Listen to your body when you are pregnant. If you feel up to exercising, do it. If you don’t, don’t feel guilty (like you would if you weren’t pregnant)! What is most important is to feel good about yourself while you cook the baby for 10 months. That could mean eating Cheez-Its as exercise, or running 5 miles a day. This is not your wedding--you don't have to have your picture taken much the big day--and no one is looking at you really, they want to see the star.
Most of our Mama’s were most comfortable walking during their pregnancy, while others also swam (they say that breast stroke will help prepare your body for delivery). One Mama did pre-natal yoga, but found that with the additional poundage, her hands seemed to go numb much quicker (and stay that way for a while).
While those Mama’s that continue to exercise throughout pregnancy do not necessarily have easier births (out of our Mama’s they were the ones that actually ended up having more complications, but that is totally unrelated) they did in fact have a much easier recovery after birth. Within a short period of time they were pretty much back to their pre-baby body (many of them also attribute the quicker weight loss to breast feeding).
“The “Perfect Pregnancy Workout” video is the best – it’s hard enough to be a challenge – even post-pregnancy, but you can do it when you’re pregnant. And eating…sadly, if you do it as much as I did, that is exercise too.” – MAMA E
“I highly recommend exercising during pregnancy. I enjoyed swimming and using the cardio machines at the gym. By keeping up your endurance during pregnancy you get a head start on the incredible endurance you will need once the baby comes. I know everyone says that exercise helps with the birth – I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can promise you that staying in shape will help when you have been awake for 96 hours straight and have been bouncing a little newborn baby in your arms for that entire time.” – MAMA S
“Walking – it helped to keep me in shape and to relax. I gained steady weight throughout my pregnancy and ended up right in the correct range 25-30 pounds come delivery time. It also helped to tire me out so I would sleep better but it didn’t exhaust me like running or other high intensity exercise did. You can walk in any weather which is good because there is no excuse to stop doing it. Stretching was good too. I felt great going into my labor, I think my fitness level helped me to try for as long as I did (labor for 24 hours, pushed for 3 hours then c-section). It absolutely made recovery from c-section easier because you have to use arms and legs a lot since your abdomen is very sore and you can’t really use the muscles there to get up and out of bed, chairs, etc.” – MAMA C
“Took ballet classes which really helped with the sciatica “ MAMA A
“I was so sore the day after deliver (and I don't mean down there, I mean my whole body! I felt like I ran a marathon. My entire body hurt....my arms, my back, my shoulders, my legs...you truly are using every muscle in your body to push the baby out (unless you have a c-section of course) - I guess maybe if I had exercised more I would have been in better shape, but honestly I don't think so. My doctor told me the next day, it was like the equivalent of running a marathon, and I agree!!” – MAMA P
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