iphone pictures 2013 618(hint: be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a $25 Athleta gift card!)

So, you’ve signed up for your first pregnancy workout class! Maybe it’s an Oh Baby! Fitness class, or maybe it’s a pregnancy yoga class at your nearby Y. First- congratulations! You’ve already done the hardest part- deciding to exercise, finding a class, and finding time in your schedule. These three things require lots of energy- the one thing that most pregnant woman don’t have a large supply of. The actual working out part is usually the fun part. Here are 8 things to know before going to your first class:

1. You are either going to feel “not pregnant enough” or “too pregnant”

Every person in the class either feels too pregnant (“I can’t believe I waited until 32 weeks to workout!”) or not pregnant enough (“I’m only 11 weeks and don’t even look pregnant- I feel like a fraud!”). This is normal. If you’re pregnant, you belong here. If you are early on, find a friend that’s later in their pregnancy and grill them about what’s to come. If you are late in your pregnancy, know that you are inspiring all the other women by the fact that you are still working out and kicking butt.

2. A good class will leave you feeling better.

A lot of women wait until they feel good to workout, but a little known secret is that a good prenatal group exercise class will actually make you feel better. First, you’ll be able to commiserate with other pregnant women. Second, getting your blood moving will take care of many normal pregnancy complaints. Nausea, back pain and low energy levels will all benefit from a good workout. Finally, a good class will at least give you an hour’s distraction from how horrible you feel!

3. It’s okay to barf, and eat, and fart, and cry.

A pregnancy exercise class is sometimes the ONLY place no one will look at you funny for the behaviors that pregnancy brings on. I guarantee your instructor has seen it all—so don’t worry if you suddenly are the girl that accidentally lets one fly, or that breaks down in tears. You’ll garner more sympathy from these woman then from anyone else, I promise.

4. Don’t look at other women’s bellies. And REALLY don’t ask them how much weight they’ve gained.

One of the weirdest parts of being in a prenatal exercise class is suddenly being surrounded by more pregnant women then you’ve ever seen in your life. And with that data set, it’s hard not to start comparing. Avoid doing this, and certainly avoid any verbal comparing. And the golden rule of dealing with pregnant women: never ask how much weight anyone has gained. Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you get to avoid this one- in fact, it’s even more important.

5. Bring water and a snack.

Most pregnant women remember to bring water—if you forget just ask your instructor where the nearest water fountain is. But try to remember to pack a small snack as well (granola bars, fruit and nuts are all a good pick). In both the 1st trimester and from weeks 20-28 your blood sugar can be all over the place and sometimes you’ll be surprised by a workout that suddenly makes you feel dizzy. Even if you don’t end up needing the snack, I’ve seen many women become friends by one giving their snack to another woman in class who is suddenly hit with low blood sugar and doesn’t have anything to eat.

6. Don’t assume everyone is having the same experience you are.

It’s easy in a class of pregnant woman to assume that everyone 1- wants to be pregnant and 2- is having a healthy pregnancy and carrying a healthy baby. In any given class there are likely to be women dealing with all sorts of hard circumstances. Another little secret? Often the woman that looks the most put together is the one dealing with the biggest, scariest stuff. Try to remember the quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” You can learn a lot just by listening and truly becoming part of the community. Look around you, these women in your class might wind up being your friends for a long time, and it’s a different relationship from the ones you have at work. Everyone is vulnerable, scared and honest. You can create close bonds and long-lasting friendships at this time.

7. Don’t worry about what you’re wearing.

Some people really like to doll up to go to the gym. Your pregnancy exercise class does not have to be that place. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit to go to work, don’t worry about looking cute or put together for class. An extra-large t-shirt and sweatpants are fine –or leave a comment on this post and be entered to win an Athleta gift card and buy yourself something fun for your first class!

8. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

This is the most important thing to remember about your class. Hopefully you’ll work your muscles and get a good, tough workout in, but that does not mean you should suffer through ANY exercise that feels uncomfortable or painful. Even if the rest of class is smiling and looks like it’s no big thing- ask your instructor for a different exercise. Their job is to give you a good workout that doesn’t hurt—make sure they do it.

