It’s hard to believe it was only a couple of months ago I ran a marathon at six month pregnant. Now that I am much further along in my pregnancy, I can honestly say I don’t have that same energy! It has been an interesting transition going from marathon training to now training for labor and birth by engaging in light cardio activities a couple days per week. Although maintaining fitness at this point in my pregnancy has been a challenge, I know it remains a significant benefit to my preparation for labor and birth and (of course) continuing to feel great!
Since I have chosen to have a home birth, my goal is to be able to maintain just enough fitness to prepare my body to naturally sustain energy and endurance, as I know it will be so helpful during labor and birth. Based on my own recent experience, I decided to share some ideas of how I have transitioned from training for a marathon during pregnancy to now training for labor and birth of my marathon baby.
(Always check with you care provider before incorporating any type of cardio activities.)
- Light Cardio: Although there are many ways to get in some light cardio, I personally engage in activities such as walking, stationary bike, and light aerobics for a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes per day. Some days I must admit I don’t always have the energy to do these cardio activities, and therefore I take a day off and clean house or run around with my 4-year-old instead. It seems as though once I get going the energy naturally kicks in!
- Workout Buddies: I find that cultivating friends to work out with me not only motivates me but also makes exercising much more fun and desirable! Now that I have decreased my workouts from training for a marathon over to training for labor and birth, it has been pretty easy to find workout buddies to join me in some light cardio activities. This has been so beneficial for maintaining my health and fitness and has also been such a great way to have some social time with friends.
- New Workout Attire: Having good, comfortable workout attire during pregnancy is a must due to the continuous physical changes of a woman’s body. I personally find comfort in loose-fitting, breathable and stretchy clothing that I can move easily in. Undergarments such as sports bras and underwear should also be considered, as it’s so important to be comfortable all over.
- Nutrition: As always, nutrition is so important during pregnancy and even more when exercising during pregnancy. Nutrition includes the proper foods and hydration that are needed for gaining and maintaining energy. During any type of light cardio activities, I always make certain I have plenty of water and a light snack. It is always so amazing to me how it just take a little nutrition, such as a piece of fruit or handful of nuts, to boost energy!
- Rest When Needed: Resting when needed includes me taking off days from cardio activities to rest, putting my feet up every now and then to rest, and getting plenty of sleep. By resting when needed, I feel I am giving my body the opportunity to recharge so that I am that much more energized when I need it the most. Growing another human being can take a lot of energy and I find taking time to rest is so important not just for Mama, but for also for a growing baby!