Your Body and Pregnancy

Five (unexpected) things that happen to your body when you’re pregnant, and how to manage them

Congratulations, you’re going to be a mommy! Your life is going to change. But first, your body is going to do a few, erm, interesting things. Here’s what to expect:

1. You’re dog-tired

You go through life thinking you know what exhaustion feels like, until you’re pregnant, that is. That’s when the exhaustion hits you like a bus. You can barely keep your eyes open, never mind make it through that client meeting or your afternoon Zumba class.

Of course, sleeping is one way to deal with this fatigue (you are growing a whole other human, after all), but exercising is also a powerful way to manage it. Remember, exercise is proven to help you sleep better and for longer. It also prompts the release of endorphins, your body’s ‘happy’ hormones. And take heart – the exhaustion will pass in a few short weeks (normally by the second trimester).

2. The Boob Fairy visits

A few weeks into your pregnancy, you’ll notice your breast size increase (and your breasts can feel very tender, too). Invest in supportive and comfortable bras – Including sports bras – that will protect your breast tissue and will make it more comfortable for you to continue exercising.

3. Your body starts ‘Relaxin’

Many women report feeling achy in their joints during pregnancy. The culprit is Relaxin, a hormone released during pregnancy that causes joints and ligaments to slacken (you know, to prepare you for birthing). This makes it much easier to pull a muscle or injure your joints during exercise. So avoid quick and explosive movements. Instead, opt for a slower-paced yoga class or a controlled weight lifting session.

4. You grow into big foot

Your feet – just like your breasts – grow during your pregnancy. Many women report needing to buy bigger shoes after their pregnancies. Check that your running or training shoes aren’t too tight, as this could cause injuries. If they are feeling snug, invest in a new pair of shoes.

5. You over-balance easily

As your belly grows, your centre of gravity shifts. This means you’re far more likely to lose your balance and fall. So take care while you exercise. In fact, consider investing in a belly band – it not only make you more comfortable, but also helps reduce lower back fatigue.

The bottom line None of these changes need to throw you off your exercise regime. Just follow the expert advice shared in this article. And make sure you get adequate sleep and lots of healthy food. Yes, you may need to alter your routine slightly to ensure your safety and that of your growing baby, but there is no reason to stop.

Fear not – here are 8 tips for exercising during pregnancy

This article was adapted from an original article titled “What you don’t expect when you’re expecting… and after”, published in the July/August 2014 issue of fitness magazine, written by Carlene Steenekamp.

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Co-Publisher at Maverick Media and until recently, Fitness Magazine editor. Tanja now manages multiple digital platforms, consults and create exciting campaigns and opportunities in the fitness industry. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.