Yes, it is possible to gain fitness while pregnant! I see it all the time and it’s amazing!
During an initial one-on-one, its quite common for me to hear stories of less than optimal fitness routines. Many of us are working too much and finding less time is available to devote to health and wellness. Common stories are of long weekdays spent at desks and efforts to get in some form of exercise on the weekends.
Once there’s a little one or two in the mix, things become even more challenging. Moms often find that their new fitness routine consists primarily of chasing after their toddler and walks to and from the park. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! It’s a beautiful, exhausting, fun-filled time of life…and movement throughout the day is a big part of it.
However, sometimes we feel that’s not quite enough and find ourselves longing for a bit more structure, guidance and conditioning as we experience the work of pregnancy and prepare for the effort of childbirth and postpartum recovery.
Historically, there’s been a general guideline that advised not to begin a new exercise program during pregnancy.
“Do what you’ve been doing.”
“Don’t start anything new.”
Unfortunately, that translates to fear, paralysis and inactivity.
Thankfully, the 2015 ACOG Committee Opinion on Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period(1) advises that non-exercisers begin a program while following a more gradual progression of exercise.
Starting slowly, progressively and building safely leads to tremendous gains.
With this in mind, I still firmly believe there is no “one size fits all” prescription.
The same document stresses and supports the importance of individualization (2) of exercise during pregnancy; the foundation at Bodies for Birth.
What I see in practice tells the story of strength and gains. I often see somewhat deconditioned individuals making tremendous strides in both cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength and endurance over time.
The cascade of positive effects that this training has cannot be underestimated.
I witness increased confidence, increased comfort, increased resilience and perceived quality of life. I watch individuals begin to prepare for birth with the focus and intention of an athlete.
Wall sits often get easier not harder.
Despite the added weight of pregnancy, I see more calm and strength. And often, it’s the newly pregnant clients that find themselves with a greater challenge while training initially. Those who have maintained consistency throughout pregnancy are able to exude calm and strength even in the final months and weeks, despite the increased demands on their bodies.
I no longer say that de-conditioning is an inherent part of pregnancy! What I see in practice tells an entirely different story.
Now, without exercise in pregnancy, of course deconditioning will occur. That is true for all of us, pregnant or not. But with commitment, consistent effort and pregnancy specific progressive programming, strength and fitness are not only attainable but are life changing!
I hope this helps you to feel inspired, confident and motivated as you pursue prenatal fitness. As always please reach out with questions! And if you’d like to experience these benefits, a combination of group classes and one-on-one training is the way to go!
Sign up, embrace the support and feel yourself soar in strength and confidence!
1, 2. Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Committee Opinion No. 650. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2015;126:e135–42.