Fit Pregnancy: Q&A with Ashley Maginnis

June 1st is Global Running Day and we wanted to celebrate with a blog about healthy running and other fitness activities during pregnancy.

Staying active during pregnancy is very important. I recently had the opportunity to talk with fitness extraordinaire, Ashley Maginnis of Maginnis Fitness; who is also a previous client of Northeast Iowa Doulas.  Ashley became interested in fitness related activities at a young age. She started teaching fitness classes in college, and graduated with a degree in kinesiology at Iowa State University. Ashley still teaches fitness classes today and during pregnancy she continued to teach 8 classes every week! Her other credentials include:

- ACE Certified Personal Trainer
- ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor
- Certified INSANITY Insturctor
- Certified Bender Barre Trainer

In addition to teaching Ashley also authors a blog where she discusses the topics surrounding a
fit pregnancy, motherhood, and postpartum. She also includes some amazing recipes and workouts which is an added bonus.

Having a Healthy Pregnancy

Q: Why do care providers recommend their patients be active during pregnancy?

A: Staying active during your pregnancy can benefit you in a lot of different ways.  I think the most obvious is to keep yourself at a healthy weight gain (25-30 lbs. is a common recommendation) which will help decrease risks during pregnancy.  A big risk that will decrease is high blood pressure, which can cause some pretty big problems and interventions.  It is also a great way to keep your body "in shape" for delivery.  Good muscle tone and endurance will go a long way during your delivery and help you feel better more quickly after delivery. Another benefit that I found for myself is that it really helped me feel better all around.  Exercise truly does produce endorphins which make you happy!

Listen to Your Body: Tips for Running While Pregnant

Q: Are there any tips you have that made running easier for you during pregnancy?

A: I didn’t run a ton. But for exercise in general-- I feel you really need to listen to your body.  If something you are doing doesn't feel quite right, then you should slow it down or change what you are doing. 

For a couple more tips on running during pregnancy we visited Babycenter as well as a post on NY Daily News from the Running Doc, Lewis Maharam, to compose these tips. The most important tip, which echoes what Ashley said, is to listen to your body. You know your body best so only you will know when something doesn’t feel right.

First Trimester Tips

  • Stay cool and hydrated

    • The first trimester is when your baby is developing their major organs and overheating can be a major concern during this time.

Second Trimester Tips

  • Run on a flat surface and wear properly fitting shoes

    • During pregnancy your center of gravity shifts and joints loosen. These changes make it harder to keep balance and make many pregnant women prone to falling. Wearing well-fitting shoes and running on a flat surface will reduce your risk of falling.

Third Trimester Tips

  • Stay close to home

    • As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy you may become more fatigued and you don’t want to be stuck and exhausted somewhere when you go out to exercise.

If Running Isn’t Your “Thing”

Q: For someone who isn't a runner what other exercises might you recommend during pregnancy?

A: I would recommend any type of toning classes!  Doing high repetitions with light weights or body weight is great to make sure you aren't over stressing your body, but continuing to keep yourself strong! Squats, lunges, planks and inner/outer thigh exercises are all great during pregnancy! Yoga is also fantastic, but I would recommend finding a class or video that is specific to pregnancy as your body is much more flexible and you don't want to overstretch and cause injury. There are definitely modifications that are needed during yoga when pregnant.

Keep an Eye On…

Any time that something feels “off”, not quite right, or raises a red flag you should check in with your care provider. If you experience any of the following while you are running you should stop immediately and call your care provider.

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing and/or chest pain
  • Light headedness
  • Increased swelling (more than usual)
  • Preterm labor
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid

Parting Words from Ashley Maginnis

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: I would just add that if you are thinking you want to get pregnant soon-- you should start getting in a good workout routine now.  The rule of thumb is that if you were doing it before you were pregnant, you should be fine to continue while you are pregnant. Sometimes when women get pregnant they decide to start a kickboxing class when they've never done one before. We do not encourage this as it causes way too much stress on your body and heart that your body isn't used to which can cause issues.

For more information about Ashley Maginnis and the fitness classes she offers check out the Cedar Valley SportsPlex for more information. For great workout tips, step-by-step instructions, healthy recipes and tales of motherhood visit her blog at Maginnis Fitness and visit her on Facebook here.

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

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