Whether you are a pregnant woman or a post-partum new mom, the last thing on your mind is probably exercise. Between attempting to climb the stairs in your 8th and 9th month and being up all night with a newborn, it seems as though exercise is the last on our lists and the thing we have the least time for. But as more and more women are beginning to realize, exercise is not only important to getting back into shape post-baby, it’s also important while you’re trying to conceive as well as during your pregnancy to help your body through labor and delivery. Jennifer Tucker, founder of Fit For Expecting, became increasingly aware of the lack of exercise programs for expecting/post-partum women in the Southern California area as well as the misinformation about the safety of exercising while pregnant, and realized there was a high need for exercise options to accommodate expectant or new mother’s schedules. With that, Fit For Expecting came to be!
We are very happy to introduce Jennifer as our first guest post on our blog, and especially happy that she is representing a healthy lifestyle for all women, which is something we feel passionately about. Read on to hear Jennifer’s great tips and tricks for staying fit and healthy while expecting!
Exercise Before, During and After Pregnancy
By Jennifer Tucker, Perinatal Exercise Specialist
Too often, women question the value of exercise during pregnancy. Their questions are usually some version of…
I’m not trying to lose weight during pregnancy, so why would I need to regularly exercise?
I know that exercise is good for you, but is it really that important during the childbearing year? What’s the big deal?
No matter the type of birth you have – hospital or home birth, epidural or no anesthesia, vaginal or c-section – your muscles, joints and tissues WILL be challenged by the rapid changes that occur throughout the childbearing year. Physical and emotional preparation for these changes is essential. Incorporating a regular, safe and comprehensive exercise program into your life is a must.
Olympic athletes don’t decide to compete the night before – they train – a lot. For yourself and your baby – make a commitment to “training” for this important time in your life.
Let me take a guess as to what you are thinking now…
Can I just take a walk or go to a yoga class and be done with it? Why do I need to have an “exercise program?”
Short answer – just walking or taking a yoga class is not enough.
Both walking and prenatal yoga can and should be incorporated as components of your exercise program. A balanced and comprehensive exercise program addresses all of the special needs that you have during the childbearing year and delivers the most benefits to both you and your baby.
Your perinatal exercise program should incorporate: aerobic exercise, strengthening, stretching, and relaxation/breathing. Each of these components does something different for your body and mind and they work together to keep you healthy and strong.
Every woman is unique – her body, mental state, career, family, prior exercise experience, physical/medical limitations, likes/dislikes. It is my strong belief that every woman needs a unique exercise program, in order to be sustainable, enjoyable and effective. Keep that in mind when reading magazines/books, taking a class, or shopping around for exercise DVDs. You might not want to or be able to do every exercise and that’s OKAY. Take the time to get to know your body and figure out your unique needs.
Finally, for some exercises. Here are some exercises that I recommend incorporating into your perinatal exercise program:
*Resume doing these three exercises soon after delivery (before you even get discharged).
These exercises might seem simple and easy, but don’t underestimate their function and importance!
If you have any questions, need help, or want a program created just for you (with specific exercises and all the information you need to reach your goals), send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.