Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Early Pregnancy – don’t break the exercise habit!

I’ve been talking to a number of women recently about exercise they did at different stages of pregnancy. One thing that’s come up over and over is that many didn't feel up to doing anything at all in those first few months never mind continuing with their daily run or yoga class. In fact the only sport many were engaging in was sprinting to the toilet bowl for a hug and some projectile vomiting. Better than nothing but not great for maintaining cardiovascular fitness.

It was often the case that these women planned to get back into it when they felt a little better in the second trimester. Unfortunately this didn’t always work out as planned. If you have let your routine go for a few months, you have to start from scratch, unfit and usually heavier and with all sorts of quirky pregnancy induced body changes to deal with. Another issue with re-starting exercising mid-pregnancy is the exercise during the first trimester is the best time to stimulate placental growth making it safer for the baby when you exercise later in pregnancy by ensuring an enhanced blood supply.

But there is more at stake here. If you stop exercising, a good habit is discontinued. We all have good and bad habits but this is not a habit to break, no matter how hard it may seem. Many women get out of the habit of exercising during pregnancy and sadly never go back. Anyone would find it hard to go back to exercise after such an extended break but for a pregnant woman there’s an extra dimension - you now have junior hanging out of you! How the hell are you going to get out now if you didn’t manage without this helpless baby depending on you? The answer is to do all you can not to break the habit on the first place. If your hubby is used to you disappearing and coming back all sweaty, it won’t be so much of an adjustment for him to see you to continue to do so, as you smoothly transition into exercising-mom from pregnant-sweaty-woman. You can assure him you are doing it for him, so he and junior can have quality one to one time. He won’t be so reluctant to let you out if he’s accustomed to you disappearing. Be prepared for the odd panicky phone call in those first few weeks though, where he freaks out at having to change a nuclear nappy!

If you’re finding it hard to keep up the exercise in early pregnancy try something different like going to the gym, a spinning class, swimming or back off on the intensity. For sure you will feel better for it and it will set you up for the rest of your pregnancy. So fight the urge to cling to the toilet bowl, it will be there for more hugs when you get back!

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