I've been seeing so many cute baby-bump pictures on Instagram, as well as covering it in my college courses and thought I would give a few pointers! (Nutrition/Vitamins before & during pregnancy are covered here)
While I'm not planning on a baby at the moment, I do realize a lot of women want to keep active and fit during this time not only for their health, but for the health of their little one. Joining a yoga class specifically for pregnant women is also a wonderful idea!
Talk to your care provider. If you exercised regularly before getting pregnant, tell them about your pre-pregnancy fitness routines and ask if you need to be restricted in any way. And if they restrict you, take these restrictions seriously. If you're questioning your doctors restrictions, don't be afraid to ask for an explanation! Regardless of your fitness level, you still need to talk with your healthcare provider first.
Warm Ups! Warm ups are always important - pregnant or not. Prepare your muscles and joints for exercise and build your heart rate up slowly, don't just jump in like you're going to battle! Skipping a warmup could strain your muscles and ligaments and cause you to have increased aches and pains post-workout.
Light Snack. Your body is working overtime to bring that wonderful life into the world, and it needs all the fuel it can get - especially when you add exercise too! Have a light snack before working out. A healthy carb can do wonders for your energy and your blood sugar. Try a bagel with peanut butter, or even a banana!
Modification. As your belly expands, it's important to be more mindful of your changing center of gravity. Not only can your center of gravity throw off your balance, but it can also injure joints by cause overextension.
Don't lie on your back. When you lie on your back it puts pressure on the vena cava vein and could possibly causes Inferior Vena Cava syndrome. This also applies to sleeping positions!
Re-evaluate Fitness Goals. Prenatal fitness is not about weight loss, but it can help minimize excessive weight gain during pregnancy. You'll need to accept and get used to the fact that your body will get tired quicker than usual and in later months your strength dropping a bit. This is normal. Just do what you can and don't push the limits.
Exercises to AVOID:
1. Any core exercises that twists or compresses the abdomen.
2. Weight that cause an overly strenuous reaction.
If you need to hold your breath, break form or otherwise challenge your body in a contraindicated way, you're probably lifting too much.
3. High Intensity Workouts.
Excessively high heart rates should be avoided during pregnancy, but again, you'll need to speak with your doctor for more specific instructions.
Inversions can throw even typical, non-pregnant women into a lightheaded state. A pregnant woman's circulatory system is already in overdrive, which adds a greater risk of fainting during or coming out of an inversions (yoga, down-dog).
Exercises to DO:
1. Core isolation exercises, provided they keep you off your back. Planks are a wonderful example! However, you'll have to modify them as your belly grows. However, into your late 2nd and 3rd trimesters I would recommend not doing them. Once again though, please refer to your doctor about limitations.
2. Upper-Body Exercises. As breasts grows, you'll need all the support you can get from those back muscles to keep your chest upright. It's better to use bands with handles (wrapped around a pole), rather than a machine, because it will force you to balance yourself using your core muscles which can be hard to work during pregnancy.
3. Low-back exercises are essential. Look for a low-back specific machine, but make sure it doesn't require you to bend over a pad, because that's a definite no-no since it will compress your belly. If you can't find a machine or don't go to the gym, remember that planks and dead lifts also work the lower back (don't bend below the heart during dead lift.)
4. Squats. Always a great choice, pregnant or not. Squats work almost every aspect of your lower body.
Fit Pregnancy is a great website that walks you through your babies growth and can be incredibly helpful!
Good luck, and congratulations to all!