How to stay fit during pregnancy and the key workouts for every stage of expecting
For those who normally lead an active lifestyle, with spin classes and kale juices aplenty, the thought of nine months repose can be frustrating. Well fear not – and if you’re not a regular gym-goer, then now might be the time to start – as studies show exercise in pregnancy improves mood, organ function and encourages better sleep.* The key is to know what kind of exercise to do – and not do – at the different stages of expecting. We ask Head of Prenatal at Ten Health & Fitness Johanna Francis for her top three workout tips for each trimester and reveal the best workouts for each stage.
This is the time to take it easy. The increase in progesterone escalates the transfer of gases between you and your baby, which can make you feel short of breath. Don’t panic – you haven’t lost fitness! If you can find the time between morning sickness, do a low impact class.
Try Ballet: A mix of classical ballet and targeted exercises to sculpt the body, this class is low impact enough for the first trimester. Try participating in a live stream of Ballet Beautiful, created by Mary Helen Bowers, a former professional ballerina tasked with training Natalie Portman for her role in ‘Black Swan’. You can stream workouts anywhere in the world and they even have new postnatal classes, perfect for those wanting to continue their pliés post-bump.
Ballet Baby: Fit & Graceful Pregnancy Bundle $29.99 www.balletbeautiful.com
Fatigue be gone! The morning sickness should now have passed and your energy levels will increase. However it’s best not to do any exercise that will result in you perspiring excessively – it’s not a good idea to lose excessive amounts of fluids – and try to stay below 60% of your maximum heart rate.
Try Pilates: Your powerhouse muscles and internal structure – worked hard in Pilates – are going to need all the strength they can master, so don’t skip exercise this trimester, even if you can only do a small amount. At Ten Health & Fitness prenatal classes in London, they focus on opening up the chest and back, while working your pelvic floor muscles to prepare for the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
First class is £12.50**, then £19 per class. www.ten.co.uk
A larger bump will start to slow you down, but take it easy and use exercise to mentally prepare you for childbirth. Doing a gentle workout now can help reduce any niggling pains and swellings, but your muscles will be flooded with the hormone relaxin to prepare your body for labour – which means they’re more relaxed than normal, so don’t overdo it!
Try Yoga: Pregnancy yoga practices mindfulness to reinforce the connection between you and your baby, while strengthening your muscles. Frame is the latest yoga hotspot based in East London, who also do a Mum’s Club fitness session where you can bring your little one with you to play – so you can continue to exercise postpartum!
From £11 a class, www.moveyourframe.com
EXERCISE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
We also love the Susanne Bowen ‘Long & Lean Prenatal Workout’ and ‘Prenatal Yoga with Desi Bartlett’ DVDs for low-impact routines you can do anywhere. If you’re in NYC, check out the Mama Glow class at Aqua Studio NY, or if you’re Sydney based we recommend Barre Body. The one-to-one prenatal classes at Exhale in Dubai are also a top pick for mums-to-be.
*These are our guidelines for exercising when expecting, but always consult your GP or midwife before starting any fitness regime. Before starting any exercise class, make sure the instructor is aware that you’re pregnant so they can advise accordingly.
**Please call ahead prior to booking
Words by Katie Stalker