Exercise is hard regardless if you are pregnant or not. It just is. It takes commitment, will-power, and education. For pregnant women exercise is absolutely imperative. Exercise along with diet can almost guarantee a pregnancy free of major complications, manageable labor, and natural delivery. Pregnant women are strongly encouraged to engage in some form of exercise daily during pregnancy.
As to the intensity and type of exercise: this depends entirely on the individual pregnant woman. If she is active and has been exercising regularly before pregnancy, she can continue her regular exercise routine until it becomes uncomfortable at which point she can either modify her workout, find a challenging prenatal workout, or even find a trainer that specializes in prenatal exercises. She should not however increase the intensity of her workout while pregnant. For women that do not exercise regularly or have little to no experience exercising, there are many low impact prenatal workouts available on DVD. Walking briskly daily is also a good starting point. If there is a crucial time in your life to start exercising, it is during pregnancy. Not only will you reap the benefits of a good workout but so will your baby.
Exercise is safe in the first trimester for most women. Exercising in the first trimester should be a goal. However, many women, including myself, find it difficult to exercise in the midst of nausea and fatigue. Aim to exercise as much as you can during your first trimester. Take advantage of bursts of energy or days when morning sickness isn’t as bad. Don’t let those “good days” go to waste. Make an effort to exercise when ever you feel up to it.
Exercise during the first trimester has been quite challenging for me. Before my first pregnancy I rarely exercised regularly. I certainly hadn’t developed the habit and commitment to exercise, but once I finally became pregnant with our son, I was committed to exercise daily. In my first trimester, morning sickness made it very difficult to keep my commitment to exercise. I still somehow found the energy and will-power to exercise once or twice a week. With this pregnancy, once the morning sickness kicked in, I found it nearly as challenging to exercise as with the first but with experience, knowledge, and less severe morning sickness, I am able to exercise three times a week or more. I’m hoping that my morning sickness symptoms will fade with the onset of my second trimester at which point I plan to exercise every day!
When it comes to exercise, you have to start somewhere. Why not commit to exercise for the duration of your pregnancy? Your commitment might very well turn into a life-long habit, which will reap life-long health benefits for both you and your baby. Your body and your baby will thank you!