5 Tips: Staying Fit While Pregnant
Our good friends Claire Koch and Joy Parrish at Girls Gone WOD podcast aren’t afraid to lift heavy, work hard, and be a little ridiculous. This week we caught up with Claire and she wanted to give the world a little advice on how to stay fit while being pregnant.
Being pregnant is an amazing and indescribable experience, but let’s be honest, it’s also sort of a pain in the ass. And if you’re an athlete, you are suddenly faced with the task of adapting your activities to keep you and your future child safe without totally giving up on your fitness. But as long as you have a healthy pregnancy and stay in communication with your doctor, staying active should be a priority from the moment you see that little pink line.
I’m not an expert, and I’m certainly not a doctor, but I have been navigating the ups and downs of working out while pregnant for the past 30 weeks, and I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job so far. Here is what I’ve learned:
- You have to make it a priority from Day One.
I like to think about it this way: If I knew I was going to run a marathon in a few months, I would be crazy not to start training for it. And yet many women approach labor and delivery with little more than a few weeks of birthing class under their belt, even though labor is way more intense than a marathon! Apart from thinking about your pregnancy as “training” for labor, staying active can help combat things like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and even provide health benefits for your baby. Sounds like a priority to me!
- Find support and stay accountable.
My CrossFit trainers were some of the first people I told about my pregnancy, even before I told some of my family members. I knew I would need their support and expert guidance from the get-go, and their input and encouragement have been a huge factor in my ability to keep coming to the gym.
- Listen to your body.
Being pregnant means waking up to a totally different body every morning. And some days that body will think running is a great idea, and other days you will feel like you’re wearing a fanny pack full of rocks. Your body changes so rapidly that an exercise that felt great last week could feel awful this week, but could be back to feeling fine next week, and it’s important to pay attention to those cues and to honor them without judgment.
- Get the right gear.
Invest in a sports bra that fits your new huge pregnancy boobs and recognize that even the spandex of your favorite pre-pregnancy leggings has its limits. And in your second and third trimester, things other than your belly will be swelling, too. Make sure you have the right footwear to help keep your feet and ankles supported, and stock up on a few colors of QALO rings so you have something to wear in and out of the gym once your wedding ring won’t fit over your swollen fingers anymore!
5. Stick with what you know.
Most articles about exercise usually end with “Get out of your comfort zone!” or “Try something new!” But that is not the case in pregnancy. Stick with activities that you and your body are familiar with, so that you know how they should feel—and, more importantly, so that you know when a certain exercise stops feeling “normal.” When that happens, modify or adapt to another similar movement—or just skip it altogether. And on those days where you are feeling stuck, huge, and unmotivated, just remember—you are doing (almost) everything that you use to do, except now you’re doing it with a 20-pound weight vest on. Which is pretty badass. Keep it up, mama!
For more from Claire and Joy be sure to follow @GirlsGoneWOD !!
Any other women out there have more advice? We'd love to hear your story below.