Article written by Kendall Richmond, A KettleFit member since November 2014.
As a first time mum-to-be, there’s a pretty long list of questions constantly buzzing through my brain. But whether or not to continue exercising certainly hasn’t been one of them. Maintaining my twice-weekly sessions with Kettlefit throughout my pregnancy has not only benefitted my growing bubs — it’s kept me fit, balanced and ready to tackle the unknown territory ahead.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy
Compared to the eat-for-two and stay-off-your-feet mentality that prevailed during my mother’s generation, women today are encouraged to stay active and physically fit throughout pregnancy. The advantages? Here are just a handful of the benefits that babycenter.com.au notes:
- Sleeping better at night
- Minimising pregnancy niggles, including backache
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing your blood sugar levels if you develop gestational diabetes.
While the list goes on, I’d say confidence is the biggest benefit I’ve noted by continuing to workout with Kettlefit even as I cross the 30-week mark (yep, in the homestretch now!). There’s nothing quite like getting through a set of clean/squat/presses or making it to the end of the dreaded Revolving Mountain workout to remind me that — despite my ever-expanding bump — I can still conquer the physical and mental challenges I set for myself.
Because I’ve continued exercising, I feel better prepared for the rigours of labour and birth as well as the day-to-day demands of being a mum. And with any luck, my kiddo will be born with perfect kettle bell swing technique already!
Tailoring your workout to suit your pregnancy’s needs
Granted, exercising while preggers isn’t always glamorous. I may have tumbled over my kettle bells a time or two during a renegade row. (Hello, pregnancy-onset clumsiness!) And there came a point where there just weren’t enough resistance bands to help me get anywhere near a chin-up.
Glamorous or not, here are a few things I’ve learned so far about how to approach exercise with a bun in the oven. (Of course, it’s crucial to check in with your doctor first to make sure that exercise is safe and appropriate for you.)
- Listen to your body. Even in the early stages when you can’t quite see what’s going on, your body is hard at work. Listen to your body’s cues. If you’re feeling exhausted, give yourself a break (and don’t judge yourself for skipping a workout or two). If I couldn’t make it to KettleFit, I’d at least go on a long, restorative walk instead. Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after your workouts — let your body guide your workout’s frequency and intensity. Build in extra breaks during your session and make sure that you stay well hydrated.
- Be adaptable. Some days I felt like Wonder Woman, while other days I could barely lift a pinkie finger. Roll with it and accept that every day will be a bit different. Even if you opt to do largely body weight and mobility exercises instead of using the kettle bells, you and your baby are still reaping the benefits of staying active.
- Modify as needed. Listen to input from your doctor as well as your trainers to appropriately modify your workouts as your pregnancy progresses. Read up and keep yourself informed about exercise guidelines. For instance, you’ll need to avoid exercises that position you on your back such as sit and press or bench press (try setting up the bench press on an incline instead). Keep in mind that you’re carrying around extra kilos, so progressively ease up on weights as your pregnancy advances. And going back to the first point, always let your body be your guide.
Everyone’s needs during pregnancy will be different. For me, continuing to sweat it out in Kettlefit sessions has kept me connected to a supportive community, boosted my confidence around labour and motherhood, and helped me keep many pregnancy-related complaints at bay (no swollen ankles here, at least so far…).
So, keep swinging — baby bump and all!