Movement, Intuition, and Your (Pregnant) Body
I've been a runner for years, and it's a large part of how I define myself. I ran throughout my pregnancy. So much was changing: my body, my marriage, the future... I needed to hold on to that piece of me. But one of the most challenging parts of including movement, yoga, and exercise during pregnancy was trying to determine what was actually safe. I consulted websites and books, where the list of don'ts and shouldn'ts was loooong. At the next prenatal appointment, my midwife was laid back. Her take was pretty much this: If you feel badly, quit doing whatever it is you're doing. If everything feels OK, great! And if something feels like too much, it is too much.
That latter line has become one of my mantras. I say it often when I teach yoga: "If it feels like too much, it is too much." It's a helpful little phrase, whether you're pregnant or not, but using it as my guide during pregnancy was absolutely freeing. "If it feels like too much, it is too much" allowed me to take ownership of what was OK for me. I quit consulting books and I just listened: How do I feel? Is it too hot for a run? Should I walk the next hill? Do I want to opt out of this lunge pose and take child's pose instead? Is today a milkshake and rest day?
I listened to my intuition—to my mama instincts, already beginning to form. I trusted my choices, and I trusted my body to let me know what it needed.
In our posts here, Lauren and I will talk about safe yoga and pregnancy. With running and cardio, there are myths that have long since been debunked that persist regarding heart rate—and the good news is that getting your heart rate up is OK. We now know that doing core work is not only safe, it may even be good for pregnant mamas to have strong abdominal muscles for delivery.
Ultimately, though, you get to make the decision about what's best for your body. And if that decision feels fraught, find solace in this: taking ownership of that choice during pregnancy is the precursor to taking ownership of your choices as a mama, when there's a whole lot to second guess and plenty of books and websites to consult with their lists of don'ts and shouldn'ts, too.
Learning to listen deeply to your intuition about your body now translates to an ability to trust your intuition when your baby has arrived.
So, if you're trying to figure out what's safe and healthy regarding yoga and exercise during your pregnancy, you should consult your doctor or midwife, look at books, scroll through webpages. Then put it all down. And do this: If you feel badly, quit doing whatever it is you're doing. If everything feels OK, great! And if something feels like too much, it is too much.
You're gonna be a fantastic mama.