When I started my motherhood journey, I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to pregnancy. That’s something you can’t know until you’re trying it! I had heard that if you are fit, your body can have an easier time carrying your pregnancy, and I hoped that was right.
I did my homework. I read about pregnancy and fitness on Babycenter.com, read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and talked to my doctors for updates at each visit. All seemed to be in agreement: don’t push your limits too hard, drink more water during and after any workout than before the pregnancy, and make modifications for safety. This was also not the time to try anything new.
I decided to stay active as long as I could. I modified activities as needed for my own comfort and safety. I continued attending classes at my gym two to four times a week (after first-trimester sicknesses went away) until about two weeks before I delivered.
I kept up most of my normal workouts on the days I wasn’t too nauseated or exhausted to go to the gym. I was practicing pole, aerial silks, yoga, Pilates, TRX, and barre. The only modifications during this time were to avoid tricks in pole and silks that put pressure directly on my belly, and to drink extra water.
During this time, I had to start making more modifications in yoga and Pilates for exercises that required lying belly-down on my mat. Usually, I would keep an extra yoga mat or block nearby and place it under my chest to make room for and keep the pressure off my baby bump. I would also modify certain abdominal exercises. I stopped practicing silks and dropped down into the beginner pole class. I was still drinking extra water, and would have to pause or stretch sometimes during barre or TRX classes because my legs were more prone to cramping.
I was still going to yoga, pole, barre, and TRX. This far along, Pilates had too many things I had to modify. About the last six weeks of my pregnancy I stopped going to pole class; my body had grown too heavy for my tired arms to lift off the floor. Toward the end, certain movements were more of a challenge, , but it felt so good to move my body. I did not want to just let myself get stiff on the couch; my hips were stiff enough even with my classes and stretching!
I still remember how great that last TRX class felt, and how strong I felt during it. I was pretty sure I could take on the world as I walked out of the gym that day. I was 37 weeks pregnant and still able to keep up with the class!
I made sure to keep my energy up and fuel myself for the gym with lots of water, along with healthy fats, sugars, and protein. I had to remember that a pregnant woman is not “eating for two.” I needed about 300 extra nutritious calories per day, so I tried to be responsible about my extra calories. I had found a dried fruit and nut trail mix that I really enjoyed and I also kept a 20-oz water bottle with me most of the time, challenging myself to drink and refill it four times a day. If I worked out, I had to drink five or six depending on the intensity of the workout.
Looking back, I am so proud of what I did. There were days when I would be tired or stiff and not want to get off the couch to go to the gym, but I had to keep reminding myself that I would feel better after class.
When I made the commitment to myself and my baby to have a strong, fit pregnancy, I was doing it for the two of us—for my own reasons, but other women paid attention. My husband and family paid attention. That made me more aware of what I was doing. I had felt pretty good about myself—strong and confident—but I wasn’t giving myself the full credit I deserved.
Now when I am at the gym and see a pregnant woman, I want to high five her. I’ve been through it, and I know how difficult but incredibly rewarding a fit pregnancy can be. All moms and moms-to-be deserve to feel this, too.
Lisa is a wife and mom of a baby girl. She enjoys trying out new forms of exercise and fitness, but her favorites are pole dance fitness, aerial silks, and yoga. She also volunteers some of her spare time to a local cat rescue. Since discovering her sexy strength a couple years ago, she is the happiest she has been her whole life, and is happy to share it with you. Got a question for Lisa? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org