Working Out While Pregnant: How One Life Fitness Employee Stayed Active
Kate, a fixture in the marketing department, remained dedicated to her workout routine, right up until giving birth a few months ago to a happy, healthy (and big) baby boy, Finn. She shares a few tips about how to stay active during pregnancy.
Important note: Kate’s workout isn’t for everybody. The first step to exercising while pregnant is consulting with your doctor to ensure that your approach is healthy for you and your growing baby. It's also important to continue to consult with your physician throughout your pregnancy.
Kate’s Pregnancy Workout Routine
Overall, I didn’t really change my activity or intensity level. When I asked my doctor about this she said I could continue to work out as I’ve had in the past as long as it felt good, I had no pain and I stayed hydrated. My workouts included HIIT (circuits of strength and cardio), Hatha/Vinyasa yoga (keep in mind that deep twists are discouraged early in a pregnancy), group cycling intervals, biking and strength training.
I continued to check in with my doctor as my pregnancy advanced and modified my workouts accordingly. In the second trimester, I reduced the intensity of HIIT workouts, cut back on jumping and core exercises. I focused more on oblique exercise and stayed off of my back as the weight of your uterus can compress your vena cava.
I started prenatal yoga around 24 weeks because I wanted to learn about the options I could have later in pregnancy. I found it a bit boring at first, but after 20 weeks you really start to grow so it was a good option for me. I started going every Saturday but still kept one Vinyasa yoga workout and modified with what I learned in the prenatal class.
I noticed toward the end I would get out of breath easier so I would play it by ear as to how intense I got. Some days I was fine, but other days I had to modify. This is the best time to really listen to your body.
I modified the high-intensity body weight exercises I was doing in between the HIIT workouts, and focused more on strength training as it really felt good and still required cardio. It doesn’t take as much to get your heart rate up when your carrying an extra 30 pounds. I only did the core exercises I picked up in prenatal yoga and what I compiled from YouTube. Standing or kneeling ab exercises felt good and didn’t put as much stress on my ligaments that were pretty loose at this point in the game. I would still do one to two days of interval cardio.
The third trimester is when it got challenging due to the belly getting in the way and I couldn’t move like I was used to. I kept an open mind and learned to modify and alter, and if anything find a few cardio options—slow jacks, walking high knees, side to side lunges, squats, etc.—that can be added to any workout. Instead of doing a full HIIT class I modified and added parental Pilates moves.
It was very important to me to keep working out while pregnant. It helped me manage stress and my energy level—a workout would always give me a boost when I was feeling sluggish. It was also great to be around other women in our group exercise class and the prenatal yoga class. Women are very supportive and in the prenatal class we shared stories about how far along we were.