Baby Fever hits Hollywood! Alicia Keys, Kelly Preston, and Christina Applegate are just few of the expecting celebrities.
As a mom, I am always amazed how the stars’ bodies seem to bounce right back after giving birth. Doesn’t seem fair! One trick, celebs know, is to be in good pre-pregnancy shape, then most women can continue exercising - unless their doctor advises differently.
“After pregnancy, it’s easier for a woman’s body to get back to pre-pregnancy shape if she has maintained a high level of fitness and ideal body weight before getting pregnant,” advises Reebok fitness trainer, Sara Haley, who has worked with Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.
With a commitment to healthy living and exercise prior to getting pregnant, it’s a lot easier for pregnant women to work out at up to 75 percent intensity. Sara lists her 5 must-dos for women who plan to become pregnant and exercise.
5 Things To Do Before Starting A Pre-Natal Fitness Routine:
1. Always check with your doctor. If you are considered high-risk you may be playing by different workout rules!
2. Carefully evaluate what your exercise level and intensity was before getting pregnant. This will determine how hard and how much you are able to work out now that you are pregnant. Pregnancy is not the time to begin a brand new workout or strive to meet your fitness dream goals. Do similar workouts to what you did prior to getting pregnant but at a more moderate level.
3. It’s even more important now to stay hydrated throughout your workout! Drinking water will help you regulate your body temperature (which you don’t want to get too high).
4. Start doing your Kegel exercises NOW to help strengthen your pelvic floor. Practice throughout the day by contracting them for a count of three and then releasing them. Not only will Kegels help you control your increasing need to use the bathroom, but also by keeping these muscles strong and flexible, they will help you during the actual birth and aid in your postnatal recovery.
5. Have a snack prior to working out or bring a snack with you. You never know when hunger may strike. My favorite pre-workout snack is Bellybar Mellow Oat bar by Nurtrabella. Not only are they low-calorie and delicious but have lots of prenatal nutrients in them as well!
Sara also shares three of her favorite keep-fit exercises and how to adjust them throughout your pregnancy. The more frequently and correctly you perform these exercises prior to pregnancy, the longer you will be able to do them and the easier time you will have with them during your pregnancy. Remember each pregnancy is different, so you may need to modify some exercises sooner than others. The most important thing is to listen to your body!
1. PUSH-UPS: Push-ups will provide strength and support for your increasing breast size. Work to do at least a minimum of 6-10 in a row.
Pre-pregnancy/1st trimester: Perfect your technique - Keep your hands right underneath your shoulders. Push your shoulders down away from your ears, engage your core, and squeeze your butt to keep a nice flat back. With your feet (or knees if necessary) on the floor, work for the fullest range of motion possible. As you lower down, think of hitting a 90-degree angle from the shoulder to the elbow. Exhale deeply on your way back up.
2nd trimester: Adjust the width of your arms and legs to a distance that feels comfortable. (Remember to avoid letting the back sink.) By putting your knees on the floor you can also help minimize some of the extra weight you are now lifting.
3rd trimester: Feel free to elevate your upper body to allow more room for the belly and to lessen your load. Move your hands up to a couch, coffee table, or even against a wall.
2. SQUATS: Squats are one of the best exercises, pregnant or not. They teach you how to lift properly, which you will be doing a lot of in months to come!
Pre-pregnancy/1st trimester: Perform a basic squat with the legs parallel and about shoulder width apart. Pretend to sit back into a chair by keeping your weight in your heels with your shoulders back and chest lifted. Try holding for 10-20 seconds at a time.
2nd trimester: Rotate out slightly from the hips and take your legs a bit wider than the shoulders to make room for your belly as you sit down. Keep your heels on the floor and your spine long with the chest lifted. Engage your back muscles by squeezing your shoulder blades together; these muscles can become especially weak during pregnancy due to all the extra weight you are carrying in front.
3rd trimester: Put a stability ball against a wall and stand with your lower back resting on the ball. Work to keep your back against the ball as you lower down into your squat (with the legs wide and rotated out from the hips). The ball will aid you in keeping your spine long and tall.
3. SIDE PLANKS: Side planks will help keep your core strong and challenge your stability, without the strain and contraindications of oblique twists or crunches.
Pre-pregnancy/1st trimester: Lie on your right side with your legs stacked and your right hand underneath your right shoulder. Lift your hips up off the floor. Work to hold up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the left.
2nd trimester: As your center of gravity shifts and balancing becomes more difficult, you may want to lower your knees to the floor or move from your hand to your forearm.
3rd trimester: Use the same modifications as in the 2nd trimester. Due to your increasing belly, you may find it becomes more challenging to breath deeply, so you may want to limit your duration to 10-15 seconds at a time.
For more info on Sara and other fitness tips, check out www.sarafitness.com.