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By Kelsey Grindstaff

Pregnant and fit

Being pregnant, I am constantly reminded how staying in shape and keeping active is both extremely difficult yet majorly rewarding. I am only 21 weeks along, but I will admit that I have already had my ups and downs. Because of this, I would like to share a few things that have helped me.

First of all, take your vitamins! You cannot stay in shape if all your body wants to do is sleep. Talk to your doctor about what kind is best for you.

I take a gummy multivitamin (yes, for adults) and iron pills. My doctor and I both know I have had difficulty in the past keeping my iron up, but of course I knew this would be different. Boy, was I wrong. After a week of unintentionally sleeping 12 hours a day, I decided my doctor was right. Always take your multivitamin and whatever other supplement your doctor suggests.

Second, walk as much as you can. Really. Walk everywhere and every time you can. Stairs or elevator up two floors? Take the stairs. Car or walk to the library seven blocks away. Walk those blocks.

I understand that there may be legitimate reasons to not walk somewhere: it's 20 floors to where I'm going, the library is 7 miles away, I'm not walking to the grocery store and carrying a week's worth of groceries home. I understand. You understand as well. Be realistic, but truly do your best to walk as much as possible.

Walking gets your blood flowing. It is good for your heart and baby's heart. It can boost energy levels. Best of all, it helps to loosen up your muscles to do those daily stretches your doctor recommends.

Third, if you already have an exercise routine, do it. You may have to tone it down a bit depending on how you feel, but work out. If it's not new to you, your body will be okay.

On that note, let me bring up a few reminders. If you feel nauseated, you should stop. If you feel extremely hot and/or feel faint, stop and get to a cool place. Sit and breathe. Remember, exercise is for our and our baby's health. There is no need to make ourselves sick. It is obviously better to sit than to pass out.

Keep hydrated. Yes, you will need to visit the bathroom a lot more, but water will help keep you cool during workouts along with all its other known benefits.

Also, if you do find your previous workouts are becoming too much, it is OK to tone them down. As a woman who loves weightlifting, I understand. I found early on that heavyweight squats were out of the picture; however, I still do body-weight squats. Just keep it realistic.

The last thing to remember is this: Naps are our friends. If you feel like you need a nap, you probably need a nap. There is no shame in it. You are growing new life, for goodness sake. Who knows? A nap might be just what you need to help you get back up and keeping fit.

Happy nine months!

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