Being pregnant with your first child is very exciting. There is a lot to learn and look forward to when you are expecting. There is no doubt that there will be some majors changes to your life once your bundle of joy arrives. But, before you start thinking about the changes that are coming once the baby arrives, you need to prepare for the changes that will happen to your body in the next few months. Taking care of your body during pregnancy will improve how you feel while pregnant and how quickly you recover afterward. One of the best ways to care for your body during pregnancy is to exercise regularly. The recommendations for frequency and type of exercise during pregnancy are similar to those for people who are not pregnant. As long as you clear what you plan to do with your doctor, you should be able to follow a quality exercise routine throughout your pregnancy.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is all of the movement you do throughout the day that is not part of your structured exercise routine. Examples of NEAT include things like cleaning the house, cooking, and walking. This type of movement is important whether you are pregnant or not. Your structured exercise routine is a small portion of your day. NEAT is something that you can do consistently throughout the day. If you are intentional about moving as often as possible throughout the day, it can improve your overall physical wellbeing. When you are pregnant, the importance of NEAT is amplified. Your body is changing quickly. Moving as much as you can throughout the day can help you adjust to those changes. In addition, consistent movement can help you avoid pregnancy-related issues like back pain, swelling, and fatigue. NEAT is something that needs to happen every day during your pregnancy as long as you are able to safely be up and moving around.
Resistance training is a type of exercise that involves moving your muscles under some type of load. This can include using weights, exercise machines, bands, and even your own body weight. There are many benefits to resistance training including increased strength, muscle building, faster metabolism, protection against bone loss, and weight management. Resistance training can help you build functional strength that protects you against common issues in pregnancy. For example, resistance training can improve the strength in your back and core. As you advance in the pregnancy, that strength will help protect against back pain and will help you during the process of giving birth. Most people can get the full value of a resistance program by training three days per week. If you were following a resistance training program before pregnancy, it is typically safe to continue with that routine during pregnancy. You may have to make some adjustments to your routine as you get closer to giving birth. Talk to your doctor about your workout routine to make sure it is safe for your situation and (if approved) continue on with the same workout frequency you followed before getting pregnant.
Moving while you are pregnant is extremely important. If you have a healthy, normal pregnancy then your doctor will likely give you the go ahead to continue with the exercise program you were doing before the pregnancy. Be intentional with NEAT movement on a daily basis and continue with resistance training three times a week to get the most benefit during your pregnancy.