Mama Mondays: You Gotta Werk


Nothing has gotten me to get my act together and post on Mondays like naming a segment “Mama Mondays”…  I kind of can’t get out of this one!  Last week, we talked about my First Trimester Musts, which mostly involves taking a few additional supplements to ensure baby is as healthy as possible.  This week, let’s talk about prenatal exercise.  While you probably feel like you’ve been hit by a freight train, even after 8 hours of sleep, and you might be on the verge of puking all day, I believe in keeping up with your exercise routine – if you already have one.  It makes for a healthier pregnancy, and in many cases, an easier delivery.


During my last pregnancy, I was extremely tired and extremely nauseous for 16 long weeks.  I had to eat simple carbs constantly just to keep the nausea at bay, so I started gaining weight quickly.  I was terrified of gaining too much weight, so I kept up with my exercise routine, and it turns out that exercising was the only thing that helped my nausea, and the only thing (that’s allowable while pregnant) that kept up my energy levels.  So, every morning, while feeling like death, I peeled myself out of bed to work out, and an hour later, I felt so much better.  I’m certainly not saying that my strategy is for everyone, but I am saying that it’s worth a shot if your body is used to physical activity.


While I don’t teach anymore, I’m a certified Pilates instructor, and I swear, there is nothing better for a pregnant body than Pilates.  It strengthens your abdominals and pelvic floor better than any other method of exercise – all the instructors I know, myself included, popped our babies right out, pushing for only 10-15 minutes.  I take a 60 minute class reformer/tower class twice per week at Exhale Pilates, and I find it challenging enough that I break a sweat, but gentle enough for my changing body.  It’s also something you can probably do right up until the end – I even took a class on the day I gave birth to Annabel!


If you can’t make it to a Pilates studio, I also highly recommend Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project.  I used this DVD set a lot during my last pregnancy.  I have to admit I was skeptical for a few reasons when I purchased the set of dvd’s: 1.) I kind of think that in order to get Tracy Anderson results, you really have to work out with Tracey Anderson or one of her trainers; no one is going to work out by themselves in front of their TV two hours per day, six times per week.  2.) I purchased one of her mat dvd’s once and it just wasn’t hard enough.  Well, this program is different.  There is one dvd for each month of pregnancy, so the exercises keep changing with your growing body, and all you need is a mat, 3 lb. weights and a chair.  No impossible dance routines required.  The moves are easy to follow, but by the time the routine is over I am tired and I am always sore the next day.

I also like to keep up with a little cardio while I’m pregnant.  Normally, I run or go to Charleston Power Yoga, but neither of those really works for me during pregnancy, so I went back to Long Training Studios, where I worked out during my last pregnancy.  I take 2-3 classes per week that consist of aerobics with weighted medicine balls, dumbbells, and resistance bands.  It’s a great workout that doesn’t get my heart rate up too high, and I feel so good afterwards.  If you live in Charleston, you have to try it!


A great tool to use throughout pregnancy is a 75 cm exercise ball; it just makes life more comfortable.  I sit on it while at my computer and just kind of roll my hips around.  It opens up the hips and pelvis and strengthens the abdominals without directly hitting them (as women are not supposed to do direct abdominal work after 16-20 weeks).  You can also use it while in labor; I hear it makes things more comfortable there, too ( I brought mine to use in the hospital last time, but my nurse wasn’t having it – I was too far along).

What are your prenatal exercise tips and tricks?