Practicing Body Awareness

Sunema's Story

Photo credit: Nick Alexander, @nicka02

Aloha! As a professional Polynesian dancer and athlete, I’ve continued to practice self and body awareness throughout my pregnancy. I am currently preparing to have my first child and have maintained the active lifestyle that I enjoy by making necessary adjustments and alterations to ensure the safety of myself as well as my growing baby. It is important to familiarize yourself with your body and to know your own limits.  

What was the biggest myth told to you about pregnancy exercise, that you know (or now know) isn’t true?

A pregnancy myth that I’ve been told is that I should not lift more than 20 lbs, though I've continued with weight-lifting this pregnancy. I feel that each woman is unique and we all know our own limits.

What was your exercise routine before becoming pregnant, and how has it changed?  

Surfing, hiking, swimming, free diving, weight lifting, yoga, biking, and walking are some of my favorite kinds of exercises that I have continued to do while pregnant. I have taken “maternity leave” from other exercises that I enjoy such as tandem surfing, dirt bike riding, skateboarding, wrestling and running. Every woman and pregnancy is unique so it is key to make adjustments according to your own comfort levels. 

What has been the biggest challenge in pursuing physical fitness and exercise during pregnancy?

My biggest challenge in pursuing physical fitness during pregnancy has been finding the energy to be active every day.

How did you overcome this challenge to Shape Your Pregnancy?

I found the energy to be active by taking time to rest and celebrating the balance between the two. If I felt tired or fatigued, I sat down and took a moment for myself. Some days I slept all day, other days I hiked for miles & surfed. That balance has been key. When I am tired, I rest. When I am energized, I get active. When I am nauseous, I eat. It goes for everything.

What message would you want to share with other expecting and new moms?

Exercise has helped reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety and has really made a difference to my nausea as well. I hope other women choose to be active while pregnant as it has been extremely beneficial for my baby and me. After all, happy mom, healthy baby : )