*Note: Everyone is different- many women have doctor's orders to restrict or cease exercise while pregnant, and I have no medical restrictions. This is my own story.
When I was still in the first trimester, I researched everything. Probably creating a good amount of anxiety as well as gaining knowledge. One of my biggest focuses was on how to be careful during while pregnant yet maintain as much of my regular routine as possible. I searched websites and forums for information from experts and testimony from other women. Sometimes the info conflicted- some claim to keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute, others say that's an antiquated notion and that the 'talk test' is the way to go. Length of time, extend of exertion, activity, and impact- I found tidbits on each of these, but nothing concrete. This makes sense in a way because every woman is different and so is every doctor. But despite all this research, I was disatisfied with the information.
The first months I scaled back a ton, way more than necessary in hindsight but I was terrified of causing injury to the fetus. I didn't have a heart rate monitor prior to pregnancy, but I purchased one early on and use it every day. Initially I set my heart rate limits between 120 and 140 to be safe.
By 13 weeks I felt a bit liberated and comfortable pumping it back up a bit. I decided to trust my body and my interpretation of how it felt. If I felt out of breath or over-exerted, I'd ease up. I have decreased the impact gradually; today I don't do jumps anymore. I'll bounce when I can :-) with one foot always on the ground. Weights have decreased: I still use 1, 3, 5, 7, and occasionally 8 lb, but I haven't touched the 10s and 15s for months.
As my belly grew in months 4, 5, and 6, my lungs and diaphragm had less room so my heart rate jumped more quickly. Now Baby has dropped down into my pelvis, my lungs have more room and it's easier to breathe again and control my heart rate. I've modified soo many movements- push-ups, ab work, even stretches. And I never used to drink water while exercising but I do now. I keep a cup of water close by and take gulps of it when the need strikes.
Today I'm still working out every morning. Every single morning, there is no reason for me to skip a day while I'm feeling good, and the rest of my day can be fairly sedentary so it's important to get the movement in. I always wear the heart rate monitor to both watch my exertion AND to track how many calories I burn. I shoot for 60 minutes and tend to burn between 350 and 400 calories, with an average heart rate around 136. The max I've set for the past 3 months has been 150 beats per minute- this feels comfortable to me, higher than that and I might fail the talk test. I do a variety of exercises- kickboxing, step, low-impact aerobics, interval training, all in my living room. I still shy away from yoga. I know it's good for pregnant women but it has never satisfied me as a workout, so I keep yoga to my ending stretches for now, while I can still move more vigorously.
This morning Ray took some video of me working out. I think it's hysterical when I catch a glimpse of this in the mirror.
I wanted to show you what I would have liked to have seen months ago. I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant and still very active- the big belly shouldn't stop you! I'm staying in as good shape as possible; pregnancy is not a time to go to seed! Maintaining an exercise program will help ease and even avoid lots of late pregnancy discomforts, as well as help out during labor and delivery. And of course bounce back faster postpartum, and who doesn't want that?
Today I did 45 minutes of a step routine, followed by 15 minutes of kickboxing and stretches. Max heart-rate 156 beats per minute, average 136, 387 calories. Of course I'm doing the beginner modifications in each case which is more than enough for a satisfactory workout right now. I try to incorporate weights when I can; in the video I'm holding 1 lb weights to utilize my arms more efficiently.
*When my heart rate jumps, my monitor starts beeping at me to take it down; when this happens I just take out the arm moves for a bit which you can see.
It's short and sweet but I hope you find this helpful if not entertaining!