Holy crap!!! I just got back from my very first postpartum run and, dear lord, I feel like I am going to DIE!!! I just ran around the block - yes, just one measly teeny tiny little block - and I feel as though I just swallowed a ball of fire and volunteered to be beaten with a stick! This is pathetic!!
I have barely exercised since Gabriel was born and therefore I now find myself looking back and realizing that I was in better shape at 41 weeks pregnant than I am now. Now that is sad. I just keep thinking, "thank goodness I exercised throughout my pregnancy or this struggle to get back in shape would surely be one million times more torturous!"
Before becoming pregnant, I ran or did yoga about 3-4 days a week. Nothing too intense though... I'm not exactly what you would call a "gym buff." My workout motto has always been "anything is better than nothing - just get the heart rate up if even for only a short time." During the morning sickness weeks I really didn't do a whole lot of exercise unless you count picking up the TV remote control (which at the time, in the throws of nausea, seemed like a HUGE effort.)
However, right around 15 weeks of my pregnancy I started attending a prenatal yoga class at Blue Turtle Yoga in Charleston and I LOVED it! The class helped me stretch and relax while at the same time strengthen my body. I learned a lot of really useful moves that also helped ease my aches and pains. For example, I had a pinched nerve in my butt that caused a lot of achiness in my legs and made walking painful. I learned to lay on my back with my legs up the wall to increase blood flow and help ease the pain. This move also helps reduce and prevent varicose veins.
Cathy Lipp, my amazing prenatal yoga teacher, also taught modifications for common yoga positions. These modifications gave me the confidence to attend the regular yoga classes. By the time I delivered I was attending about 3 yoga sessions a week. They made me feel healthy, toned, and happy with my growing body. I highly recommend yoga for other Yummy Mummies!
I have other Yummy Mummy friends who enjoy Pilates and walking throughout their pregnancy. No matter what your activity, I highly recommend continuing some sort of exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. It helps your body and soul throughout the pregnancy and can really help soften the blow to your self esteem after delivery. It's hard to get back in shape. Really REALLY hard. But not as hard as it could be if your body hasn't been conditioned to work out for almost a year.
So get out there and start slow with a nice daily walk or look into nice easy prenatal yoga classes in your area. I promise, you will be really glad you did!