I’m 23 weeks pregnant today and this morning I woke up raring to go. I felt strong like the ox and ready to exercise. Junior was in on the game doing aerobics from about 5am, and when I was cuddling into Mike’s back, even he could feel the kicks for the first time (how romantic – ‘yes, baby, daddy first felt you kick his bottom’). Well, I thought it was aerobics but when I described what I thought mini Mike was doing (with accompanying music), Mike said it looked more like the baby was practising its shit dance moves so it could join in with me. He’s mean.

Anyway, by the time I got into work I was still feeling good so I took the 3 flights of stairs up to my office. It nearly killed me. I then had to walk to the dentist (via Next to take back what looked like a lovely dress but wasn’t) and within 3 steps I had stitch and by the time I got back I was exhausted. I put it down to being too hot, and wearing a big thick coat and hunter wellies (which are increadibly heavy!).

Not to be outdone though, I persevered and went to the gym at  lunch time, which was a lot easier as I concentrated on some weights for my arms and legs to ease me back in. One thing that was uncomfortable was my gym pants – 10 days away and they are now TOO TIGHT! The good news is that that is mainly baby and not all-inclusive holiday as I only put on 4lbs while we were away. That must be a record for that kind of holiday.

Anyhoo, with my new healthy vigour still intact, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been looking for decent advice about exercise for pregnant women. Note the decent bit as a lot of advice out there is quite wishy washy and generic, and tends to err on the side of caution (for obvious but not necessarily good reasons). Even if you have never exercised before in your life, you can still start to do something when you are pregnant, and in fact both you and baby will benefit from it massively. Which is all well and good but what are you meant to do?! At present I am no expert on this but I will make it my mission to find out for my non-exercising pregnant friends!

In the mean time, I have unearthed a few little gems regarding exercise for pregnant women who were active before they got pregnant. I owe the credit here to Ammi in her blog Not Just A Man’s World, where she has highlighted some excellent resources and inspiration for pregnant women who want to continue exercising – if you scroll to the bottom you will see that she’s also responded to my comment to point me to more articles she has written (see this one for example). One of the articles Ammi points to is on Precisionnutrition.com, which lists 10 excellent reasons why you should exercise during pregnancy:

  1. Lower risk of developing gestational diabetes
  2. Weight control
  3. Reduced postpartum depression
  4. Less water retention
  5. Larger placenta and more nutrients for your baby
  6. Decreased likelihood of varicose veins
  7. Less likely to require a caesarian delivery
  8. More rapid return to pre-pregnancy weight
  9. Leaner children up to 5 years after delivery
  10. Increased fitness for delivery & for toting around your new baby stroller and diaper bag

What I love about this list is that it mentions preventing some of the 9 embarrassing pregnancy symptoms I listed way back. If that isn’t reason enough I don’t know what is! Point 9 also made me laugh.

The article also reinforces that you should aim to exercise for 30 mins/day and gives some advice for novice exercisers. One of the most important things I learnt from this article was that the point of exercise when you are pregnant is to maintain your existing fitness, so basically I should put building muscles and losing fat out of my mind.

Ammi also points to this excellent article about Exercising for Two from the New York times – have a look not only for the image but also for the mental image of baby bean joining in! – I could tell it was. Here they say that your baby does actively join in when you exercise and in fact grows stronger and healthier as a result of it. I can see mini-Mike now with it’s little sweat bands on!