I’m now 22 weeks through my second pregnancy with our baby girl, and more than halfway to the finish line! This is the part of pregnancy that I really enjoy. For me, the second trimester brings renewed energy levels, nausea fades away and strangers begin to take notice of that growing bump.
So, while I took advantage of nap time in the first trimester, I’m trying my best to capitalize on these good feelings to stay active for a healthy pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends being active and exercising at least 30 minutes for most, if not all, days of the week for those with typical pregnancies.
Here are just some of the positive benefits of exercising and staying active during pregnancy:
- Regular exercise will give you more energy
- It’ll help you sleep (better take advantage of that while you still can!)
- It’ll help improve your mood
- It’ll help prepare you for childbirth
- It’ll make losing that dreaded baby weight a lot easier
(source: American Pregnancy)
I stayed active and exercised during my last pregnancy. I ended up having a wonderful pregnancy, a very fast, yet not-so-painless labor, and I bounced back to my normal self relatively fast. Now I can’t say for sure if exercise during pregnancy was the direct cause (I guess we’ll see this time around), but I’m sure it helped!
7 Ways to Stay Active for a Healthy Pregnancy
*Note: Be sure to talk with your doctor before doing any type of exercise during pregnancy. We’re all different, and we all have different pregnancies!
The ACOG may recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to go crazy with intense workouts or start running 10 miles every day. You could I suppose, but there are lots of ways to stay active and healthy without going overboard.
1. Walk… a lot
You know those handy parking spots designated just for pregnant woman? Pretend they aren’t there! Park far away, take the stairs, walk to the store if you can. All those little steps can add up. If you’re not much of a runner, you can still go for a walk. I find if I have a destination in mind (e.g. store, park, a friend’s house) it makes the walk less boring.
2. Get a step counter
I used a step counter last time I was pregnant, and I just got a new one to use this time around. It doesn’t really matter what kind you get. They are all great motivators. Yes, you may look a little silly as you pace around the kitchen to get your goal of 10,000 steps, but it’s a lot better than just hanging out on the couch. I find I don’t sit as long, and I always end up going for that extra run or walk so I achieve my goal.
3. Do squats
I remember reading an article last pregnancy that said that woman who do a lot of squats during pregnancy will have a fast labor. I don’t know if there have been any actual, peer-reviewed studies on it, but I did have a fast labor. According to Pregnancy Exercise, squats help prepare for labor and strengthen your pelvic floor which is good for giving birth. So, whenever you have a free moment, start squatting! You can try doing it every commercial break if you’re watching TV or at the beginning and end of a nice, long walk.
4. Break it up
The one problem I run into this time around is that I don’t have as much free time as my previous pregnancy. Why? Oh, there’s just a toddler running around that I have to entertain. I often break up my workouts into 10 minute segments. I start with 10 minutes because I know I can always spare 10 minutes. Then, I find that I usually can fit in 10 more and 10 more after that. And, if you only get to 10 minutes one day, it’s certainly better than no minutes!
5. Make it easy
How many times have you thought about exercising only to forget about it because you didn’t feel it was worth the hassle? Make it easy! Lay your workout clothes out the night before or just put them on first thing in the morning (at least they are comfortable). Make free weights readily available or write down a list of exercises (here are 7 to get started from LifeHack) you can do anywhere, anytime (Don’t have weights? Try these DIY dumbbells).
6. Be active with your kid(s)
Like I mentioned before, thanks to my lovable toddler, my free time has gone out the window. Instead of spending money on a gym membership with a sitter or trying to squeeze a workout in during a non-existent nap, be more active with your kids. Walk around the mall, walk around the zoo, try the monkey bars at the park (or don’t… seriously, be careful haha), race your kids in the yard, have a jumping contest. The bonus of staying active with your kids… your kids will love it!
7. Don’t forget the Kegels!
There are times during your pregnancy where all you’ll want to do is take a seat and relax. Well, that’s the perfect time to do your kegel exercises! Apparently women who do kegel exercises have “easier” births, relatively speaking. So, after a long, active day of running around with your kids, take a seat, put your feet up, relax… and practice your kegels! You can find the benefits of kegels and how to do them over at American Pregnancy.
You look fantastic! I couldnt work out with my second cause of issues I had with my first pregnancy.. but I did walk alot. great tips here
Lauren recently posted…How To Start Saving for Your Child’s College Education
Thanks, Lauren! I think walking is great and totally underrated sometimes!
The Good Mama recently posted…7 Ways to Stay Active for a Healthy Pregnancy
This is a great list. I was on bed rest with both of my children (28 weeks and then 24 weeks) but I think that staying as active as I could up until then helped me not only physically but mentally!
Melanie recently posted…Weekly catch up
I’m so happy that you’re having a girl! I have 3 (and 1 son) and it’s just a treasure to experience raising both. Congratulations!
Brooke Caputo recently posted…My Struggles With Social Anxiety
Those are great tips. I really loved doing a yoga video geared towards pregnancy. It was soothing and really helped with strengthening and stretching. I remember walking a lot during the end trying to induce labor. : 0 )
Theresa recently posted…Zucchini Bread Castle
Oh I love yoga while pregnant! It really feels good. I walked so much at the end. haha I was hoping it would speed things up!
Wow, you look so amazing! I was so tired a so huge (early on) in my second pregnancy I wasn’t very active. But if we do decide to have another, I will definitely be more active and I will absolutely do some squats!!
Tarynn Playle recently posted…Birthday Week
These are great tips, even for us mommies that aren’t pregnant. The step counter and breaking up the workouts are especially helpful for me. Thanks!
Shann Eva recently posted…Micro Preemie Mondays and Liam and Kaiden
Great tips! So I guess I should have done more squats and kegels! You look great.
Melissa Matters recently posted…How to Get your Kids to Read More this Summer (and Actually Enjoy It)
haha, I like that there are fairly easy to do and I can do them anywhere. They are great for when you’re not pregnant too!
You’re about 5 months too late for me… But I just started doing yoga, and I found a great series of yoga for kids videos on YouTube so Jane and I can do it together. It’s a little fast for her, but she had fun doing yoga like mommy. It would be so much easier to get back into exercising if I had done more while I was pregnant… That first trimester really kills motivation haha
I saw that you went to yoga. You are going to have to show me this series. That is too cute. I’m sure W would love to do some yoga too. And, I didn’t do much the first trimester- it’s the worst!
You look great. Those are good tips for everyone.
I’m currently pregnant with my first child, so I’m very happy I found your post! I love to work out, and it’s good to know all of the exercises that I can do without risking my baby’s health. One of the things you mentioned that I really liked was that I should walk as much as I can during the pregnancy. I’ve heard that walking can be great not only for my own health, but for my baby as well. I’m going to start walking more often, and maybe even try to talk my husband into joining me! Thank you for posting!
Hi Thanks for sharing my link on this great blog, Lorraine
The first time I was pregnant, I didn’t really exercise; I didn’t have the energy for it most of the time. However, the second time around I had heard just how beneficial it could be from various friends and online sources. Like you said, obstetricians recommend it, and I do too; my pregnancy was a lot easier when I exercised, and my mood swings weren’t nearly as bad. Thanks for the article.
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I had heard just how beneficial it could be from various friends and online sources. Like you said, obstetricians recommend it, and I do too; my pregnancy was a lot easier when I exercised, and my mood swings weren’t nearly as bad. Thanks for the article.