Finding a good exercise class while pregnant is harder than I thought. Pre-natal specific classes often seem very long, slow, and boring while my regular boutique fitness classes can tend to not feel so good in my body anymore, and the whole experience has left me feeling a little bit like Goldilocks.
Up to this point, I have been to 4 pre-natal yoga classes at 3 different studios with 4 different teachers and they have been a bit of a let down. I enjoy the sense of community they foster and I think they could potentially be a nice way of meeting new mom friends but the movement has been so minimal that I am not rushing back to any of the classes. I do see myself going back to these classes as I get further along in my pregnancy. I feel very fortunate to feel good with a high energy level. If I was in a different situation, exhausted or chasing a toddler around all day and the only energy I could muster was for this type class, I think I would feel differently.
I have found the best strategy has been taking a lot of the same classes I did pre-pregnancy but just modifying them to fit my belly, literally. I don't attend any heated classes because I personally believe that those classes are not good for the baby, but I know others who disagree. I also wasn't doing much running before getting pregnant due to a calf injury so I've had no desire to start running now. For cardio, I attend cycling classes, Soul Cycle or FlyWheel, or Orangetheory Fitness (incline walking on the treadmill) but I go at my own pace. I've had a tendency to get overheated very easily during this pregnancy so when I say I take it easy, I mean it! In terms of yoga, I have enjoyed attending my typical classes and modifying. Most yoga, as long as it isn't power or heated, is pregnancy friendly as long as you know which poses to avoid.
Here are top 5 must do's in order to stay active during your pregnancy, regardless of the type of class you are taking:
1. Get to class early. This allows you time to speak to the teacher. Always let the instructor know you are pregnant so they can give you specific modifications. This also allows you time to pee, which I always have to do upon arrival regardless of if I just peed before I left the house, ah the joys of pregnancy!
2. Do the same type of classes while pregnant that you did before you were pregnant. Before I was pregnant I did a variety of yoga, pilates, barre, Orangetheory Fitness, spinning, and lifting weights with a personal trainer. Though I'm not running on the treadmill or jumping on springboards, I'm able to do and enjoy these same type of classes, but modify to suit my needs.
3. Stay hydrated!
4. Listen to your body and stay mindful! I think I speak for everyone when I say pregnancy gives you lots of weird aches and pains and some exercise just are not going to work for you. Do what works for you and realize it's going to change from week to week. Be proud of yourself for taking care of your body and moving!
5. Order maternity exercise clothes before you need them. I was able to wear my standard workout clothes until I was about 23/24 weeks pregnant. Finding maternity clothes has been more difficult than I anticipated. Most are available only online. I ordered 1 pair of Athleta yoga pants online on sale before I needed them and I regret not ordering another pair because Athleta's maternity line seems to have been discontinued.