So I am now almost 26 weeks into my first pregnancy and my dream of a perfectly fit pregnancy is shattered.
Ok, that’s a little dramatic! But in my mind, I always thought I would have a perfect, fit pregnancy. I would just gain the healthy weight that came with carrying around a baby, placenta, growing uterus… I would exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleepy and continue my mostly plant-based diet. The reality was, it just wasn’t that easy.
Part of my failure I like to blame on my knee injury. I tore my left medial meniscus right before conceiving. At that time, I could barely walk longer than 15 minutes, no stairs or swimming, no bending at the knee. Even standing while I cooked dinner resulted in a grapefruit-sized swollen knee. I stopped all exercise because of this, which was stupid! Last time I checked, arms and abs didn’t require a functioning knee.
A Fit Pregnancy is Easier Said Than Done
As much as I try to blame it all on the knee, there was also that little thing called pregnancy. Pregnancy is not as advertised, at least it wasn’t for me. My first trimester involved nausea from morning to night. My only relief was eating some potatoes. Yup, potatoes at any time made me feel like I wasn’t going to chuck all over. Too bad that only lasted 15 minutes until the nausea would come right back. My second trimester has been better and my diet has drastically improved, but I still struggle with the exercise part. I really don’t have any excuses, except that little exhaustion thing, since my knee has slowly started getting better.
My Fit Pregnancy Plan
So after months of little movement and poor diet, I finally committed to working out. What I ended up having to do was write a list of exercises I could actually perform, given the knee and the growing belly. Once I had a list, I put together a few workouts plans that I could do in 45 minutes.
- Squats (great for pregnancy, no for injured knee)
- Lunges (same as above)
- Fire Hydrants
- Donkey Kicks
- Single Leg Bridges (stopped after 22 weeks because of belly discomfort)
- Tricep dips
- Bicep curls
- Push ups
- Planks (stopped at 24 weeks for belly discomfort)
- Reverse planks
So 1 through 5 are great leg exercises, 6 to 8 are arms, and the last two are all over toning. Being a HIIT addict, I would pick 3 exercises and do 30 seconds of each, for 3-4 rounds. Then pick another 3 and repeat the same concept. The biggest thing to remember is that as your belly grows, be aware of what is comfortable. Anything that causes your abdomen to cone is a no-no.
I usually paired this with a 30 min walk or 30 mins on the elliptical. Later in my 2nd trimester, I found the treadmill doable at an incline of 5 and a pace of 4.0. This helps with cardio and leg/butt toning.
And then finally, I found this prenatal yoga website. The videos are helpful for aches, pains, and stretching. I try to do a video at least once per week.
I certainly am not in the shape I was pre-pregnancy and I find it harder and harder to move around with this belly. But resetting my expectations helped to at least get me active again. Every bit helps, and it certainly will make the delivery that much easier!