When I first went to see my midwife during my first trimester, I had a bunch of questions since this little nugget is my first baby. All those questions were related to things I was allowed to eat or not to eat and what I could do/ not do. And let’s be real, does anyone know how to stay active during pregnancy?
Being an active person, I wasn’t too happy about needing to nap every day because my energy levels were just depleted. At first I thought something was wrong. I woke up tired, ate tired, worked tired, talked tired. I mean you get the point, everything just didn’t feel right and was exhausting, to a point where I couldn’t even care about exercise.
It took some time to readjust and I wish someone would have told me working out wasn’t the priority during this period of time. I just needed to slow down to finally allow my body to understand what the heck is going on. I was in need of a guide but didn’t have one since I am the first of my friends going through this journey. Now that I am faaar from this first trimester, I want to share some strategies for people to stay active during their pregnancy, especially the second two trimesters.
Small disclaimer, if this is your first pregnancy and everything is going well, DON’T WORRY! This doesn’t mean there is something wrong; everybody reacts differently. Even though your time might not be as hard as mine, these tips are great for anybody who is growing a new baby inside of them and would like to stay as healthy as possible and prepare the body to carry a new front load.
Listening to what your body is telling you
I am a big fan of bullet journaling. This format of a journal basically allows you to write whatever you want while still tracking habits.
I first tracked my vitamins to make sure I was taking the appropriate amount every day; I tracked my caffeine intake, green food, exposure to sunlight, etc. But what turned out to be really helpful was the part where I put a timer down for 20 minutes. 20 minutes where I would allow myself to free write.
This was REAL messy at first. But it felt nice to not worry. It was just about getting my thoughts, random ones, on paper and letting them go. I would make sure to read what I wrote. Without any judgments, after a certain period of time, I realized while reading those free writing messes that I was very stressed.
This is normal, but it was nice to have it on paper. It made things more real and I felt like I was finally listening to what my body was trying to tell me. I needed to slow down!
So write down your thoughts. When you’re writing don’t try to bring up the same things over and over again. It defeats the purpose of free writing. You shouldn’t be thinking ahead of time about what you are going to write. Just keep writing for 20 minutes, without taking a break, if possible. Let: “I don’t know”or “huh this is so freaking annoying!” be written a bunch of times, that’s totally fine! Just keep writing. After each week, this would be a good time to try to find a correlation in your writing. It’s going to take time and might not show up for the first three weeks, but it will at some point.
It is very easy to feel overwhelmed during this time (which by the way you have all the right to feel this way). However, letting those thoughts and emotions consume you is not good for you or your baby. The first trimester is the most important trimester, in my opinion, because it is the start of everything for your baby.
What you eat is very important (as well as during your entire pregnancy, because it is what your baby is going to be eating as well) and how you feel is important. It’s easy to get lost in all those new emotions and bodily changes. For many people finding a pause button is hard. In my case, I figured yoga would be a great thing. But it didn’t work so well because I wasn’t sure what to do.
While yoga might be something that any new mother may want to try it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t what I needed. I needed to recenter my thoughts and emotions so I turned to meditation. It changed everything. I practiced meditation a while ago but let it go during my last semester in undergrad. But this time, I forced myself to meditate once a day! It doesn’t have to be at a specific time, especially during that time of the pregnancy.
You shouldn’t pressure yourself to meditate. It is only when you feel like now is the time to calm down and re-center during that day. When that time would come, I lit some candles and incense and opened a window. Taking full deep breaths to slowly calm me down and calm my thoughts down. I basically made sure to set the mood. Not all of these steps are mandatory but they were definitely steps that helped me make this meditation happen every day (or almost every day). Once that was all set, I turned my meditation app or just google a video on YouTube.
Move Your Body
Moving is probably the last thing you want to do if you are in the same situation as I was. My bed was calling me 24/7. So, getting myself to workout wasn’t easy. That is why I am not telling you to go to the gym. But have a mat or some designated area for you to do just a few exercises. There are four in total I recommend.
If you do those four exercises correctly and multiple times a week (2 times minimum), don’t feel guilty for not having the energy to go to the gym. If you are in full energy mode though, please make the time to go to the gym and get a good workout in. You will be thanking yourself later when your baby triples in size.
Safe, Effective Exercises
Put a mini band right above your knees (if you don’t have a mini band, do it without but hold each rep for 10 seconds)
Lay on your back, bend your legs and bring your feet close towards your butt.
Now, while trying to just engage only/mostly your behind (this means no lower legs -hamstrings or quad or calves’ engagement), squeeze your glutes (like you are holding a little farty-fart) and bring your hips up to form a bridge.
Do these 15 times
Once those 15 hip bridges are done, keep your hips high, bring your feet close together in the center while still having your feet aligned underneath your knees.
Bring your knees away from each other. Now very often those hips want to drop down a little bit, fight against that urge and feel the burn in your side butt.
Bring your knees in, hips at the same level.
This is one rep.
You have 15 more reps ahead of you.
Some other ways to stay active during pregnancy:
These four exercises are very important because they help strengthen your pelvic floor, keep your trunk strong to help the lower back deal with the future baby front load, and keep your spine in movement to prevent stiffness.
If you need help safely staying active during your pregnancy then visit our website and schedule a complimentary consultation.