Though there are a few key differences, in general pregnancy as a surrogate is actually not that much different than a traditional pregnancy. In addition to following a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, staying active is important!
Before beginning or continuing any exercise program, you need to speak with your doctor. Make sure to discuss your current exercise regimen and whether you can continue during your cycle and early pregnancy. There may be points during the cycle where the doctor wants you to stop exercising, especially after the embryo transfer and into early pregnancy.
Make sure to be specific in your questions! Is it okay to continue walking? Should your heart rate stay below a specific point? What type of weight training is ok? Understand what you are and aren’t allowed to do and follow the instructions – they are there for a reason!
You’ll want to continue the conversation with your obstetrician during the pregnancy.
There are some important benefits to regular activity during pregnancy, if given the okay by your doctor, including:
- Decreasing your pregnancy symptoms
- Help keep weight gain in the appropriate amount
- Lower the risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
- Reduce the risk of c-section
- Get your body ready for labor and delivery
- Help you manage stress
Here are seven ways that you can still exercise as a surrogate mom:
Keep doing what you were doing:
In most situations, your doctor will be fine with you continuing whatever level and type of exercise you were doing before the pregnancy. If you were an avid runner, it’s probably okay for you to continue hitting the pavement. Enjoy weight training? It’s probably okay for you to continue on your routine. However, it’s important to check in with yourself during the pregnancy. Even women who are very fit may find that they get more tired than usual, or need to stop more for breaks. After delivery, you’ll be able to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness levels, but until then, it’s important that the priority is taking care of you and the baby.
Choose low impact:
If you’re just starting a fitness routine, don’t jump into a high-intensity workout. Focus on low impact exercises instead. Low impact exercises are those that keep at least one foot on the ground, like walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike. A good goal is to get 150 minutes of low impact exercise a week.
Try prenatal yoga:
Prenatal yoga is a great addition to any fitness routine or an even better place to start. Filled with gentle stretches and poses, prenatal yoga helps to build endurance and strength for the hard work of labor ahead. It’s important to take a yoga class that is specifically designed for pregnant women so that the poses are adapted and safe for pregnancy.
Give Pilates a try:
Pilates is another great option during pregnancy. Make sure to let the teacher know that you are pregnant so that the moves could be modified appropriately.
Strength training with weights is still appropriate for women during pregnancy. Like always, speak with your doctor about the types of exercises that you do and how much weight you lift. You may need to pull back on the weight a little bit or adjust the exercises to be more pregnancy safe, but you should be able to continue strength training.
Build in rest days:
As important as regular physical activity is, it’s just as important to take time off. Rest days let the body recover and rebuild muscle. You can also schedule gentle yoga on your off days as a break from aerobic or strength training.
Work out at home:
There’s no need to hit the gym; between home fitness videos and workout videos online, it’s easy to fit in a workout any time. Try to find a prenatal fitness program so that the moves are safe in pregnancy.
Working out while being a surrogate isn’t just knowing what is safe, but also knowing what is unsafe. You’ll want to avoid activities that:
- Can potentially cause you to hit your belly
- Cause movements that are jerky or bouncy
- Could make you fall
- Make you lie flat on your back (particularly in the second and last trimesters)
- Could raise your body temperature too high
- Could cause you to become injured, such as water sports
If there are any doubts, avoid the activity until you can speak with your doctor to get the okay. As always, the experienced staff at Extraordinary Conceptions are here to answer any additional surrogacy questions you may have!