Going to the gym or an exercise class requires finding the ever illusive childcare. You try to do an exercise video, and you end up missing half of it while pulling the little one off the table top or preventing them from pulling all the books off the shelf. Getting out for a walk with the stroller would be great except for the icy roads or constant drizzle. Please tell me that I’m not the only one struggling with this!
Getting exercise everyday during my first pregnancy was a breeze. It was a joy to get out and walk during my lunch hour. During the second and third trimesters especially I felt healthy and energetic. Trying to fit in exercise while caring for a toddler full time this time around is a whole other story!
Exercise Challenges During Pregnancy
I started off my Healthy Pregnancy Challenge with exercise in Week #1 for a very particular reason. At my first prenatal appointment with my midwife, my resting heart rate was a whopping 106. My normal is closer to 60. My midwife sweetly explained that my heart was weak from my first trimester inactivity. She said that the heart has to pump a lot of increased blood volume during pregnancy, so it is important to keep it strong with daily aerobic exercise.
I know how very important it is to stay healthy and low risk so that I can experience another wonderful home birth with Baby #2. I was very alarmed and a little embarrassed when I realized I was not taking very good care of my body so far this pregnancy. Something needs to change, and quick!
Exercise Goals for a Healthy Pregnancy
1. Get your heart rate up at least 30 minutes everyday.
Walking is the perfect pregnancy exercise. It can get your heart rate up while still being low impact on your joints. Plus it’s easy to do with your toddler. My plan is to get out with E in the stroller for 30-45 minutes whenever it is reasonably dry.
2. Try a 20 minute touch up.
It’d be great to be able to get outside to walk everyday, but I know there is probably quite a bit of rain in the Spring ahead. I decided I needed a realistic alternative to do inside on grey days. First of all, I cut my goal for those days to 20 minutes. I can do anything for 20 minutes, right? I also wanted to make sure that there is no equipment to buy and store and that I can do it easily while caring for my toddler. If I’m lucky, he might even do it along with me.
Here’s my plan. Do each exercise for one minute. Do 30 seconds of marching with high knees between each set. After working through the entire list, repeat one more time.
- Jumping an Invisible Rope
- Squats (optional jump at the top)
- Jumping Jacks
- Boxer’s Shuffle
- Lunges, alternating legs (optional hop while switching legs)
- Arm Dips on Chair
- Rapid Fire Upper Cuts
When I was pregnant with E, we took Bradley childbirth classes. I highly recommend the classes for many reasons. Just one of them is the series of pregnancy exercises that are a part of the program. While these exercises and stretches might not seem to qualify as real exercise at all, each one has a particular benefit for your body during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
I faithfully did the exercises throughout pregnancy, and I found great benefits. I haven’t been so dedicated so far this pregnancy, yet. Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that can be weakened due to pregnancy and other factors. You’ll be thankful you did your Kegels when you can safely sneeze or laugh during pregnancy or after birth without any ahem leaks.
I also found the pelvic rocks extremely helpful for completely eliminating my lower back pain. Specific instructions for each of the exercises are available in Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth.
My plan is to do 100 Kegels 3 times a day, 100 pelvic rocks 3 times a day, and 10 squats 3 times a day and extras throughout the day.
With my new realistic pregnancy exercise plan, I hope my resting heart rate will soon be at a much healthier level. I’m also really hoping it will improve my pregnancy exhaustion along with prioritizing getting some extra sleep.