When I first got pregnant with Adeline, I just knew I’d be “that girl” that ran and worked out and lifted all throughout her pregnancy. And then week 6 hit, and all those hopes and dreams came crashing down! I was sick with Adeline for the majority of the first 20 weeks, then off and on until the very, very end. Even into labor! I had to quickly accept the fact that my level of exercise would be radically toned down, and to not compare myself with other active pregnant women I was seeing. I really beat myself up over this, and I remember thinking it was so hard to not be bitter about having a less-than-Instagram perfect pregnancy. I maintained a loyal walking regimen though, and managed to finish out my pregnancy with a healthy weight gain, no swelling, minimal aches and pains, low blood pressure, and crossed the finish line looking like I was smuggling a basketball. My doctor always advocated that walking was a great low impact way to stay fit during pregnancy, and I’m very thankful I was able to walk as much as I did. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I was able to hit the gym and the weights on a regular basis like all the other fitness bloggers I followed at the time.
So when pregnancy number two rolled around, I thought maybe, maybe this time I’ll be able to hit the gym more. Surely a second pregnancy will be easier and I won’t be as sick or tired. I’ve done this once before and my body has totally got this! I’m super motivated this time and can’t wait to be super hot and fit this pregnancy. LOLOLOLOL.
Turns out, second pregnancies can be even harder than first pregnancies! I grossly underestimated how much energy it would take to just literally be pregnant with a toddler. Like, to just exist in a pregnant state whilst parenting a toddler is truly the most tiring thing ever. (I had always heard this, but one cannot fully understand this exhaustion until you’re in it!) I once again quickly embraced the fact that my dream pregnancy workout regimen would once again most likely be relegated to walking. And I am a-ok with that.
This go around, I’m saying YES to more walks, and NO to comparison. Instagram has changed so much even since just 2015 and I feel like now, on a daily basis, I am flooded with perfectly curated pregnancy feeds, creative gym workouts and long runs at 20 weeks+, pregnant stroller jogging with a toddler, and 6 packs 6 weeks postpartum. It always amazes me, but I’ve had to accept the fact that I am simply not a fit-guru while pregnant. And it’s ok if you’re not either! Pregnancy is a time of grace, and if your body doesn’t feel like it can handle your usual workout, then you need to listen to your body and only do what feels good. I think social media tells us we have to be like everyone else, but I’m here to tell you that if walking is all you can handle during your pregnancy, then walk on sister!
Walking regularly during pregnancy is a perfectly healthy and safe way to maintain an adequate level of fitness. There are countless benefits to walking during pregnancy, and I’m a firm believer in them. Here are a few, just for starters:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps maintain muscle tone
- Helps with keeping your strength up for labor and delivery
- Reduces stress
- Helps reduce chances of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
Pregnancy changes your body, your mindset, your energy, your everything! As much as I wish I had the energy and gumption to hit the gym a few times a week or go on a jog, my body just isn’t having it during this unique season. I want to encourage all you fellow pregnant mamas to keep up whatever level fitness you feel comfortable with, and to not compare yourself to someone else. Pregnancies are as unique as snowflakes, and should be treated as such!
Now, go get your walk on and move that belly!
What was your exercise level like during pregnancy? Were you a runner before and a runner during? Did you feel up to hitting the gym still?