At Longevity Nexum in Barrie, Ontario, our team of Registered Kinesiologists seeks opportunities to help as many people as possible in Barrie, Canada, and around the world. Every day, we assist numerous individuals with a variety of needs, including prolonging longevity and health span, working through injuries and pain, battling chronic diseases, managing medications, or simply trying to navigate exercise for their health. Our broad scope of practice allows us to venture into different areas of interest. Our Kinesiologist, Mel, has a particular passion for working with pre- and postnatal women. Currently 23 weeks pregnant, Mel is entering the new era of motherhood and applying all her skills and knowledge. This experience has profoundly influenced her perspective on exercise. In this article, she shares how her views on exercise have evolved during her first and second trimesters and what she has done to continue exercising during her first pregnancy.

The morning of Monday, February 5th, was one of the most exciting days of my life. My husband Spencer and I found out that we were going to welcome our first child into the world. To be completely transparent, thinking about becoming parents only became a serious conversation two years ago. Prior to that, we weren’t sure if it would be part of our journey together. As a mom, this uncertainty has been challenging since the day I saw that positive pregnancy test:

“Am I going to have that motherly instinct that everyone talks about?”

“I didn’t know I wanted kids until two years ago… Does that make me a bad mom?”

“How is my lifestyle going to change?”

Many thoughts raced through my mind about the next steps. Despite the constant internal chatter, the excitement of having a baby is almost inexplicable in the most amazing way.

Before I got pregnant, I led a very active lifestyle, exercising 5-6 days a week and playing sports year-round, including ice hockey, ball hockey, volleyball, baseball, running, and biking. As a Kinesiologist, exercise is crucial for me to enjoy the things I love most in life and to stay healthy for as long as possible. Then the first trimester hit… the fatigue, nausea, sickness, lack of energy, and food aversions. I hope other mamas out there know that if they experienced these symptoms, they are not alone. Going from high energy and being active all week long to only taking minimal walks was mentally and physically challenging. I had no idea how much of an impact pregnancy would have on my body. At this point, I decided not to let this affect my outlook and thought more positively:

“I’m creating life, of course it’s going to require a lot of energy, but that means I need to be more resilient not only for my health, but for my baby.”

Adopting this mindset from day one has helped me completely change my perspective on exercise and its importance. Exercise now is one of the most important things I can do for my body and my baby. Exercise during pregnancy helps with better sleep, preventing/managing gestational diabetes, decreasing the risk of complications during/after labor, increasing energy, quicker labour, reducing lower back and pelvic pain, and better postpartum recovery.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned during my pregnancy so far is that we are exercising for post-birth recovery, not just the actual labor process. When delivering a baby vaginally, the contractions of the uterus push the baby out—not your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor actually has to relax and “get out of the way” to create space for the baby to travel out. However, exercising your pelvic floor is extremely important during pregnancy to prepare for birth and postpartum recovery. Being pregnant adds a lot of stress to your pelvic floor, which can lead to potential prolapse, incontinence, and pelvic pain. I like to think of exercising during pregnancy as preparation for an injury that may occur—the stronger you are before birth, the easier the recovery.

With the fascinating changes my body has undergone, my exercise routine now includes non-negotiable breathing, core, and pelvic floor exercises. These specific exercises help me connect better with my pelvic floor to protect it. They may not be fancy, but they are very effective. As for my regular exercise routine, I try to maintain a normal schedule at least 4 days a week of movement. Rest days are a must and a priority, pregnancy fatigue is real and we need to listen to our body. The exercises look the same as pre-pregnancy, but I have incorporated many modifications to accommodate my growing belly and changes within my body. I have reduced the load but maintained the intensity for most exercises, allowing me to maintain some strength and aerobic capacity without putting myself at risk. On days when exercise feels impossible, I make sure to listen to my body and remind myself that I am growing a person, which is a chore on its own, but every decision I make about my health will affect my baby. The last 4 and half months have been the most humbling months I’ve ever experienced. This pregnancy has challenged my resiliency in so many positive ways, I’ve learned how to adapt and actually discover why I exercise – to be there for my children and family. Everyone is going to have their own experiences and we need to understand that one way is not better than the other – every mom out there is doing their best whatever it may look like. So, on those difficult days, simply walking brings greater benefits than sitting on the couch.

I can honestly say that the journey of becoming a mom is the most empowering and incredible experience I will ever endure, but it is also the most humbling and challenging. If you or any other mama you know is overwhelmed with the amount of conflicting information out there and doesn’t know where to start, reach out to Longevity Nexum in Barrie, Ontario. We understand the feeling and are here to help you navigate all the uncertainties of motherhood and exercise. Call 1 (800) 963-4409 or email us at to book your initial consultation with one of our Kinesiologists.