Mind and body coach Saron van Diemen explains the importance of staying fit during pregnancy and, with the help of the AM Facebook group, shares the most popular pregnancy fitness classes in town.
5 Reasons Why You Should Exercise During Pregnancy
The changes a woman's body goes through during pregnancy are awe-inspiring. Making a human is a serious business. As you prepare and plan for baby, don’t let fitness fall off your radar. Now, more than ever, it is important to make fitness a priority and I’m here to share 5 reasons why.
- It will boost your energy. Pregnancy fatigue is no joke. It’s normal to feel tired, especially during the first trimester. By all means, you should indulge your body with extra rest, but never underestimate the power of a workout to boost your energy, regardless how tired you feel going into it. Tip: Take a moment to reflect during that post-workout bliss. Remember that feeling next time you aren’t feeling very motivated to work out.
- You’ll be fit for labor. Giving birth is an endurance sport in itself and you’ll get through it much easier if you train properly. Aside from stamina, a strong core will work to your benefit. And by 'core', I don’t mean your six-pack - you’ll want to hold off training your rectus abdominis until after the baby is born and those muscles come back together. The core muscles I’m referring to are 1) the transversus abdominis - the innermost abdominals that you use when you pull in your belly, and 2) your pelvic floor muscles. Being able to relax and control these muscles will help push the baby out when the time comes. Tip: Do your Kegels! Gently contract your pelvic-floor muscles as if you are trying to hold in your pee and stop yourself from passing gas at the same time, then relax. During pregnancy, your goal is to have a sense of control over these muscles and be able to relax them completely.
- You’ll gain weight at a healthy rate. The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight prior to getting pregnant and your BMI. In general, an average healthy weight gain is between 10-15 kg. Keeping those pregnancy kilos in check will help reduce your chance of pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. And you’ll have the added bonus of being able to get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans sooner.
- You’ll have fewer aches and pains. Strong muscles can help support the common weak spots of the pregnant body such as the lower back, hips, and sacroiliac joints. Regular exercise is also known to lessen the effects of other common pregnancy complaints such as leg cramps and hemorrhoids. Tip: Add some squats to your daily routine! To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips, pushing your butt back and down until it is parallel with your knees. Press through your heels and straighten the knees and hips, coming back to standing to complete one rep. Repeat 10 times. Be sure to keep your upper body upright and your spine in a neutral position.
- It’s good for the baby, too! A decade ago women were advised to keep their heart rate under 140 bpm during exercise. Fortunately, current research shows that an increase in maternal heart rate during exercise shows no negative side effects for baby. In fact, we now know that maternal cardio activity actually contributes to improved heart health in infants. Tip: Do some intervals next time you’re out for a walk. Power walk from one lamp post or park bench to the next, alternating with an easy pace.
Pregnancy Fitness Classes in Amsterdam
As you can see, the payoff from sticking to an exercise program during pregnancy is huge. Hundreds of moms around Amsterdam are exercising during and after pregnancy.
Need help finding a pregnancy fitness provider here in Amsterdam? Check out the following recommendations from our Amsterdam Mamas. Be sure to ask your midwife or doctor which exercises are safe for you.
This list has been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group.
Saron van Diemen is the mother of two boys, ages 6 and 8 and has taught pregnancy and postpartum fitness classes for Mom in Balance since 2009. Follow Saron at Total Self for the latest information about fitness for the body and mind.
photo credit: Fotolia