Overcoming Barriers

Research shows that certain barriers may hold pregnant women back from exercising throughout their pregnancies.  Fear, discomfort, younger children at home, lack of support from their partner and lack of role models are all common barriers.

What can women do to overcome these barriers?

Activity Patterns During Pregnancy (Mottola & Campbell 2003) found that factors correlated with women exercising throughout their pregnancies included post secondary education, no other children at home, being a non-smoker and regular involvement in recreational activities.

Education
Being aware of the benefits as well as the safety guidelines for exercise during pregnancy can reduce fear, increase awareness regarding potential reduction of discomforts through active living, and motivate partners to be more supportive.

Children
"In my experience, one of the most common and challenging barriers for second and third time moms is making time for fitness when they have a little one at home," says Fit 4 Two founder Melanie Osmack. Here are some creative ways to overcome this barrier:

Working Outside the Home Moms

  • Walk to and/or from work. 
  • Find a class or fitness facility close to work so you can do regular shorter workouts at lunch or right after work.
  • Schedule one night a week that your partner/friend holds down the fort so that you can enjoy the benefits and camaraderie of a prenatal fitness class
  • Invest in some basic home fitness equipment like a yoga mat and resistance bands.  Not sure what to do?  Book a session with a pre and postnatal fitness certified personal trainer to get your started on the right track.

Working in the Home Moms

  • Go for power walks or jogs with your young child in the stroller.
  • Take your child to the park and workout while they are playing.
  • Schedule one night a week that your partner/friend holds down the fort so that you can enjoy the benefits and camaraderie of a prenatal fitness class
  • Invest in some basic home fitness equipment like a yoga mat and resistance bands.  Not sure what to do?  Book a session with a pre and postnatal fitness certified personal trainer to get your started on the right track.
  • Join a mobile outdoor stroller fitness class that you can attend with a toddler.
  • Join a daytime postnatal fitness class while your child is at preschool.  Most postnatal fitness class instructors welcome prenatal women as well.

Discomforts
Pregnancy safe and specific exercises can actually help to prevent and manage many common prenatal discomforts.  Low back pain, the most common physical complaint of pregnancy, can be avoided and lessened through strengthening core muscles and stretching the lower back and hip flexors.  More details here.  An outdoor power walk has been known to ebb pregnancy-related nausea.  The list goes on.

Get Social
Prenatal specific fitness classes are a fantastic way to ensure a safe and functional workout.  However they are also an excellent way to meet other expecting mom, stay motivated and build community.  Feeling part of a group makes exercising regularly more likely.

What obstacles do you face and how do you overcome them?