Twenty-seven-year-old Ashley Casillas Althage knows the meaning of a busy schedule. Working full time as a geological technician at Casillas Petroleum Corporation, she also teaches barre classes in the evening at Sculpt Tulsa. And on top of that, she is many months’ pregnant with her first child. She’s balancing everything she can, and she’s doing it in the correct way, a fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics says is important for pregnant mothers.

“I find it very important to stay in shape and remain active throughout my pregnancy because there are so many positive benefits that come from it,” Althage says. “As long as you listen to your body, I think working out can only lead to a better, more positive pregnancy.” 

She says that a handful of pregnant women attend classes at Sculpt Tulsa, and the studio is currently working on a prenatal class to incorporate into the weekly schedule. “We actually have three pregnant instructors teaching at the moment, so it is a very prenatal-friendly studio,” she says. “Any class that I teach, I offer modifications for any stage of pregnancy.”

According to AAP, physical activity is just as important during pregnancy as any other time of life. The Academy recommends discussing a fitness program with a doctor; a moderate walking or swimming regimen may be ideal for those who are not regular exercisers. Prenatal yoga or Pilates classes are also of great benefit.

“Working out while pregnant offers many benefits,” says Althage. “Physically, it helps you stay strong and maintain muscle tone, which makes getting back into shape after the pregnancy much easier. It can help you to sleep better, boost your energy level, relieve pregnancy discomfort, help you to maintain a healthy weight and most of all, it can better prepare your body for delivery.

“Psychologically, working out while pregnant can help with self-image issues, reduce stress and increase serotonin levels helping to boost your sprits when you’re feeling down,” she adds.

The Academy recommends drinking plenty of water while working out and avoiding activity with jumping or jarring movements.

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