By Jeana Lee Tahnk
When I think back to the final months of my three pregnancies, I
imagine how goofy I must have looked while exercising, trying keep some
semblance of muscle tone by doing whatever movements my round and
unbalanced shape could tolerate.
I'm a real creature of habit, so I tried to keep my daily exercise
routine intact despite the human being growing inside me. I was lucky
(if you could call it that) that my "morning" sickness started about 4
p.m. each day, which allowed me to get my morning workouts in.
At the beginning, pre-big belly, my workouts didn't change that
much. I alternated between jogs, interval training and resistance
training, but as time progressed and the belly started popping out, I
modified my workouts to ensure I wasn't doing exercises flat on my back
after 20 weeks and wasn't increasing my heart rate too high. And of
course, I made sure I always had water on hand.
Finding the right clothes to work out in posed its own set of
challenges as well. But I simply invested in a couple of pairs of
bargain maternity exercise pants and t-shirts, allowing me to continue
working out comfortably without my pre-pregnancy leggings cutting off my
During the second and third trimesters, when my belly started
becoming its own entity, I found myself working out to more
pregnancy-specific DVDs-lightweight training, yoga, low-impact
aerobics-as well as lots and lots of walking. Walking became my go-to
exercise at the end for loosening up the joints, getting the heart rate
up and, at the very very end, trying to kickstart the baby-coming-out
If I weren't such a wimp when it comes to cold water, I would have
taken more advantage of having a pool in the backyard. But the times I
did go in (on really, really hot days) were really nice. I can't think
of any pregnant woman who wouldn't appreciate feeling weightless for a
short period of time.
I definitely credit exercising throughout my pregnancies as a major
factor in making postpartum recovery faster. And after having the baby,
it was nice to know that underneath the extra padding, there was a toned
body in there somewhere.