working out during pregancny

You're pregnant, now what?!

If you're like me when I first found out I was pregnant, I was little overwhelmed as to what to do. When should I make my first doctor's appointment? What food should I now avoid? Can I still exercise? How can I made healthier choices to help my baby's development?

Here are the first 7 things women should do when they found out they're pregnant...

1.    If you’re not already taking a good prenatal, please start now! A prenatal supplement is your insurance policy for all the important nutrients your baby needs for healthy development and because it’s such an important nutrient in preventing certain birth defects, it’s a good idea to invest in a good quality prenatal that has real folate in it too.


2.    Book an appointment with your OBGYN or midwife. Most health care providers will want to see you by Week 8 so they can perform a blood test to test your hormones and thyroid function – and to see if your lacking in specific nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D or iron. Don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ until you find a provider you’re comfortable with.


3.    Meal prep nutritious meals for future weeks when nausea or fatigue can prevent you from eating well. Bone broths, minestrone or French lentil soup, casseroles and stir-fries are great to cook in large batches so you can freeze them for a time you don’t feel like cooking. Experiment with frittatas, healthy muffins and energy date balls for quick and easy breakfasts and snacks.


4.    Get familiar with what foods you should avoid over the next 9 months because these foods are more likely to harbor dangerous bacteria called listeria. Listeria can cause infection, cross the placenta and be life-threatening to your baby. Check out Practice Safe Food to see what food to avoid and how you can reduce your chance of listeriosis.


5.    Start a pregnancy journal, even if it’s a few short words on paper. The early weeks of pregnancy (especially before you announce it to family and friends), can be overwhelming or lonely at times. I found that journaling helped me focus and ground my thoughts in a very emotional time.


6.    Drink enough water… at least ten 8oz glasses a day. Try and get into a routine of drinking enough water because this will become even more important as your blood volume increases and your baby’s amniotic sac grows larger throughout your pregnancy.


7.    Keep up with a strength-training routine if you can, whether it be yoga, barre or a light-weights video at home. Making sure your arms, back and shoulders stay strong becomes even more important as these muscle groups will support your growing belly throughout pregnancy. Most pregnancy back, neck and shoulder pain can be prevented by making sure your upper body and back stays as strong as possible through pregnancy.

How pregnancy changed my relationship with fitness

meray frose

An interview with Meray Froese: personal trainer, business-owner and mom-to-be.

There are so many benefits to exercise during pregnancy. However, to some people the biggest challenge might not be working out in itself but instead, learning how to find balance and listen to our bodies, especially if we’ve held ourselves to strict pre-pregnancy fitness regimes.

One woman who knows this better than anyone else, is Meray Froese. Meray is a personal trainer and business-owner on the forefront of the fitness industry in Vancouver, Canada. More than that, she’s a wife and mom-to-be of a baby girl due in May.  

I’ve long-admired Meray’s honesty when it comes to the ups and downs of pregnancy, including her miscarriage with her first baby girl in 2017. Meray has also been open about body image during pregnancy, which is something we will be exploring more of here on the BML. Let’s face it, what woman doesn’t walk into pregnancy without fears or hang ups about body image?

I can especially relate to how Meray’s relationship with fitness changed during pregnancy. Meray speaks about having to learn how to listen to her body and rest when she needs to.

Just like Meray, fitness was a still a big part of my life during pregnancy but I found that pregnancy was a time to undo some of the strict expectations I held myself to. Instead of high-intensity classes and 10-mile runs, I opted for more moderate forms of exercise. I still worked out 3-4 times per week during my pregnancy but I went to barre and yoga classes and did about 20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical twice a week.

I can really relate to how Meray had to learn how to listen to her body and know when it was time to rest.

Here’s a peak into Meray’s life and her views on pregnancy and fitness.


What has your pregnancy journey taught you about health and looking after your body?

Pregnancy has taught me to listen to my body. When I wasn’t pregnant, it was mind over matter. If I was exhausted, I’d go to the gym and work out anyway. If I was hungry at night and it was after a certain time, I wouldn’t eat. For me, what I’ve learnt during this pregnancy, is not to care about what anyone else thinks. I want to listen to my body. Sometimes that means saying no to an event that all my friends are going to because I’m too tired. Sometimes it means eating in the middle of the night because I’m hungry, and sometimes it means skipping a workout because I’m exhausted and I need to rest. All of these things have been huge adjustments for me because they’re so different from my pre-pregnancy self. I’m so used to doing whatever I’ve scheduled in for myself.


How has your fitness routine changed now that you're pregnant? And what has been the hardest or the best thing about that change?

It’s a day and night change between my pregnancy and pre-pregnancy routine. Before I was pregnant I worked out about 5 times a week. My routine included a lot of heaving lifting, high intensity, explosive jumping and sprints. I would be drenched in sweat, exhausted after each workout. Now it’s the polar opposite.

I was so sick in my first trimester that I hardly worked out. As much I wanted to work out, I couldn’t. I vomited every day. After that, I got into a routine of working out 4 times per week. I would do 20 minutes of cardio – the stair climber or the elliptical – and then do some weight training afterwards. I wear an Apple watch so I can check my heart rate. I take rests between sets and I listen to my body. I feel like I don’t overdo it but I’ve had to adjust my mindset. I’m so used to pushing myself, and now I have to be content with what I can do.


How has your pregnancy journey taught you to love and appreciate your body in a different way

Pregnancy can be a challenging time if you’re typically used to exercise and weight management. It’s been a huge adjustment for me and for a lot of women I’ve spoken to. It’s difficult when no-one else can notice your ‘bump’ yet but you’re getting larger. That can really mess with your mind if you allow it to.  

For me, I’ve had to really let go of that type of thinking. I felt like I was finally getting into shape again after gaining some weight with previous miscarriages and the trauma my body went through.

I constantly remind myself (and my husband is really good at reminding me too), that the purpose of my body right now is to grow and nurture this baby. That’s the priority right now. And it’s actually quite freeing when you allow that to happen because it gives you permission to take care of yourself and rest.


What does it look like to be a healthy mother to you and what's one thing you want to pass onto your daughter?

Self-care is an important thing I want to model for my daughter. It’s really important for me to keep taking care of myself after I have my baby. I want to eat well and nurture my body and manage stress and anxiety by still pursuing the things that I love.

Ultimately, I want my daughter to be the kindest person, but having a daughter, I’m aware that body image will be an issue she’ll be confronted with at some stage. I want to model a healthy relationship with body image. Even though I’m in the fitness industry, I don’t want to be talking about dieting and exercise all of the time. Instead, I want to be healthy eating and an active lifestyle to be part of our everyday life. I believe that you don’t have to do talk about it, you can just live it and children will see your values that way.

For more information on Meray, check out her inspiring blog.

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