I must admit that when I found out I was pregnant, a million thoughts were running through my brain… What color should the nursery be? What name will my baby have? How will I tell my family? There is so much to do and think about that it is easy to forget about keeping up with your weekly exercise!
For me, it was very tempting to just put my feet up and do nothing during those first twelve to sixteen weeks of pregnancy. I remember waking up feeling dizzy and having food aversions, then forcing myself to hold down three meals a day while working full-time and concealing my pregnancy until the lucky twelve week mark. However, this is when my body needed extra calories and exercise to feel it’s best; it was making vital organs, a spine, and a brain (two or three brains if you have twins or triplets!). And boy, was it exhausting making a little tadpole turn into a real baby!
But as tough as it was to get motivated to workout, it was important to me that I maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes a safe fitness activity during pregnancy. One of the main activities that I enjoyed (and hopefully you will too) during my first trimester was prenatal yoga. Truthfully, aside from my husband, my yoga instructor was the first person I told I was pregnant because I wanted her advice on what I could do throughout the next nine months. She was very happy to help guide me and offered some great suggestions.
One of the aspects of yoga that my instructor helped me with is balance. Yoga is excellent from the beginning to the end of pregnancy as your body is distributing it’s constantly changing weight in all different places. Additionally, when I was feeling incredibly drained- emotionally or physically- balancing postures helped me focus on just being calm and still for a few moments each day in a world that is anything but. Whether you are simply standing tall in Mountain pose or doing a more advanced Dancer’s pose, regular balance practise will help maintain healthy and strong ankles, knees, and hips, along with creating correct posture.
I especially liked yoga in the first trimester because if I felt fatigued, I could do a resting pose such as Child’s Pose to take a break. Another alternative resting pose is to lay down on your back in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Later on as your belly grows, you can lay on your side with one leg on a bolster for support. Child’s Pose ended up being what helped me the most through my contractions when I was in labor!
Aside from gaining focus, strength, balance, and flexibility, yoga also helped me with my breathing. I’m sure throughout your pregnancy and labor, you’ll probably get sick of being told to “breathe through the pain,” but it truly does help. Deep breathing helps calm the nervous system and allows for total relaxation. By taking deep breaths through your nose, you are releasing tension and exhaling negative energy. Not to mention, focusing on breathing was a great distraction during labor.
I hope you will give a prenatal class a try as there are so many advantageous things you can learn. A prenatal yoga class can also be a great way to socialize with other new moms, and husbands or partners can join, too!
We’d love to hear from you! What is/was your favorite physical activity during pregnancy?
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