Re: Aikido and pregnancy
I just wrote up a long message and somehow it disappeared before posting, so this is take two:
There are two things to consider when discussing pregnancy and any exercise regimen. First: how will your old regimen adapt to the massive physiological changes you will be going through? Secondly, is there any risk of trauma or complications with the fetus as related to your exercise program (aikido or otherwise)?
As far as the first goes, that's something best discussed with your Obstetrician or Nurse Midwife, as they will best be able to provide you with the necessary education as you progress and come to term. As far as the latter, consider: with the knowledge that you are pregnant, would you be willing to take a front breakfall? To work mune-tsuki attacks? I would imagine no.
I know my teachers have recommended water aerobics and stationary bikes as good exercise alternatives during pregnancy. Walking is also great, but be sure to get very comfortable shoes for the additional weight and stress you will be putting on your joints, and remember that a lot of women get swelling in their feet, especially as they enter their third trimester. In general, exercising while pregnant is wonderful to keep your level of weight gain from becoming excessive, but your OB or CNM is likely to recommend that you don't push yourself with your exercise. Remember that your body will be going through a huge change: constant physiological exhaustion could be harmful to both you and your baby.
Fortunately, there's always plenty to do at an aikido class. Stretching, ki-no-taiso, light tumbling at the beginning of your pregnancy (as recommended by your healthcare provider), weapons work, etc. While you'll want to avoid anything too strenuous or stressful, just putting your gi on and doing what you can could help you maintain a feeling of closeness with your dohai and your art.
Assuming you have no complications with your delivery (which we all hope you will not), I imagine your Healthcare Provider will recommend that you begin exercise as soon as you feel comfortable doing so, as you can tolerate it. It's important to remember, however, that no matter how much you exercise during your pregnancy, you are going to gain some weight and your level of fitness will likely not be what it once was, so don't be discouraged if you can't jump immediately back into training as hard as you used to.
Good luck on becoming a mother, and let me know if you have any more questions!
Student Nurse (currently on OB rotation, actually)
Medical University of South Carolin