By Erin Whitehead for FitBottomedMamas.com
Some women love being pregnant. The time flies by, and they feel more beautiful and feminine than ever before. For others, it can mean nine long months of feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. Because everyone is a little different, I talked with prenatal/postnatal fitness expert and new mom Sara Haley for her top tips on how to feel strong and fit throughout pregnancy. Read on!
6 Stay-Strong Tips for Pregnancy
1. Move it, move it. Get up and move every day. By staying in bed too much, your blood and oxygen flow slows down, which can make you feel even less energized and motivated. Whether it’s simply walking to the grocery store or getting to the gym, the more you move, the more energized you’ll feel and the more comfortable you will be in your new body.
2. Eat regularly and drink lots of water. I hear pregnant women complain of constipation all the time, which definitely does not lead to feeling sexy. I can honestly say that I did not have any constipation during my pregnancy, and I credit it all to a regular exercise regimen, healthy eating and drinking lots of water. Eat often and drink more water than you think you’ll need. I don’t believe in “eating for two” (most doctors only recommend an extra 250 to 350 calories in the second and third trimesters), but perhaps think about “drinking H20 for two” instead. That way you’ll be sure to stay hydrated.
3. Ride the highs. Take advantage of your high-energy days. Some days will be better than others, so do what you can when you can. If you have been working out prior to being pregnant, you can do what you’ve been doing but at a moderate level (making sure that you can carry on a conversation). For some, that might be turning a run into a jog, moving a bike ride outside onto a stationary bike, or taking a group fitness or yoga class while making sure that you don’t get too hot. (Let your instructor know as well, he or she may be able to help you modify.) Pregnant or not, the body was meant to move, so move!
4. Lift weights. The best way to feel strong is to be strong, so weight train at least twice a week. In order to have a healthy baby, you must gain a healthy amount of weight for your body, but why not keep some muscle (or add some) while you’re doing so? Besides, you’ll soon have a growing baby by your side that will eventually weigh much more than 10 pounds, and you’ll be lifting him or her multiple times a day. Be ready for that new baby by working on both your muscular strength and endurance. This means sometimes working on lifting more weight, as well as sometimes working on adding more reps.
5. Move your hips. Whether you’re a dancer or not, shake those hips! Put your hands on your baby belly and rock those hips side to side, front to back or in big circles. Not only is it a great way to work on your core while you’re pregnant, but it will feel fabulous if you have any back pain. I love dance cardio as a workout. Depending on how I was feeling that day and how far I was into my pregnancy, I had to modify. Some days I had to put on slower songs and take the bounce out of my step, and on others, I felt like a “rock star” and moved across the floor like I wasn’t even pregnant. Either way, it made me feel strong to be doing something I’d always done, even if it was at a different level than I was used to. So let your hair down, put on your favorite song and get those hips moving!
6. Show off your bump! Nothing is better than a woman who feels confident in her own skin. Find a top that makes you feel sexy and shows that baby off! I found that the farther along I was in my pregnancy, the less self-conscious I was about showing my baby belly off. It’s no wonder so many people want to touch that belly when you’re pregnant! (Another reason to stay strong—to fend off those baby-belly attackers!)
Tell us, did you feel like yourself when you were pregnant? Did you feel fit? What did you do to stay strong?