Working out while expecting is a challenge. Not only does your changing body offer some new limitations (ever tried to do a balance pose while eight months pregnant?), but fatigue, nausea, and all those weird aches and pains that come with a growing belly can also make exercise seem like an impossible task. Fitness experts like mom-of-two Tracy Anderson advise listening to your body and adapting your previously strenuous workouts to accommodate your new body goal: growing a healthy baby. But if you're not sure where to start with your pregnancy workouts, we've got you covered. The following five workouts are mom-to-be-friendly, endorsed by celebrity moms, and will ensure that you and your baby feel strong and energized throughout your pregnancy.
We recently sat down with celeb trainer Tracy Anderson to talk all about her new pregnancy DVDs, which are set to be released next month. (Stay tuned for some exclusive exercise routines Tracy created for FitSugar and LilSugar.) Tracy, who's expecting a daughter in May, opened up to us about her own pregnancies, her celeb clients, and how real women should approach pregnancy before, during, and after it. Check out the highlights of our intimate talk below.
On her pregnancy weight gain: "I gained 60 pounds with my son, and I've only gained 20 pounds during this pregnancy. I was 22 years old when I was pregnant with my son, and I actually discovered my method while I was pregnant. For the last 13 years, I've been giving birth to a business! My body is so tightly knit and so much stronger from 13 years of doing my method. It's so important that you get into good shape before you get pregnant, if you're lucky enough to plan it. Your chances of staying put together are better, and it's so much easier to get it back."
On her pregnancy diet: "With my son, I ate what felt natural, and that was cheeseburgers and milkshakes! I still eat what I crave, but I learned with my son, pregnancy is not the time for a total gorge fest. But even with this pregnancy, sometimes the only thing I can get down is a doughnut or an Arby's sandwich — and I don't even eat Arby's. I've had a lot of food aversions."
On her teenage son: I don't recommend waiting 13 years between children, but my son is so excited about the baby. One thing that's been really great about the age difference is that I've been able to see that my son is going to be a great man because he's been so sweet, nurturing, and protective during my pregnancy."
Everything a mama-to-be reads says that her workout routine shouldn't stop the minute she gets pregnant. In fact, keeping active during pregnancy has tons of benefits, as long as the mama listens to her body and gets the OK from her doctor. My OB gave me the thumbs-down for my favorite workout, hot yoga, but encouraged me to continue a regular yoga practice, which helped me feel healthy and relaxed during my pregnancy. The only complaint I had about my routine: finding cute workout clothes that covered my expanding belly during my Downward Dog and happy baby poses!
Next time around, I'm definitely investing in new line Via Privé Mamma, which launched this Fall. Founder Sarah Vazirani, a mom of two, was inspired to create the line after trying — and failing — to find great activewear during her own pregnancies. Not only are the styles cute, but they're made with eco-friendly fabric Quadracore, which has a four-way stretch and also wicks away moisture. Keep reading to see Via Privé Mamma styles. Now you really have no excuse not to get yourself to that prenatal yoga class!
Moms are unsung weight lifters, routinely lifting and toting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers who can tip the scales at 50 pounds or more. But when you're pregnant, the need to hoist your older children can cause stress and fear. As Circle of Moms member Bethany P. says, "Everyone always says not to let the pregnant lady lift anything."
Jessica K., who is seven months pregnant, echos her concern: "I've always read and been told not to pick up anything over 25-30 pounds." She wonders if it's okay to continue to carry her toddler up the steps every night, which has long been part of their bedtime routine.
So what do other pregnant moms do, and where should you draw the line? Many moms, including Laura S. suggest that the warnings not to lift or exercise while pregnant are way out of proportion.* Says Laura: "Relax! A woman's body is designed in such a way to let us be active while pregnant. I actually was 8 weeks pregnant (didn't know at the time!) and spent 10 days backpacking in the Rockies! Talk about lifting heavy weight and stressful exercise!" Her feelings are supported by a new study, which suggests that pregnant moms can do moderate strength training, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
So what should YOU do? Here are some tips to consider, offered by Circle of Moms members who've juggled both a belly and a toddler.
1. Lift safely
Many Circle of Moms members say that carrying your toddler is a natural thing for a pregnant woman to do and in most cases, not too much for her to handle, but that moms should take precautions. Krista E. puts it this way: "If pregnant women miscarried from picking up their toddlers, you'd have one hell of a lot of miscarriages out there. I think the key is to not overdo it, or to lift that much weight in a sudden, jerking motion. So if you pick up your toddler gently and carry him upstairs, your body is used to that and you're not straining anything. But if you tried to pick up something else of that weight and did it with a sudden jerk, or twisting a way that you shouldn't, then you could seriously hurt yourself."
2. Use common sense
Bethany P. says, "My advice is to just use your common sense - if it feels like strain I wouldn't do it - but you know your body best."
Several moms add that the key is to lift only what you can easily handle, and to avoid straining. "Don't overdo," says Circle of Moms member Lizette V., adding that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are a particularly vulnerable time. "If possible, ask someone to come and help out."
"I'd lift as much as a little kid would weigh...[but] take breaks, even if you don't feel like you have to," Stacey S.
3. Listen to your body
Even if you can easily handle heavy weights "the worry factor might not be worth it," suggests Diane R. "I had to lift a washing machine up some stairs I strained my stomach and my back and all it caused me was pure worry that I had done something to hurt the baby," she says.
Rachalle T. says the key is listening to your body. "My first son was six months when I became pregnant with my second and I toted him around everywhere. When I gave birth he was up to 30 pounds and I was still picking him up and chasing him around. You should be fine. [But] if you feel funny at any point in time, I would just take a break."
4. Take extra precautions if you have pregnancy complications
If you've received specific warnings about lifting from your physician due to pregnancy complications, heed them. As frsuatrting as this sounds, it's often short-lived, as Brittany G. shares, "The only time I was told not to pick up my daughter was when I was on pelvic bed rest. I could sit down and help her climb on the couch then on my lap, but I couldn't pick her up. Once I got cleared of there being any cervical problems I was allowed to pick her up again."
Tara H. agrees: "My doctor told me flat out that unless there was a medical reason (pre-eclampsia, etc.) for me to have a limit on how much weight I was lifting then I was fine to lift anything I wanted. He said that basically I should use common sense. If it was difficult for me to carry around a 50-60 pound object when I wasn't pregnant, then it wasn't something I should do while I was pregnant."
5. Buoy yourself up
Laura S. sees the lighter side in the injunction against lifting for pregnant moms: "Definitely use the 'do not lift' rule when it suits you," she says. "Like I think there IS a rule that pregnant ladies can't take out the garbage! Haha!"
*The information in this article is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.