5 ways to prepare you body for a fit pregnancy
As a mother and someone trying for my second pregnancy now, I’ve realized how important it is to prepare the body for a fit pregnancy. It is something massively overlooked and while there are thousand of prenatal and postnatal health and fitness guidelines, there is huge lack of education about exercising when planning to conceive.
A good fitness regime before getting pregnant will strengthen and prepare your body for a more successful pregnancy and postnatal recovery. What’s more, taking this preventative approach is crucial for women without an exercise routine since most doctors recommend not to take on new training regimes during pregnancy.
There are so many benefits of starting early. I’m on a mission to help women reap the benefits of a fitness regime when planning to conceive that focuses on key body parts such as the core, back and pelvic floor. Besides exercise, a good diet and adjusting your lifestyle are also key to prepare your body for a fit and fabulous pregnancy.
Here I will share five essential ways in which you can prepare your body if you’re planning to get pregnant in the near future:
1. Workout three times a week.
Find a regime that you are comfortable with and one that you will stick to. Don’t go head-strong now and then fall off the bandwagon - I have been there and in the end it can be disheartening. Get your mind, body and soul in balance.
The benefit of starting now is that there is a grey area about starting a new exercise regime once you are pregnant and sadly, it is only at this point when many women think about getting started. Get ahead of it, think preventative and find an exercise program you enjoy and get started today!
2. Incorporate weights into your exercise regime.
You can ditch the old school running on the treadmill for hours a week and incorporate a mixture of weights and cardio. Having done all types of training: from martial arts, triathlons, bikram, swimming and including my time at the gym doing ridiculous amounts of cardio (90s, thank you!), I can promise that also with exercise, less is more. There is a lot of stigma around women lifting weights and fear they will end up looking look like Schwarzenegger!
Understand that “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. Our bodies need to be strengthened, especially as we get into our 30s. By no means this means that you need to lift heavy weights, but I do recommend getting familiar with the weight section of your gym. Don’t be intimidated by the muscle men!
3. Ditch sodas from your diet.
We’ve all heard a million times that soda is bad for you. That actually includes flavoured waters, diet sodas and everything in between. What most people don’t know, is that both diet and sugary soda drinks promote ovulatory infertility. A recent study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine found a link between artificial sweeteners, such as those used in “diet” sodas, and lower fertility rates, while use of sugar in soft drinks and added to coffee was associated with poorer quality of eggs and embryos.
I stick to water or mineral water, and there are some natural ways to help you add some flavour to it such as sliced cucumbers, sliced lemons, mint and basil. Add one or more of these and to your water your body will thank you.
4. Work on your posture.
There are many exercises that you can do that will help to ensure a great posture but it will also take some conscious work on your behalf. Even though my body is strong, I still need to be mindful about my posture when sitting. Breastfeeding my daughter took a toll on my posture and it was tough on my back - thankfully, good training and good posture was the best investment and made a huge difference.
If you work at a computer, make sure you have the screen at the correct height, and sit in the right chair. If you are standing all day, check that your shoes suitable for standing and try ditch those heels. Do some ‘posture checks’ during your day - initially I even set a reminder on my phone to get used to it, until it became a habit. An added bonus for anyone with a correct posture is looking and feeling more confident - your boobs will be perkier, too!
5.Turn to vegetable protein.
A recent Harvard study proved that replacing a serving of meat each day with beans, peas, soybeans or tofu, or nuts can improve fertility. These foods come with healthy fats and are relatively low in calories. As a pescatarian myself, this is something I am actively doing.
Just ditch one of your meat meals and make a hearty dish full of vegetable proteins. In my pre-pregnancy program I decided to included my favorite 30 recipes - it’s my go-to for healthy, easy and delicious meals with the nutrients women need when planning to get pregnant.
I hope all these tips help you on your journey to pregnancy. Remember to invest now that you can, to equip your body with those fitness and lifestyle adjustments that will make a huge difference when you get pregnant (and beyond!)
If you want to learn more about Nicole and her pre pregnancy preparation fitness programs you can head to her website by clicking here.