Pregnancy and Fitness, What Did You Ladies Do?

Updated on July 18, 2011
A.G. asks from Houston, TX
9 answers

I recently lost 25 lbs and had 20 more to go when i found out i was pregnant about a week ago. I had undertaken a year long journey to work out every day for at least 40 minutes and eat all good things and balanced. I was on month 5. Now i realize i have to modify it and do not plan on losing any weight, merely shaping and toning and maintaining. I have a few questions from those who are experienced.

1. Is any ab toning right now just utterly pointless?
2.Can i work out to the level i have been until i start to show?
3Ive read that runners can keep running through their pregnancy, is that the same for me and my routines?
4. Will working out throughout my entire pregnancy help me with the birth and the losing of the weight afterwards?

I realize that some of the moms on here might have very educated answers to these questions that will help me immensely . I also want answers from people who have their own experiences, good or bad about pregnancy and fitness.

I do plan on finishing my goal year of fitness, and tacking on another 6 months. I was just hoping not to have to rely on soley water aerobics and pregnancy videos.

**** routines are jogging, power walking, rollerblading, yoga, pilates, stability ball and strength band, weights, aerobics, cardio, kettle ball, medicine ball, ive been targeting upper body and abs

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answers from Jacksonville on

I did the elliptical until the day my water broke. I tried to keep running but it just wasn't comfortable for me. If it feels ok to you then you should keep doing it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dear A. -

Good for you for wanting to continue staying fit! I cringe when I hear people assume that just bc they're pregnant, they're going to get all fat and out of shape - you can absolutely be a strong, fit mommy and you won't regret it! The biggest thing is that you will have to modify your routines, but as long as you've been doing them up to this point (and are careful to listen to your body) it's safe and it makes bouncing back so much easier.

1. Ab toning is fine and will help you to regain your waistline after preg. After 20 weeks, limit exercises where you lie on your back so that you are not restricting bloodflow to the uterus via the vena cava. If you feel lightheaded or strange at all, shift your position. I continued to do planks (regular and side planks) to keep my abs toned, as well as arm exercises w/hand weights on a balance ball. The instability works your abs even though you don't feel like you're doing an "ab" exercise. Avoid floor ab work, esp if you develop diastasis recti (separation of the ab muscles to accommodate your growing belly). Your ob / or midwife can help you check for this.

2. The rule of thumb is to listen to your body and its limitations. As your body will naturally begin to pump up to 50% more blood, you will reach your max heart rate sooner. I wouldn't recommend exceeding it or staying in that zone very long.

3. You didn't mention what your current routines are, but yes, I've known yoga, pilates, aerobics instructors and runners that continued their practice all the way through pregnancy. Don't beat yourself up about modifications and limitations! Embrace them in this temporary period and know that you'll be able to hit it again full force after the bebe arrives.

4. Working out through my pregnancy prepared me for labor and post partum like nothing else could have. The act of participating in exercise is the act of willingly putting your body in an uncomfortable challenge, finding strength IN that challenge (not around it!) and working through it. This will help you in labor and delivery.

Increased blood flow = increased oxygen flow and efficiency to baby

Staying active can keep your weight gain in check, blood pressure within a healthy range, and give you strength, confidence and energy. WIN!!

Please remember some things to stay mentally healthy as you try to stay fit -

1. Your body needs to gain weight at this time, so please don't get worked up or try to fight that or it will cost your baby nutrients (not to mention you'll have no energy at all). I remember working hard and still seeing cellulite on the backs of my legs that I couldn't get rid of. I found a place of peace in telling myself that if I wanted to nurse, my body needed to develop some fat stores. Sure enough, within weeks of nursing pp, it was gone.

2. Keep eating, but eat efficiently - maximize nutrients: combine protein, carbs and some fats in all meals and opt for complex carbs (WHOLE GRAINS) and protein in your snacks. Sugar will crash you and you'll need to take in more of it to stay energized. It's useless calories.

3. Spend some time stretching, breathing, and focusing each day. Let yourself marvel and -and be thankful for - the miracle of your body!

4. I highly recommend a chiropractor during this time if you aren't already going. I went all throughout pregnancy, sometimes twice a week, and I don't know what I would have done without it!


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answers from New York on

I ran daily before I got pregnant and my doctor had advised me that it was safe to continue running as long as I felt balanced (until my belly popped) then he recommended that I drop back to a power walk as long as I was able to do so.

