There’s no doubt that regular exercise has many benefits. During pregnancy, however, it can offer even more. Not only does it keep you fit, but it can improve mood, appetite, and sleep. Plus, exercising during pregnancy can help you avoid excessive weight gain and assist your body as it prepares for delivery.
As long as you go with exercises that are well-suited for pregnancy, you will alleviate some of the common discomforts associated with this period such as back ache. At the same time, staying active can help you build the strength and stamina needed for labor.
Once your doctor approves your exercise regimen, you are off to a great start. Here are a few tips to consider during this time, as well as a list of some of the best pregnancy exercises you can take up to stay in shape, have a healthy pregnancy, and enjoy a smooth delivery when the time comes.
What to Look For
If you do not exercise on a regular basis already, pregnancy is not the time to begin a rigorous workout regimen. Otherwise, there is no reason to bail on exercising – though, it is recommended that you continue your routine in moderation.
As you might have already guessed, lower-impact exercise is recommended during this time, while higher-impact exercise like interval training is discouraged. Because your center of gravity is changing due to weight gain, you should avoid exercise that requires a great deal of balance or poise.
Not sure where to start? Here are some exercises that are well-fitted for pregnant women.
Swimming is probably one of the safest pregnancy exercises for women. That’s mainly because there is no likelihood of injury from falling. There is also no weight or stress being placed on joints. Moreover, swimming makes for a good cardiovascular workout because it enables you to get your heart rate up without overheating.
Keep in mind that just because swimming is safe, not all water activities are safe to engage in while pregnant. Water skiing, surfing, and any other intense water sports should be avoided during pregnancy.
Walking is a great form of exercise for everyone – pregnant or not, old or young. It is low impact, effective, and quite enjoyable. And, similarly to swimming, it allows you to get your heart rate up without placing too much stress on the body. You’ll likely get plenty of opportunities to walk during the day, so we advise you get a pedometer and start keeping track of your steps.
One of the best parts of walking is that it can allow for socialization because you do not get too winded if chatting with a buddy at the same time. On that note, scheduling some regular walks with your partner or friends can be a great start to implementing an exercise regimen during pregnancy.
3. Stationary Bike
Biking is not as strenuous an activity as many people think, due to the fact that you are not placing your weight on your knees. It does allow for some resistance, however, which is good exercise.
The biggest problem with biking as an exercise for pregnant women is that it carries a pretty substantial risk of falling or getting injured. In order to receive the benefits of biking without risking the hazards, try a stationary bike at your local gym. It is one of the few pregnancy exercises you can engage in while catching up on the news, listening to music, or trying out an audiobook.
Yoga is among of the best pregnancy exercises out there. While it is not necessarily an aerobic exercise, it can help build strength and stamina without putting a lot of undue pressure on joints. In fact, there are even instructors who offer yoga classes specifically for pregnant women.
Be careful, however, as not all types of yoga are safe for pregnant women. Doctors strongly discourage expectant mothers from engaging in very strenuous types of yoga, like Bikram.
Pilates is a great low-impact exercise for pregnant women, as it improves balance and flexibility, while alleviating back pain at the same time. Most Pilates routines involve doing controlled, low-impact movements on an exercise mat, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go, as long as your doctor agrees that it’s suitable for your condition.
Ideally, you should take a Pilates class or follow a workout DVD that was especially created with pregnant women in mind. If that’s not possible, look for a class aimed at beginners and talk to the instructor beforehand, letting them know that you’re a mom-to-be. They should be qualified to provide information on whether the exercises are recommended for you or advise on lower-impact modifications if required.
Remember to Talk to Your Doctor
The examples above are considered safe, low impact pregnancy exercises that anyone can do. To continue, there are slightly more intense exercises available that might be okay to try while you are pregnant. The caveat is that you should really only do these while pregnant if you were already doing them before.
On the same note, you should not continue at the same intensity as before you were pregnant. These exercises are high impact enough that they are generally not recommended for pregnancy unless they were already part of your routine. So if you are really set on trying one of these, talk to your doctor first.
Aerobic exercise will get the heart pumping and help you build stamina. As stated above, if you were doing aerobics regularly before becoming pregnant, then there is no reason to stop.
Make sure that you are opting for a lower impact version so that you are putting less stress on your body. It’s fine to continue, but you’ll want to diminish the likelihood of injuring yourself or your baby in any way.
Running is another excellent cardiovascular exercise. As long as it was already a part of your life before motherhood, there is no need to quit. Instead, take it easy.
As your belly grows, you may find that you do not feel comfortable going at the same speed or for the same distance as you did before. That’s perfectly normal. It is important to listen to your body and not overdo it.
Dance is an exercise that could be a good choice during pregnancy, but only if you undertake it with caution. This is due to the fact that there are so many different types of dance out there. Use good judgment if you would like to add this to your list of pregnancy exercises.
If you experience any of the following, stop exercising and contact your doctor immediately.
- Shortness of breath;
- Blood or fluid leaking from vagina;
Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy
- When exercising, wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, preferably made from a material that wicks sweat away from the body.
- Make sure to wear a sports bra that offers great support.
- Shoes should also offer be comfortable and have rubber, slip-resistant soles.
- Keep water handy and drink plenty of it.
- Avoid strenuous exercises or spending too much time on your back.
When you are pregnant, there is no reason to avoid exercise. In fact, there are many wonderful pregnancy exercises that can be beneficial. Follow these tips to keep yourself and your baby safe and healthy during your pregnancy.
Image from depositphotos.com.