4 Tips for Staying Fit While Pregnant

“Pregnancy does not limit lung function, and both pregnancy and exercise improve the ability of body tissues to take up and utilize oxygen.”  -James F. Clapp III, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy

staying fit while pregnant

That glorious moment you pee on a stick and it confirms your suspicions… YOU’RE PREGNANT! An incredible parade of thoughts begin to flood your mind – and a slight bit of “holy crap” moments because now you’re officially becoming a mother (or maybe now a mom of 2 or 3) & you can’t help but start to obsess over how the next 9 months of life will change as your body grows to accommodate and produce a tiny budding human – your newest family member! Ahh, how do you stay in shape while you’re pregnant?! Here are four tips I have lived by to continue staying fit while pregnant:

staying fit while pregnant

Keep a good mindset, thinking with your brain, NOT your stomach.

Staying fit while pregnant is not easy. Nobody wants to be a fat and flabby mom. No young woman desires to wear a daily greased-back pony tail and “mom jeans.” I think we all have a little fear of losing our sexy feminine selves as we surrender our bodies to be the first official homeland of our offspring. But it doesn’t have to be that way!! You can have a fit pregnancy and grow a healthy baby at the same time. It’s all about finding a balance. If you’re having issues figuring out which foods are ok to keep in your diet, check out Happy Food, a company helping southern Californian’s create a better mindset around the kitchen and dinner table. Some moms I have spoken to talk about how they were so strict on working out everyday while pregnant and counting calories.. while other mom’s admit they “let go” completely and had the “fat and pregnant” mentality and watched many unnecessary excess pounds pack on. The truth is – you need to gain weight & you need to increase body fat, you also need to eat extra calories. However, this is not a hall pass to eat fast food and cake day in and day out. Actually quite the contrary – becoming pregnant is a responsibility to take amazing care of yourself. Keep a healthy happy mindset, and you’re sure to stay in shape while giving your growing little one all the nutrients they need.

staying fit while pregnant staying fit while pregnant

Make healthy food choices, while still allowing yourself to indulge.

Now let’s talk about healthy eating during your pregnancy. The common saying “eating for two” doesn’t exactly apply – because after all you’re not eating for 2 grown adults, you’re eating for you + your little growing fetus. In the first trimester you actually need to focus more on eating nutrient dense foods more than excess foods, unless you were already underweight at which you can ask your doctor how many extra calories per day you should consume. In your second trimester you need about an extra 300-350 calories per day and in the third trimester you need an extra 500 calories per day. And although every pregnant mama is allowed to indulged from time to time on those cravings, for the large majority make sure you are fueling yourself and your body with lots of organic fruits, veggies, nuts, healthy carbs like rice, quinoa, potatoes, oatmeal & LOTS of protein!! Protein contains the amino acids that are the building blocks for your (and your baby’s) cells so it’s important to aim to consume around 70grams of protein per day – you might not be perfect with that number daily so just try to average it over 3-4 days. Great sources of protein are fish, chicken, eggs, beans, yogurt, milk, beans & protein rich vegetables. Check out NourishmentSD.com, a website with great delivery options that are healthy and cost-effective. Meal planning, even for the whole family, is a good way to know what you’re feeding yourself, and your baby. Also make sure you’re drinking lots of water through the day (aim for 8 glasses) and last but not least take a great daily pre-natal vitamin.

staying fit while pregnant

Create an exercise plan, and stick to it.

Next to talk about is exercise. Keeping active during pregnancy has been something that has been an up and down controversy through the past 50 years. In earlier times, women were encouraged to not exercise what-so-ever and just rest and be still or sitting/lying down most of their pregnancy. But over the years, new studies have shown that staying active (while always considering the protection and consideration of the belly area) is actually a very healthy and beneficial thing for both mommy and baby. Whatever activities you choose to engage in just think of picking something you ENJOY and look forward to so that you will stick to it, and continue staying fit while pregnant. Some women continue going to the gym and just modify their weight training or cardio sessions while other women experience a fit pregnancy through pre-natal yoga classes, dance classes, swimming, aqua fit or even just daily walks. (Check out this article to decide whether hot yoga is something to avoid while pregnant.) Whatever you choose, just do it consistently. That is the key – as you are really preparing your body for labor and delivery which will take strength in body, mind & cardiovascular fitness as well. Keep that heart strong and those muscles conditioned so you can be prepared for a healthy birth experience.

staying fit while pregnant

Do not deny your body rest, it’s needed in order for you to continue staying fit while pregnant!

Lastly is rest. Sleep is a very important part to a healthy, fit pregnancy. The first trimester is often a time when pregnant women feel a lot of exhaustion and it’s important they get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If sleeping straight through the night is difficult (with all those wake-up-to-pee moments,) then always resort to some nice daytime naps to ensure your body is getting enough rest. The second trimester is often much more enjoyable as energy levels pick back up and nausea is at bay, making peaceful sleep more easily attained but it is still important to get at least 8 hours per night. This has been shown to reduce exhaustion, moodiness & lack of focus during the day and even reduce chances of a c-section and longer labor. As you enter into the third trimester you may find it more difficult to get comfortable at night and sleep a steady 8 hours straight as the baby is getting bigger inside of you & your joints have softened, making aches and pains more the normal. It’s best to sleep on your side and cuddle up with plenty of pillows, especially placing a pillow between your knees, one under your belly and one behind your back to help relieve pain and help achieve a sound sleep.

staying fit while pregnant

All in all, this combo of a good mindset + healthy eating + enjoyable daily exercise + sound sleep is the key to staying fit while pregnant. This is a beautiful part of your life – a true miracle and something to be enjoyed and celebrated! You take nearly 10 months to create this new life so don’t be so hard on yourself losing all the weight and “bouncing back” in just a few weeks.. give yourself time after the birth to heal and shrink back to your old self in a healthy timeline. But for now just focus on making yourself and your growing baby the healthiest possible!

staying fit while pregnant

Cheers to being a mommy 🙂
XO – Chels

Chelsea Lin
Written by

Chels Lin was born and raised in Idaho where she fell in love with dance & art. She moved up to Canada after falling in love with her now husband who lived there. They spent 10 years together in eastern Canada, where they built multiple businesses & started a family before moving to San Diego. She now is a health and wellness coach, stay at home mom & model but most importantly a beach bum!

1 Comment

  • Monica Yoshida

    I’m writing on behalf of new San Diego fitness/health studio, SUJO, in La Jolla (Costa Verde Center across from UTC). I love your blog, and would love for you to share a free fitness event for pregnant and postpartum women this Saturday, March 25, 10-12. We have our Facebook Event located within our Facebook page, SUJO.