July 28, 2021
I am in my second trimester of pregnancy and my fitness has really taken a hit. I’ve gained so much weight and feel fatigued all the time. In addition, I’m afraid to do a lot of exercises that might hurt the baby. I’ve been super thin for most of my life and it’s hard to work out or feel good about myself while I’m getting bigger even though I know that I should! I’m also working insane hours and in graduate school.
Do you have any advice for pregnancy-safe quick workouts / how to feel better about myself?
Expecting And Adjusting
Congratulations! This new phase of life you’re in is so beautiful and exciting! However, I don’t think the struggle to adjust to some of the “new normals” is talked about enough – even though every new mom goes through them!
For example, adjusting to all the change happening to your body in pregnancy. I’ve never been through it myself, but I’m sure these changes are kind of shocking even though you know they’re coming… if that makes sense?
Anyways, I do have some advice for you! Let’s start with feeling more comfortable in your changing body/loving yourself through the change.
Keep the self-talk positive.
Like I mentioned before, some of the physical changes can be hard to swallow. Even though you expect to gain weight and grow a beautiful bump, what if you gain weight in other, less desired places? What if your “normal” clothes stop fitting sooner than you expected? What if it feels like you’re gaining weight too fast?
Through all of it, you have to commit to being kind to yourself. After all, your body is doing the most incredible thing – creating a human! Don’t dismiss any of the hard work you’re doing, even for a second.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, remind yourself that every single change you see is your body doing its thing to keep baby healthy and thriving. Flip the narrative and think about the things you love about this phase of life. Your mind is SO POWERFUL – the way you talk to yourself has a serious impact on how you actually see yourself.
Focus on what you can control.
It’s hard to feel out of control in your own body. Instead of fighting it, try to pay special attention to everything you CAN control. The main goal is to stay healthy and feel amazing and enjoy your pregnancy!
You said you’re struggling with fatigue, and that’s normal! Here are some things that might help:
Food – Skipping meals can cause an energy slump, so make sure you’re eating regularly throughout the day! Also, I know cravings and aversions are REAL, so do your best to eat whole, nutritious foods! Protein, fiber, and healthy fats will keep you full. High-sugar foods might cause bigger dips in your energy levels.
Water – You need A LOT of water when you’re pregnant. Staying hydrated can make a huge difference in your energy levels!
Exercise – It seems like exercise would drain you more, but it can actually help you feel more energized!
Rest/Sleep – Do whatever you can to get plenty of quality sleep, and rest when you need it.
Fitness when you’re pregnant is all about listening to your body!
First – make sure you talk about it with your OB before you make any changes! Just to make sure exercise is safe for your pregnancy and to see what they recommend to avoid, etc.
Next, let go of any pressure you may feel to be the “super fit pregnant mom.” Thanks to social media and its perpetual highlight reel, I feel like moms are more pressured more than ever to “stay fit” during pregnancy. But guess what? Fitness is individual. And social media’s image of a fit pregnancy is soooo unrealistic most of the time.
Another struggle that seems pretty common is trying to “keep up” with pre-pregnancy fitness. If you were used to working out pretty hard or for long periods of time, scaling it back might make you feel like you’re not doing enough. It’s time to let go of that mindset! The ACOG actually says that 30 minutes of moderate activity, 5 days per week is best for a healthy pregnancy, prevents back pain, and keeps your fitness levels up.
Even going for 30 minutes a day might be easier said than done, because being pregnant takes up sooo much energy! If you don’t have the energy for 30 minutes right now, that’s ok! Break it up into a few 10-minute workouts a day. Or 10 minutes TOTAL per day, then slowly work your way up.
Walking is an AMAZING exercise when you’re pregnant because it gets your heart rate up without requiring a ton of energy. This can help boost your energy and mood too. It’s also a great way to keep your muscles and joints mobile, which you’ll thank yourself for later in your pregnancy.
Pilates, yoga, swimming, and riding a stationary bike are some other great low-impact workouts for pregnancy. You can absolutely lift weights too, as long as it feels good!
For any workout you decide to try, be aware of things to avoid. For example, laying flat on your back or twisting. Also soo important – staying hydrated and cool, and taking it down a notch if you feel like you’re pushing too hard.
Healthy is the goal!
This is not the time to set a major fitness goal or set personal records. Some women continue with their normal workout routine with a few modifications as pregnancy progresses. BUT some women also scale it back. Everyone is different and every pregnancy is different. However you decide to move your body is perfect!
Above all, keeping yourself and baby healthy is most important. Never be afraid to talk about your concerns with your OB! Their advice will guide you.
YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB!
PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!