Skip to main content

Pregnant Belly Fitness

Pregnancy is an important time to stay fit and active, but of course there must be balance. And I don't mean just avoiding extremes here. I mean literally, balance. Your center of gravity is shoved a little further out each day, you might be dizzy, and your joints and tendons do wild stretchy things that you never imagined. In terms of awkwardness, pregnancy is a lot like a second puberty.

Be aware that your body will change constantly and feel weird, sometimes in a fun way and sometimes not. You will have unforeseen health complications and discomforts that arise suddenly and sometimes just as suddenly go away.

Moderate exercise is the best way to prevent swollen cankles, charlie horses, lethargy, depression, and a host of other babymaking side effects, but extra caution is also needed at this special time. Pregnancy hormones make your tendons and joints all loosey-goosey in preparation for childbirth. This can help you achieve deeper stretches than normal, but it's also easier to get joint injuries from falls and high-impact workouts. And that's a concern even if you don't have other health issues that arise during pregnancy that could require exercise restrictions.

You should always check in with your caregiver about major changes to your fitness routine during pregnancy, but as a rule of thumb, it's usually okay to continue any type of physical activity that your body is already accustomed to doing. Are you not really the exercise type? Start easy with moderately paced walking. Do you like yoga? Search your local area for a soothing prenatal yoga class, or just use a video at home. Do you run? Lace up your most supportive shoes, hit a smooth dirt trail, and remember you might have to take it slower than usual. Do you swim? Floating in water is a delight to the manatee-like pregnant body. Are you a cyclist? Avoid the streets, but go ahead and pop in a DVD of The Triplets of Belleville and spin for a few miles on a sturdy trainer. Are you a total aerobics buff? I very much enjoyed Complete Prenatal Fitness with Erin O'Brien. Are you a dancer? Try a beginner prenatal belly dance class. Belly dance was my mother-goddess fitness routine of choice before, during, and after pregnancy. It's the closest thing to getting an ideal workout for labor and childbirth while decorating your tummy like a giant Faberge egg (if you feel like it).

For inspiration, check out Sadie Marquardt giving her baby a ride. (Nux Gallica, who is now "two old," laughed at this video and said, "That lady is funny. Her mama milks are dancing!" So true, Nux, and so is her passenger.)

And then here is Sadie dancing a year or two after giving birth:

Which leads me to a secondary purpose of exercising during pregnancy--healing faster and better after the birth. Having a strong, fit body going into childbirth may facilitate the birth itself, but even if you have a c-section, fitness will serve you well afterward.

It's important to balance your fitness hopes and goals with open-minded expectations about the duration and finale of your pregnancy. Sometimes even the buffest bellies get put on bedrest. Sometimes professional athletes and hourglass-shaped contortionists end up needing c-sections or other interventions, for a variety of reasons--many of which cannot be known in advance. One of the major risks of preparing your body and mind for a healthy childbirth are the all-too-common feelings of failure, shame, and despair that follow a birth that did not go as planned (and they rarely do). Yes, there are women whose babies slide gracefully out of their bodies on waves of orgasmic songs of praise. It's absolutely true. I know some of these mythical mothers personally. They won the childbirth lottery. For most of us, it cannot be quite like what we see on those addictive YouTube videos. Most births are hard, long, ungraceful, and unpredictable. That's okay, too. There is no amount of preparation you can do that will guarantee a particular experience or outcome when those contractions start (and those contractions vary widely in strength, pattern, and intensity, depending on each woman's hormonal profile). But you can stack the odds in your favor and focus on the good you are doing to your presently pregnant body and to your future, post-birth body that is going to need Michelle Obama-Mama biceps to lift that carseat carrier/jogging stroller/case of diapers/11-pound sumo baby.

So get moving, have fun, and stay open-minded about your goals and expectations. Know that you may have to dial it down or take a break at any point. Pay attention to your body, communicate with your midwife and/or OB, and always check your balance.

Come by the Nutshell on the first Friday Monday of every month for more Middle Path Mother posts.


Popular posts from this blog

A Bad Romance Starring Till Lindemann, Sophia Thomalla, Gavin Rossdale, Simone Thomalla, Sven Martinek, Andy LaPlegua, and Leila Lowfire

To misquote Gaga, "I don't speak German, but I can look at foreign tabloids and guess what's going on if you like."

I guess it would be more professional and ladylike for me to be above this sordid celebrity gossip, but I'm not. I'm so not.

So let's see if I've got this straight. From what I gather...

Metalgod Till Lindemann, 54, and model Sophia Thomalla, 27 (upper left) recently exited a five-year, on-off, opennish relationship, which began when Sophia's actress mother Simone (upper right, in the center) and Simone's then-lover (between her marriages to nubile young athletes) actor Sven Martinek (lower left, in the center), who is famous for his lead role in German TV show Der Clown (lower right) thought it would be cute to set Sophia up with their pal Till. Apparently, the 22-year-old Sophia was not repulsed at her parental figures setting her up with a drinking buddy significantly older than her mom, which absolutely makes sense when the d…

Ich Liebe Rammstein: Till

UPDATE: After purging his sillies on the side project LINDEMANN and participating in another Rammstein documentary video, Till has begun work on a seventh Rammstein album, estimated to be released in 2017 2018. 

October 2017 is the release date of a NatGeo photo book of Till's travels in the Yukon with Joey Kelly: Mein Gehasster Freund Yukon

Yukon Ho!

For fresh squeezed gossip juice, here's a bad (as in so good) romance. Till Lindemann
Till Lindemann is the only living human who could kick Chuck Norris's ass, but he doesn't, because they go on emo hunting trips together. The source of this fact, Urban Dictionary, also provides the following essential details: "Till Lindemann is the anthropomorphic personification of pure masculinity who invented the often-lethal dance move: The Till Hammer..." "He challenges the definition of masculine..." "Every German fertility clinic features a cardboard cutout of Till Lindemann choking a shark with one hand, …

Ich Liebe Rammstein: Richard

Richard Z. Kruspe
Richard Zven Kruspe is Rammstein's founding father, lead guitarist, and natural frontman. He's gregarious, well-spoken in both German and English, a professional showman, and an enthusiastic promoter for the band. In German, his name is pronounced "REE-kard," and in Germanglish, "Reeshard," or "Reesh" for short. Richard is sexy, and he knows it. To many Rammstein fans, he is the cuuuuuuute one. His Facebook page would have you believe it.

Legend has it that Richard has a lovechild with lead singer Till Lindeman. The myth is based in complicated facts and figures, including one unconventional love triangle. Circa 1990, Richard and Till were in a band together (along with future Rammstein rhythm guitarist Paul Landers) with the cheeky name First Arsch. Till, the drummer, was a single father of a little girl at the time, the issue of a short-lived, youthful shotgun wedding--to Richard's current girlfriend. When "Mrs. Lindem…