Go Ask Mom

Making prenatal fitness a priority: Mom, fitness instructor explains the benefits of staying fit for baby

Amy Davis left the (paying) workforce for a bit after the birth of her second child. And that's when she found her new passion - helping moms like herself get fit and stay healthy.

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Amy Davis, Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh and Wake Forest instructor
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
, Go Ask Mom editor

Amy Davis first worked in the fast-paced world of media and public relations. The Triangle native was a TV news reporter for News 14 Carolina/Spectrum News and later worked as a public relations professional.

But she left the (paying) workforce for a bit after the birth of her second child. And that's when she found her new passion - helping moms like herself get fit and stay healthy.

Today, Davis, a mom of two with a third on the way, is an instructor with FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh and Wake Forest. I checked in with Davis to learn more about the programs she teaches, including the popular Fit4Baby class for expecting moms, and why it's so important for pregnant women to stay active.
Go Ask Mom: How did you stay fit during your pregnancies?
Amy Davis: Truth be told, I did not stay fit during my first two pregnancies. I was working full-time and I made absolutely no time for wellness.

Now that I'm expecting again, I have a completely different approach to prenatal fitness. This time, I make it a priority. I exercised five to six days a week before I got pregnant, along with teaching class. My workouts came to a screeching halt when first trimester sickness and fatigue took over. It was awful. I was feeling so tired and nauseous I had to suck on ginger mints to make it through teaching two classes a week.

Thankfully, I now have second trimester energy and have recommitted to at least three workouts a week, all modified for pregnancy. Teaching and attending our FIT4Baby classes is one of the best parts of my week! It's a great feeling to spend an hour getting healthy with other pregnant moms. I love the excitement of first-time moms when they're expecting. It reminds me to appreciate this pregnancy and live in the moment the third time around.

Courtesy: Fit4Mom
GAM: What drew you to the Fit4Mom program?
AD: I started as a FIT4MOM client after my second baby was born. I had just started to stay home with my kids and I knew I wanted to stay busy and active. I took my first Stroller Strides class in early 2014 and I was hooked! I just kept coming to class. By January 2015, I did my first session of Body Back and completely transformed my fitness and nutrition habits.

By summer 2015, I knew my next career step was to become an instructor. I teach Stroller Strides, Body Back and FIT4Baby. It is the most fun job I've ever had! Coaching our moms and helping them live healthier lives has become a passion.

GAM: Why is staying fit - or getting fit - during pregnancy so important for women?
AD: It's incredibly important to stay active during pregnancy. It's easy to have the "let yourself go" mentality when you're expecting, especially when you're tired! However, you're not doing yourself or your baby any favors by not taking time for fitness. I like to think of it as taking even better care of my baby when I take care of myself. Exercise IS self-care.

I always remind our pregnant moms of this list from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as just some of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy:

  • Less back pain
  • May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
  • Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Helps you lose weight after the baby is born
Courtesy: Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh
GAM: Some moms might worry about the baby when they exercise during pregnancy, but aren't there benefits for baby too?
AD: Some moms may worry about over exertion when they're pregnant. That is OK and common. We're here to ease their worries and provide great modified exercise. You can still get a good cardio workout without jumping or intense running. We encourage pregnant women to stay hydrated when working out and not get overheated. We warn them to take it easy on their joints too. During pregnancy, hormones loosen joints and high-impact exercises can cause injuries.
Benefits to baby include healthier hearts for the child later in life. Studies show babies may even have smarter brains if their moms are prenatal exercisers! Fit Pregnancy & Baby has a fun article that I share with our moms. The college of obstetricians and gynecologists also has some information about the benefits.
GAM: Can you share a favorite exercise or two that helps with the normal aches and pains of pregnancy?
AD: In our FIT4MOM classes, we have a great formula to give moms a full body workout. We often do rounds of Cardio, Strength and Core exercises. Here are some examples:
Cardio: A safe cardio exercise is a modified jumping jack. Basically, take the jumping out! Step out and reach across the body in the opposite direction.
Strength: During pregnancy, using a resistance band is a great alternative to heavy weights.
Core: My favorite exercise to do to relieve any back tension while pregnant is a simple yoga Cat/Cow while focusing on breathing and engaging your core.
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