Pregnancy and Fitness


Written by Carmen Engledowl

Pregnancy is exhilarating, exciting, and life-changing. You might be flaunting glowing skin, great hair, and loads of energy. On the other hand, it is also exhausting, stressful, and scary. The miracle of life sometimes means Mommy is uncomfortable and dealing with heartburn, mood swings, and morning (er’ all-day) sickness. Things are swollen, hormones are causing acne in places, and the forgetfulness that is pregnancy-brain is inconveniencing daily life. It’s important to find support and friendship. Connecting and chatting with others who are going through the same thing as you can make you feel so much better about all the “extra” things that come along with pregnancy. The gym is a great place to do that!

There are so many benefits to staying active throughout your pregnancy. Regular exercise during and after pregnancy can alleviate pain, improve posture, build the stamina needed for labor and delivery, and relieve stress. Doctors are increasingly encouraging women to exercise regularly, both during and after their pregnancies. Both pregnancy and the labor process take a lot out of you, so these exercises can help you keep your strength and endurance up to at least make the process a little easier!

Don’t just take our word for it! Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) tote the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle for pregnant women saying, “Women who begin their pregnancy with a healthy lifestyle (e.g., exercise, good nutrition, non-smoking) should be encouraged to maintain those healthy habits. Those who do not have healthy lifestyles should be encouraged to view the preconception period and pregnancy as opportunities to embrace healthier routines.” Additionally, “Pregnancy is an ideal time for behavior modification and for adopting a healthy lifestyle because of increased motivation and frequent access to medical supervision.” If you don’t have the healthiest lifestyle now, what better reason to start than having a little person inside you being dependent on your health? Don’t just start being healthy for yourself, do it for your baby too!

The ACOG assures us that there is minimal risk in engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy. They actually found that it improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being!

All workouts, including ones for those who are expecting, should include aerobic or cardio work, strength training, and stretching.

Here are some areas to focus on when pregnant and that you can expect to do in our Prenatal Fitness Class:

1. Strengthening your three-dimensional core musculature to help keep the lumbopelvic complex from making postural shifts that lead to pain. Incorporate exercises like the wood chop or the side plank.

2. Focus on the posterior chain to counteract all the added weight on the front of the body. Strengthen the upper back and glutes, as well as mobilize the lower back. Bent over rows, glute bridges, and cat-cow yoga poses are a few exercises you can incorporate to address those issues.

3. Babies in utero can drop the pelvic floor up to an inch, so it is important to make sure your body is strong and prepared. Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor are recommended before, during, and after pregnancy. Focus on contraction and active relaxation of these muscles.

If you would like some guidance and support, come join our Prenatal Fitness Group X class! We are now offering a class that is made just for our expecting mommies! In this class we will start out with cardio to warm up for strength training with both body weight and free-weights and then move on to mobility and stability exercises. It’s the perfect class to help relieve those aches and pains pregnancy can cause while strengthening the body and keeping both mommy and baby healthy! Come hydrated, dressed comfortably, and ready to move!

Consult your physician or OB-GYN before beginning any new workout regimen. We will have a short prenatal information form for you to fill out as well in order to ensure we offer you attentive care during the class. Pregnant women who have experienced vaginal bleeding, premature rupture of membranes, or are at risk for preterm labor should not engage in exercise and will not be able to participate in this class.

Carmen is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise and holds a specialty in Prenatal/Postnatal Fitness. She’s a mother of two herself, and has a passion for helping people.