You're pregnant. You're not sick or disabled. Many women drop weight at the start of their pregnancies b/c they eat better, no drinking, etc. In general most women are healthier during pregnancy than before.

Ab toning is pretty pointless right now, but you can (and should) continue with light free weights to keep your tone in your upper body.

If you feel like you are overexerting, you probably are and should tone it down a bit. Otherwise, it's better to maintain your level of activity than to stop altogether.

I ran/walked right up until the morning my water broke. It felt good (especially towards the end) to just move.

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answers from Rochester on

When i was pregnant I modified my routine...continued to do yoga, dance, and weight lift (just use much lighter weights, etc.) and walk, walk, walk! oh yea...and keigels!

I would say that it would be OK to maintain the intensity of your workouts, but be sure to take regular breaks and drink lots of water.

Working out will help you with your pregnancy and birth.

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answers from Syracuse on

I ran before pregnancy and continued to run throughout both of my pregnancies. I just took it easy and always ran at a pretty easy pace. If I was tired, I'd take the day off. I decided to just forget about any speed work and racing while pregnant. I also did a pre-natal workout dvd by Erin O'brien that I liked, it was more toning for upper and lower body. Working out during pregnancy really helped me to feel my best and I do believe it helped me during labor. I gained 25-30 lbs (recommended amount) with each pregnancy and lost the weight pretty easily after by nursing and running. Best of luck with your pregnancy!

Just wanted to add, that eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and avoiding junk food will help you to feel your best and reach your goals.

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answers from Wausau on

Hi A.!
1. No (IMO)
2. Yes (but I would avoid rollerblading b/c falling would be dangerous)...just make sure to keep your heart rate below XXX (Whatever your doctor says)...I think it's 140 bpm.
3. Yes, as long as you feel good (no dizziness, shortness of breath, etc)
4. Yes.

When I was pregnant, I mainly stuck to walking as my form of exercise. I know people who have ran throughout their pregnancies without difficulties, but I don't think I could do that. Once in a while I'd do the elliptical but then I'd start having contractions so I quickly gave it up.

Be sure to drink lots of water, whatever you do!! :-) Good luck to you!!!

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answers from Dallas on

I did Pregnant Yoga. It was great for stretching my aching body and keeping things tight. I also changed my mind set about eating. Rather than thinking what sounds good, I started thinking...what does baby need? I was always thinking in terms of how to get folic acid, protien, calcium, etc. When you are trying to meet nutritional needs, you don't end up at Braums thinking ..I'm pregnant I can have whatever I want.

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answers from Chicago on

Talk to your OB but unless you are high risk, you can generally do Everything you were before getting prego and at the same intensity- exceptions would be sprinting and unsafe sports like downhill or water skiing! I ran till 30 weeks with #2 and 32 with #3, I did circuit training on my due date with #3 in fact-he was 2 days late! You can keep doing abs- it helps with labor and pushing and is definitely NOT pointless- your muscles will go back easier and muscle tone will be improved. Maintaining your muscle mass- not just doing cardio will definitely help with losing weight after so if you weren't already doing weight you might want to start with doc approval. Eat healthy and keep your intake of food to what is needed for baby and don't go crazy overload. It will really help. I put on about 8 lbs of muscle during my recent third pregnancy- but I am not the norm, I know. You might want to cut yourself some slack...everyday is a little much- listen to your body and rest when you need :) even I target 5 days a week usually :) congrats!

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answers from Houston on

Well, congrats on your news!!

I think that you should certainly consult with your doc regarding your current health. Ab workouts do make sense because you are still teaching your muscles where to go back to. Once you start showing, though, lighten up on the ab exercises because your muscles will have started separating and you don't want them to get "stuck" like that. Anything low impact should be fine, as long you are otherwise healthy and the pregnancy is going well. You don't want to jar your uterus.

I actually lost weight during my pregnancy, and I told my doc that I would. I started a little overweight, due to GI issues that changed my body chemistry. I knew that once those hormones kicked in--and with my already healthy diet--the baby would take all that extra weight from me; I was NOT trying to lose weight. I did a lot of walking. I am a grazer, so I stocked up on carrots and fruit, etc. It's okay if you eat ALL THE TIME, just make sure that you're eating good stuff. Also, do NOT eat for two. Unless your baby is just too small, don't you worry if you are not gaining a lot of weight.

I hardly showed, and never took a day off work. In fact, when I informed my manager that I would be taking maternity leave (one month out), he was surprised to learn that I was even pregnant.

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