 

Share what you wish YOU had known before your first exercise class (prenatal or otherwise!), and be entered to win a $25 Athleta gift card, courtesy of XShadyside TRX Training in Pittsburgh ! You must comment below to be entered.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “8 things to know before your first pregnancy workout class + win Athleta Gear fromXShadyside TRX Pittsburgh

  • January 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm
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    great post! I wish I had known ALL of these things and also to bring a towel. My first exercise class I started sweating in parts of my body I didn’t even realize could sweat! It felt great, but having a nice towel on hand has made it that much more pleasant.

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  • January 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm
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    These are such important tips. The information that’s most significant to me is the conversational etiquette. When I was pregnant, I didn’t show for a long time, and when I went to my prenatal class, I got a lot of comments like, “YOU can’t be pregnant!” I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there because I didn’t look the part. It’s so important to remember not to comment on each other’s bodies. Great post!

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  • January 19, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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    I wish I had known that most instructors will gladly offer modifications for every stage pregnancy. I was a little hestitant to ask for modifications but should not have worried!

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  • February 5, 2017 at 7:58 pm
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    I wish I had know that no one would be staring at me and laughing because I had no idea what I was doing. Everyone is just worried about themselves and, gasp, actually want to help newbies! I really had no idea.

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  • February 5, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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    No one is watching you, I swear. Everyone is so focused on their own game that no one will notice of you mess up (or modify or take a break) . Just go, do your best, and come back to the next class.

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  • February 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm
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    Oh! I loved yoga & water aerobics while I was pregnant, although I was coming from a place of working out HARD, I wish I knew what working out HARD while pregnant meant – because I was learning to use muscles that I’ve never used before!

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  • February 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    Great read! Staying active during pregnancy is so healthy. Modifications are always available and the key is to do the best you can and keep going back! Also, definitely take a towel 😉

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  • February 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm
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    Saving all of this for in the future when I need it!! This is great! Thank you so much !

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  • February 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

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  • February 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm
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    It’s comforting to know all of these things. Like Laura said, it’s really helpful to know that no one is laughing at you during these exercises. I’d rather be in a place where people want to assist new people.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:05 pm
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    I wish I’d known we were basically ALL newbies! I also wish I’d known to bring a lock for the locker at the gym (nothing was taken…i just felt uneasy not knowing!)

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:13 pm
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    I wish I had known how important proper shoes are! Younger me was a cheapskate, content with wearing worn out cheap shoes that didn’t fit right and that didn’t end very well :/

    Great post.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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    I wish I’d known that no one would care about me or how I looked or that I didn’t know the moves, everyone is focused on themselves and not judging at all.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm
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    Good list! My thing: If you feel self conscious, or like everyone is looking at you, know that you’re not the only one to feel that way. It’s a normal feeling when you start out in any exercise class. But people are NOT looking at you or judging you — they’re working way too hard on their own exercise for that! You just rock on and do your thing.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm
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    I wish I had known that nobody would care how I looked!

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  • February 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm
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    I wish I would have known that supportive clothing is super helpful! Get a good bra, it will make a WORLD of difference.

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    • February 12, 2017 at 10:07 pm
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      Hi hi! The random number generator picked #16— you! I’ll email you about claiming your gift card. Congrats!!

      Reply
  • February 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm
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    I wish I’d known how good it would feel! I love yoga, & I’ve done it since I was 18, but my 4th pregnancy was the only pregnancy I did it regularly for. There were definitely times I didn’t want to go, but I always felt great after.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 5:09 pm
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    I wish I’d known how encouraging people would be! Everyone is so nice and welcoming and non-judgmental.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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    I wish I had known that no one cares what you’re doing or how you look. I also wish I had known that sometimes getting the right chemistry of class and instructor makes all the difference.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm
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    I wish I’d known that everyone feels a bit out of place in group exercise at first so don’t feel self conscious about it.

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  • February 8, 2017 at 10:58 pm
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    Yoga instructors are often happy to modify moves, even in traditional (not prenatal) yoga classes!

    Reply
  • February 9, 2017 at 9:41 am
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    I wish I had known that it’s not awkward to sit down if you feel super dizzy!

    Reply

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