Right from the moment you discover a tiny human is thriving inside your body, you start thinking about two things: the health of your unborn baby and whether or not you’ll be able to deliver your child normally without any pregnancy complications.
Since staying physically active is one of the critical factors determining whether or not you’ll have a normal delivery, indulging in some safe pregnancy exercises is imperative to help you stay fit and prepared for labor and delivery. Here’s everything you need to know about exercising during pregnancy!
Diet and exercise are the healthiest way to get back in shape after you have a baby. Nevertheless, there are a few other products you can use in order to help you get that figure eight back a lot quicker. You can use a girdle for example. So what is a girdle? A girdle is a form-fitting outfit that goes under your regular clothes. It tightens around your body and helps your abdomen and skin remain tight throughout your day or during your workout. Girdles are known for helping you shape your body while keeping your abdomen tight.
5 Best Exercises for a Pregnant Woman
Brisk walking is one of the easiest, best and safest cardiovascular exercises to perform when you’re pregnant. They:
- Tone your muscles
- Strengthen your heart
- Help you burn off unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy
As walking has little to no impact on your ankles, knees, and back, aim to walk at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes a day during pregnancy.
#Swimming & Aqua Aerobics
Swimming and other water workouts are entirely safe no matter which pregnancy trimester you are in because there is no risk of falling or injuring. Exercising in water:
- Helps you feel weightless if you’re carrying a big baby bump.
- Regulates your blood pressure
- Strengthens and tones your muscles
- Relieves swollen feet and ankles
Consult your doctor about doing aerobic exercise if you have:
- Poorly controlled hypertension, type 1 diabetes or seizure disorder
- Extreme morbid obesity
- Severe anaemia
- Chronic bronchitis
- Orthopedic limitations
- Unevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia
- Extreme underweight (BMI <12)
As the name itself explains, prenatal yoga is designed to help improve the endurance and flexibility of a pregnant woman’s body, making it possible for her to deliver the baby normally. The benefits of prenatal yoga include:
- Strengthens the muscle system
- Regulates overall blood pressure
- Help you relax and relieve stress
- Reduce the pain and duration of the labor
When performing prenatal yoga, make sure you dress in high-stretch pregnancy yoga wear to stay comfortable and relaxed.
#Pelvic Floor Exercises
If you want to choose only one exercise for pregnancy, it should be pelvic muscle training. The different variations of pelvic floor exercises include:
- Split tabletop
- Bird dog
While these exercises may not provide a workout for the entire body, they play a vital role in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles responsible for stopping the flow of urine and supporting the growing baby’s weight.
Generally performed on a chair or mat, stretching exercises provide pregnant women a great way to keep their bodies supple and relaxed. Adding stretching to your pregnancy workout routine:
- Minimizes the risk of back pain
- Strengthens your tummy and pelvic floor muscles
- Improves your blood circulation
However, perform these exercises with utmost caution to prevent severe muscle strains.
5 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
Right from the first month of your pregnancy, you should avoid performing any exercises that require you to lie on your stomach or back. Abdominal crunches and sit-ups are one of them. These exercises can put too much pressure on your abdominal area and cause injury to your growing bump.
When you’re pregnant, your body releases a protein hormone called Relaxin that relaxes your joints and ligaments to prepare your body for labor and delivery. Squatting more than 90 degrees during pregnancy can over-stretch your already relaxed ligaments and cause injury to your joints, leading to physical discomforts like crippling backache.
#Lifting Heavy Weights
While weight training strengthens your muscles and helps you keep your energy levels up, lifting heavy weights during pregnancy can pressurize your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system unnecessarily. This can lead to various pregnancy complications like:
- Uterine prolapse
- Muscle strain
- Leaking urine
Avoid lifting heavy weights while pregnant, but keep your muscles active and toned with lightweight exercises.
If you love outdoor cycling, keep it limited to the first few weeks of pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, say goodbye to outdoor cycling because there is a risk of falling due to restricted leg movements by your growing bump. Instead, you can try riding a stationary bike at your home or Gymnasium.
#High-Intensity Interval Workouts
While HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts are a great way to burn extra calories and improve your overall fitness, they can be harmful to moms-to-be. Your blood volume increases significantly during pregnancy, so indulging in high-intensity interval workouts can put stress on your heart and cause overheating.
When should you not exercise?
Following are conditions when you might need special attention or limited exercise:
- Heart Problems
- Asthma or chronic lung problems
- High blood pressure
- Extreme weight problems (under or over)
- Muscle or joint problems
- History of premature labor
- History of several miscarriages
- Multiple pregnancies
- History of incompetent cervix
- Persistent second- or third-trimester bleeding
- Placental problems (Previa, etc.)
- Ruptured membranes
- Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Low lying placenta
When should you stop exercising?
Stop your activity and consult your doctor if you experience any of these signs or symptoms:
- A severe headache
- Bleeding or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Fast heartbeat, chest pain, or trouble breathing
- Muscle weakness, difficulty walking
- Regular, painful contractions
- Pain or swelling in your lower legs
- Your baby stops moving
- Feeling dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded
- Intense abdominal pain
Guidelines to Exercise During Pregnancy
Take the following precautions while you perform any exercise during pregnancy:
- Consult your healthcare provider before you perform any exercise
- Always warm up slowly and cool down gradually.
- Avoid exercising flat on your back in the second and third trimesters.
- Always wear loose-fitting expectant mom clothes, including a supportive maternity bra that supports your breasts, to exercise comfortably.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Do not use a steam room, sauna, or jacuzzi.
- Slow down or quit if you feel uncomfortable or muscular pain.
- Don’t overheat or overexert yourself. Listen to your body.
- Skip high-impact exercises that involve jumping.
- Avoid exercises that pose the risk of falling.
- Refrain from exercises that require standing too long or lie flat on your back.
- Avoid aerobic exercises if you have chronic diseases.
Long story short, you need to perform every exercise with caution!