So, I am 20 weeks pregnant and the questions are getting more frequent....when are you going to stop exercising?
With my last baby, I remember heading to the gym the night before my scheduled c-section. And I plan to do the same with this one. I will stop teaching classes after the holidays but I will continue to get in the gym. I had to laugh this week as one of my fitness students said she came into class that day since she thought I would be taking it easy....she was wrong. I am also serving as an inspiration to everyone...'if the pregnant lady can do this, so can I!'
Exercise during pregnancy is very important. Besides being in good muscular and cardiovascular shape is important in everyone's life.....your body is being put through a lot and you need to keep it strong! Not to mention, if you have to labor and deliver vaginally, you will need some strength. If you are having a c-section, you will recover more quickly.
Surprisingly, core strength is really important during pregnancy. Just as your 'core' seems to disappear, right?! Keeping a strong core will help with supporting that belly and relieve some lower back stress. It will also help get back into shape after the baby. Check out some prenatal pilates.
The basic recommendations (see ACSM here) encourage pregnant women to exercise regularly. And basically, if you exercised before becoming pregnant, you can continue whatever you were doing (so yes, I still do some kickboxing). If you didn't, its a good time to start but not maybe the best time to start any extreme sports. A basic cardio program 3 or so times a week such as walking, cycling, step class, or dance as well as some strength such as light weight work or resistance bands and flexibility training such as yoga are good choices. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have to reduce the intensity or modify some exercises.
Always ask your dr or midwife what is safe for you. Stop exercising if you have any cramping, spotting, shortness of breath, or dizziness. If you are taking fitness classes, please tell the instructor (they will be able to give you modifications). Most communities offer specific prenatal fitness programs (check your local hospital) and the library has lots of DVD's and books.