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Blog — First Time Parents

Working Out While Pregnant

Working Out While Pregnant

Everyone knows that it’s important to take care of your physical body when you are pregnant, but this goes beyond trying to eat a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. Getting daily exercise is just as necessary as those things, and can make a huge difference in how you feel during pregnancy as well as the condition your body is in when you go into labor.

But what exercises are best for you? That all depends on what types of exercise you already do. In general, it is said that you can continue to perform activities and exercises that you normally do in your daily life as long as it is comfortable for you.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I had just started taking horseback riding lessons. I was advised to stop because it isn’t something that my body was used to, and there was a risk of placental abruption due to the pelvic motion caused by riding. That was pretty disappointing, but I obviously wanted to keep my body and my baby safe, so I stopped.

I knew that exercising while pregnant was very important, but I will also be the first to admit that I was terrible at it. Setting a goal for myself seemed daunting at first, but finally I settled on trying to walk for at least 30 minutes each day. As it turned out, this became a very real and enjoyable goal that I met just about every day.

If you enjoyed hiking, swimming, cycling, or jogging before you got pregnant, you can usually continue to do these activities while you are pregnant so long as you aren’t experiencing any complications. Prenatal yoga is a wonderfully gentle form of exercise that can help you to relax and increase flexibility, making it great for your mind and body, and can be done safely by most women without complication. More strenuous activities like weight training, cross-fit, etc may be continued into pregnancy if you have an established practice, but it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor just to make sure. It is not recommended that you start any intense exercise training after becoming pregnant as this can significantly increase your risk of complications.

Signs to watch out for:

Whether you are continuing an established exercise practice or starting a new one, it is important to be aware of serious symptoms of possible pregnancy complications. If you notice any of these, stop immediately and contact your doctor:


*Abdominal Cramping

*Vaginal spotting/bleeding

*Shortness of breath


*Heart Palpitations

*Chest Pains

*Fluid leaking from the vagina

In general, do what feels good to your body. Do not push yourself to do more than you feel you are able, and let your doctor know immediately if you have questions or if something doesn’t feel right. Otherwise, enjoy doing something amazing and nourishing for you and your baby!

First Trimester To-Do List

First Trimester To-Do List

You’ve just taken a pregnancy test and saw that little “+” or smiley face or “Pregnant” or whatever symbol happens to correspond with your test of choice, and you are likely now thinking about what the first trimester holds for you. Here are some things you should be preparing for, thinking about, or doing right now::

  • Choosing a healthcare provider. There are lots of OBGYNs, Midwives, and PCPs to explore, but ultimately you want to make sure that the caregiver you go with really resonates with your birth plan and beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth. Finding a provider who you really connect with will make all of the difference in your pregnancy and delivery experience since you are not only looking to them for physical care, information and guidance, but for emotional support as well. And since we’re on the subject of choosing a healthcare provider, you will also want to...

  • Figure out how you are going to pay your provider. Most of us have health insurance already, but the amount of coverage that each individual has will vary greatly. If you want a midwife instead of an OBGYN, you’ll want to see if your insurance covers midwifery care. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to figure out how much it will cost you out-of-pocket, and whether or not you can afford it. This is something you are not going to want to deal with later on in your pregnancy, so it’s best to get it out of the way first.

  • Check in on your health and eating habits. If you have been smoking, drinking in excess, getting too little exercise, and/or eating a poor diet, now is the time to really take a look at these habits and make improvements that will benefit your and your baby’s health.  Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on your developing baby. Poor diet can lead to pregnancy complications, and may also - in more severe cases - prevent your growing baby from receiving all of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for healthy brain and organ development. See what you can do to make even a few small changes that can have a big effect on your and your baby’s health.

  • Take an inventory of your regular daily activities to ensure that they are safe for pregnancy. When I got pregnant in 2009 I was working for a commercial cleaning company. Every day I was surrounded by hazardous chemicals that weren’t really safe for pregnant women to work around. I quit within the first trimester due more to extreme fatigue than chemical exposure, but that was definitely a factor in my decision to leave. If need be, check in with your caregiver if you aren’t sure whether or not a specific activity is safe or not.

  • Find ways to relieve early pregnancy symptoms if you are experiencing them. One of the most common complaints is morning sickness. If you are able to build up your magnesium and Vitamin D stores at least 6 months before you get pregnant, your chances of morning sickness will decrease greatly. If you haven’t prepared, however, you may still be able to find relief through the use of various products and/or supplements: Ginger, sea-bands, eating small meals sufficient in protein throughout the day, or - in extreme cases - prescription anti-nausea medication may all help. Be gentle with yourself and if you aren’t feeling well, take time to rest and nurture your body.

  • REST. For many pregnant women, exhaustion comes on hard and fast during the first trimester. If you are able you should make it a point to rest as much as you can so you aren’t dragging all day long. I know this can be challenging for those who work full time or have other children to tend to, but even if you have to take a cat-nap at work, or lay down with your other littles during their nap time, this can make a big difference in how you feel in general from day to day. Go to bed early if you can! Your body is doing incredible things, and it’s only natural to feel some exhaustion because of it.

  • Try to get adequate exercise. This doesn’t mean that you have to do a bunch of cardio or weight training, but you do want to keep your body supple and your blood and oxygen flowing. When it comes time to deliver your baby, you want to make sure that you are able to meet the physical challenges that the experience may require of you. Having hip and leg flexibility and the ability to exert yourself for long periods of time can be most helpful when the time comes. Not only that, but exercising helps to cut down on fatigue and it just feels good!

  • Learn to distinguish between normal pregnancy symptoms and symptoms that may require caregiver notification. Especially if you are pregnant for the first time, it can be hard to tell whether a particular ache, pain, or sensation is normal, or if it requires immediate attention. Talk with your caregiver at your first appointment and do your own research so you’ll be better informed in the event that something doesn’t feel right.

  • Do fun pregnancy stuff! Think about names, track your baby’s growth, start looking at baby clothes and nursery items, begin building a registry, etc etc etc.

During the challenging parts of the First Trimester, it’s always a good idea to throw some relaxing and fun things in there for good measure. Oh, and here’s a tip: use to set up your registry. You can add items from anywhere on the internet, regardless of whether or not a particular store actually has a baby registry tool!