Between the first trimester trifecta of fatigue, morning
sickness and the flatulence no one wants to talk about, what expectant
mother wants to squeeze a workout into her already busy life? A nap and a
double chocolate brownie sound much more appealing, right? Studies show
that active mothers produce healthier babies, have shorter, easier
labors with fewer interventions, recover more quickly and are less
likely to develop gestational diabetes, so it's important to get up and
With all those benefits in mind, here are three ways to keep your body in the best shape possible as you navigate the first trimester of your pregnancy.
- Join a Yoga Class: Many yoga studios offer prenatal yoga classes, using positions that are comfortable and safe for pregnant women. These classes offer the added bonus of connecting participants with other expectant moms. If the studio also offers Mommy & Me Yoga or Yoga for Kids, you have a built-in play group. Support, especially in the early days, is essential to the health and well-being of mothers and babies, and group sessions create a framework from which you can start building your mom network.
- Ride a Bike: Your sense of balance at this time won't yet be thrown off by your protruding midsection and turned-out hips, so strap on your helmet, dust off the ten-speed and head out. If this isn't your first pregnancy, make it a family activity - race your older children to the corner, get ice cream at the halfway point or take a spin along nature trails and see who can spot the most bird species. Get a set of panniers for the back and ride to the grocery store instead of driving, and you'll have the added bonus of saving gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle.
- Walk, Hike or Jog: You might want to take it a little more
slowly than usual, or not go as far, but for established runners the
first trimester is an acceptable time to continue with their routine. If
you don't believe in running unless someone is chasing you, walking or
hiking will do just fine. Take a companion - your dog, your partner,
your children, your best friend - and enjoy the last evening light after
dinner. If you go hiking, observe the usual safety protocols of taking
your cell phone, bringing a high-protein snack and water, telling
someone where you'll be and sticking to established trails. Get your
heart pumping, increase blood flow to your growing fetus and enjoy the
beauty of nature.
Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before beginning or changing your exercise routine. While working out, drink plenty of water - generally a minimum of 16 oz. for every 30 minutes of exertion - eat a small protein-based snack afterward, and stop if you feel pain, dizziness or discomfort. The goal is to keep your energy level up, help you sleep, and tone and stretch your muscles, not exhaust or injure you.