1. Download a PAR-med X for Pregnancy form and bring it to your next prenatal healthcare appointment. You’ll need a copy of this form completed and signed by you and your healthcare provider in order to participate in most prenatal fitness and yoga classes. It is also a fabulous resource for you during your pregnancy.
2. Focus on frequency. A lot of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy are based on how often you exercise. To name a few: prevention of gestational diabetes, reduction of varicose veins and improved digestion. Aim to do cardio 4 days a week. If you are a beginner, start with 15 minutes and add 2 minutes/week up to a maximum of 30 minutes not including warm up and cool down.
3. Get strong! Moms need muscles. They really, really do. If you are not sure what to do, attend a prenatal fitness class or book an appointment with a certified personal trainer who is also certified to work with pregnant women.
4. Strengthen your core. You core muscles support your back. Back pain is the #1 complaint during pregnancy. For safety, avoid laying on flat your back after 16 weeks of pregnancy and if you develop an abdominal separation, avoid exercises that engage your rectus abdominal (6-pack) muscles I.E. abdominal curls, front planks etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free sample prenatal core routine OR try the new Pelvic Floor Trainer App for quick and easy routines at your fingertips.
5. Value social fitness. If you can, workout with another pregnant woman or join a prenatal fitness class at least one night a week. Attending Busy Bump events is also a great way to meet other pregnant women. Social connections improve mental health, increase exercise adherence and give you a support network for after baby is born. The friendships formed at these classes often last a lifetime. (I still go on an annual camping trip with the women from my prenatal fitness class and my eldest is 8-years-old).