I didn’t exercise at all in my first pregnancy. I knew all about the benefits, but I always seemed to find a reason not to make it happen. In the first trimester, I was too tired. In the second trimester, I had too much heartburn. And in the third trimester, I was too tired and had too much heartburn and worried that running or walking or doing anything physical would cause my baby to fall out.
With my second pregnancy, however, I changed. I began exercising in my first trimester and continued until within a week of delivering my baby. Along with helping me maintain my weight, exercising during pregnancy gave me more energy (which was essential for running around after my toddler), improved my mood and sleep, and actually helped with labor. My first labor took 13 hours and was induced. My second pregnancy lasted 8 hours and was without any intervention or drugs.
Given my experiences, I am a huge fan of exercise for pregnant moms. Here are some of the exercises that I loved as a pregnant mom and that I think you’ll love, too:
Walking. It’s a low impact exercise that is great for cardiovascular health and is super easy to do (i.e., it can be done anywhere, it’s free, and doesn’t require much thought). I was pregnant in much of the summer, so I typically did my walks in the early morning with my toddler or in the evening when the sun had gone down.
There are, however, plenty of other pregnancy workouts on the market, so just do your homework. Also, some other mainstream workout DVDs are appropriate for pregnant moms. One that I enjoyed was Leslie Sansone: Walk Away the Pounds Ultimate Collection.
Swimming. Experts tout swimming as one of the best exercises for pregnant moms because it provides great cardiovascular benefits and works the major muscle groups (arms and legs) without any strain.
Dancing. As long as it doesn’t involve leaps, jumps, or twirls, dance is a perfect way to stay fit during your pregnancy.
Remember that before starting any exercise program, you must get the approval of your doctor in advance. Exercise is something with so many benefits. So stick with whatever it is that keeps you happy and motivated, and you’ll have a blast!