Pregnancy is no excuse to ditch your Nikes. It’s a crucial time to keep your body moving and introduce moderate activity into your routine.
While it’s easy to scrutinize your every action (and your exercise routines can easily fall into this trap), you can keep up your regular workouts with some small modifications.
Here are four tips for keeping fit with your bump.
1. Move Your Spine! Gently moving the spine helps strengthen the core, releases tension, improves posture and keeps the pregnant waddle at bay. Since our limbs (and new bump) grow from our centre (just like a tree trunk and its branches), keeping our spine supple and mobile lets everything else flourish. Whether you’re standing, seated or on all fours: rotation, gentle side bending, and extension (think of arching your back), is a great way to start your workout or cool it down.
2. Squat Like You Mean It. Think of your pelvic girdle as the base of your tree trunk: your spine grows out of it, and those roots (aka legs) keep you standing upright. Strong legs help to support your growing 'workout partner’ while strong bum muscles help to keep low back pain at bay. Your pelvis houses all your important birthing muscles, so when you train your hips, legs, and glutes you also train your core and local muscle system—all the small muscles that keep you balanced!
3. Show off Those Pipes! Don’t forget your arms and shoulders—they are the branches and leaves of your tree. As your belly begins to shift your centre of gravity forward, your upper spine and shoulders start trying to play catch up. Remember that waddle? With the added weight and size of your increasing—ahem—lady friends, this tends to put a lot of stress on the shoulders to round forward, leaving your upper spine feeling tight. Add in exercises that open your chest and add movement and stability to your shoulder blades.
4. What About Core? Resist the urge to do crunches and heavy core training; it can lead to a separation of your rectus abdominus—the six-pack muscles. This isn't harmful to your baby, but can cause low back pain and loss of core support post-natal. Save your energy for other core exercises that support you, your baby, and giving birth—like a side plank from your knees.
There are so many bonuses to keep moving while pregnant, from staving off morning sickness and bloating to reducing tension, and preparing you for a speedy delivery and recovery.
So get those good endorphins flowing, because if you're feeling good, your baby is gonna be feeling great.