering. It will make you feel strong, fit and it may make labour easier. The NHS fully encourage women to stay active in order to help them to cope with pregnancy weight gain, assist with labour and get back into shape in the the postnatal period. But how much is too much and how can you exercise safely?
The yogi answer is the same one that applies to many, many questions. Just listen to your body. Pregnancy is a time when it is easier than usual to tune in and really listen to what is going on both physically and mentally as you are going through so much change. Shape change, changes in balance and posture, huge hormonal shifts, emotion imbalance – it is all going on. And we need to work with these changes, not against them.
What does this mean practically? Well there is no need to overdo it. Take it easy in the first trimester – walking may be enough. From the second trimester onwards, try walking, swimming and yoga, all great forms of gentle exercise. If you want to do more, go to a proper prenatal class (if you’re in London, Frame offer a huge selection) where exercise will be modified for pregnancy or work with a trainer who has pre and post-natal expertise.
I can’t stress enough the importance of letting go of any king of striving and competivetivness during the prenatal period. Staying fit and active will make you feel great. Pushing yourself, worrying about your weight and losing the sort of fitness you had pre-pregnancy will make you feel awful and could endanger you or your baby. As I often remind myself, you have a lifetime to perfect your handstand practice. Don’t do it in pregnancy.
Pics – thanks to mum_hood at Frame.