Pregnancy is an incredible experience. At 36 weeks along and with just a few left to go, I feel healthy and strong. I’m starting to tire easily, but overall it has been a smooth ride. I attribute this to a steady physical routine throughout my second and third trimesters.
From reading the book Gentle Birth Method early on in my pregnancy, I learned that pregnancy is not an excuse to slack off from exercise and eat whatever you want. On the contrary, it’s a training period for the most intense physical activity your body can endure (there’s a reason why it’s called “labor”).
In her well acclaimed book, London-based Dr. Gowri Motha suggests that women take time for themselves in their first trimester to adjust to being pregnant, but to resume exercise by their second trimester. Her clients (which include Elle Macpherson and other celebrities) typically only gain around 20-25 pounds and are light on their feet. A lot of this has to do with a healthy diet that nourishes both mother and baby with nutrients, but a lot has to do with fitness. For me, I have generally eaten whatever I have craved (such as carbs and sweets) in moderation, but have balanced it out with a fresh green juice daily, and foods high in nutrients.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to take up some high intensity workout such as running or cross-fit if you didn’t already do that prior to being pregnant, but it’s a great time to create your own routine of walking, yoga, or other low impact exercise.
My weekly routine (up until week 37) has consisted of the following:
- Mondays: Reformer Pilates
- Tuesdays: Yoga
- Wednesdays: Walk
- Thursdays: Tennis lesson (now I just walk)
- Fridays: Yoga
I did all of these activities prior to being pregnant so I felt that they were safe for me to resume. This routine has provided me with a nice balance of stretching, cardio, and toning. This past Thursday was my last time to play tennis now that it’s so hot out. The key is to listen to your body and do whatever feels best for you.. you definitely don’t want to overdo it.
For Yoga, I recommend a number of classes by various instructors at WeYogis (the We Flow class taught by Natalie Golden on Tuesdays has been a great pace for me). They also offer a Prenatal Yoga class Thursdays at 5:30pm which is great for those who are newer to yoga.
If you don’t have a regular yoga practice and need some guidance, Hilaria Baldwin’s DVD Fit Mommy to Be is great for those who prefer to practice prenatal yoga at home. Now that we’re settled in our house and have more space, I enjoy practicing up in our golf/yoga room or out back on our patio.
Here are a few of my favorite poses to practice in preparation for childbirth.
Pigeon Pose: this pose is a great hip opener, and feels amazing. I’ve demonstrated it in the sleeping swan variation where you rest forward on the forearms or forehead, but you can prop yourself up on your hands if your belly is too big or if your hips are too tight.
Goddess Pose: another great hip opener. The heels are in and the toes rotate out to get the hips to open. You can slowly move side to side or up and down in this pose or raise your heels so you’re on the balls of your feet if you want to tone your calves and inner thighs.
Bridge Pose: this is a great pose to relieve lower back pain which I’ve experienced quite a bit of in my third trimester. You can place a yoga block underneath your sacrum (below your lower back, but above your tailbone) to make this posture more supportive and restorative. It feels great to rest the arms above your head if you’re doing the supportive version of this pose with a block. I’m demonstrating a more advanced version with my hands in Badahasta underneath me so that its stretches my shoulders while toning my glutes and thighs.
Outfit Details: I have to share that I’m wearing Beyond Yoga’s maternity line Beyond The Bump and that they’re the most comfortable yoga clothes I own. The fabric feels like butter and is very stretchy. The tops have ruching along the sides and the pants have an elastic stretch band (just like maternity jeans). They come in many colors and have a crop version of the pant as well. I like to wear the crops with my Nikes to go walking.
All the best!
photography by Stephanie Drenka