Exercises That Even Pregnant Women Can Do

Exercises That Even Pregnant Women Can Do

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise when you're pregnant? Why should there be a big question mark?? Most doctors and medical healthcare professionals actually recommend exercising during pregnancy as this can boost mood, improve sleep and lower the chances of developing aches and pains.

Exercises during pregnancy also prepare the mum to be for childbirth. Strengthen your muscle and build endurance as you get going, because prenatal exercises can even have postnatal benefits. Research shows that prenatal exercises can help you to manage health conditions and prevent diabetes as well as preeclampsia.

Gestational diabetic patients can even avoid complications through exercise, while they are pregnant. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends healthy women with no pregnancy complications to exercise 20-30 minutes per day with a moderate intensity most days of the week.

The aim is to get the heart muscles pumping, prepare your body muscles to handle pregnancy and postpartum stress without difficulty and remain toned.

Many gyms, as well as community centers offer fitness classes for women who are expecting and you need to just be clear about expert guidance on exercising safely.

Cardio Exercises During Pregnancy: Keeping Fit

Walking

This is one of the top cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. It keeps you fit without jarring knees and ankles and ensures that you do not need any complicated exercise equipment.

All you need to do is put on some comfortable clothes and shoes and walk out the stress. Walking is safe to do during all nine months of pregnancy.

What to Watch Out For:

  • But remember that as your pregnancy advances, the centre of gravity will change and you can lose your balance and coordination sense easily.
  • So be watchful of uneven surfaces and potholes as well as rocks and other obstacles.
  • Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes are a must. Your feet may swell during later trimesters so just buy bigger walking shoes.

Swimming

Photo by Thomas Pompernigg/ CC BY

Swimming is the best and safest exercise for women who are pregnant. It exercises your large muscle groups. It makes your lungs healthy and provides cardiovascular benefits. It even reduces swollen limbs and allows you to feel weightless.

Women with lower back pain would especially benefit from swimming. Another benefit of swimming during pregnancy is that it is an ideal exercise which poses no injury or risk to the body.

Exercising by swimming in water also provides a better range of motion without exerting pressure on the joints. Water aerobics is also a great way to enjoy the experience better.

What to Watch Out For:

  • While swimming, you need to select a stroke that is comfortable and does not hurt you in any way.
  • Choose breaststroke if you know it because it does not use the torso or belly in rotational movements.
  • Try the kick board to strengthen the leg and hip muscles.
  • Avoid warm pools and steam rooms- you don't want to get overheated.
  • Use a railing for balance and prevention of slippage.
  • Avoid diving or jumping into the water- this can impact the abdomen negatively.

Gentle, Low Impact Aerobic Exercises

Aerobics in a gentle tempo can strengthen your heart and tone your pregnant body. Enjoy the gentle movements and feel safe knowing that you are ensuring a healthy pregnancy for you and your child. What is the difference between low and high impact aerobics?

Low-impact aerobic exercises are gentle and exclude high kicks, leaps, jumping or fast running. Keeping one foot on the ground all the time minimizes stress on joints and maximizes balance. This kind of aerobic exercise also protects the pelvic floor muscles and prevents urine from leaking.

What to Watch Out for:

Dancing

Light waltzing or swaying is actually a great way to de-stress as well. The music will help to soothe your nerves too.

What to Watch Out For:

  • Avoid routines that are too active for example jumps and jarring movements.

Stationary Cycle

This is another wonderful cardio exercise you can do if you are starting an exercise program. Get your heart rate up and that too, without straining the knees. American Pregnancy Association has said that riding a stationary bike when you are expecting is safe for the baby. The bike helps to support your weight and reduce the chances of falling.

What to Watch Out For:

  • Don't cycle excessively for long periods of time; this can cause problems

Flexibility Exercises During Pregnancy

Light Weight Training

Lifting extremely light weights is a good way to prepare your muscles for pregnancy. It also strengthens the muscles surrounding the joint and lowers the risk of injury during pregnancy.

What to Watch Out For:

  • But beware: lifting heavy weights can strain the muscles and put dangerous pressure on the abdomen.
  • While weight training, never lie flat on your back.
  • Breathing incorrectly can also damage your body by raising the blood pressure and reducing the flow of blood to the baby.

Yoga

Prenatal yoga classes ensure your joints remain flexible and your body remains stress-free. Yoga during pregnancy also strengthens the muscle system and boosts circulation. It helps you to relax and manage blood pressure problems during pregnancy. Yoga also helps you to get enough training to remain calm during the labor process.

What to Watch Out For:

  • As pregnancy advances, don't go for positions that are challenging your sense of balance.
  • Steer clear of poses where you have to lie on your back- as your baby grows, the uterus becomes heavier and it can decrease blood flow to the heart by putting pressure on major veins and arteries.
  • Be careful not to overstretch. This is because pregnant women produce more of a certain hormone called Relaxin. This hormone increases flexibility and joint mobility. So you need to watch out for this while performing yoga stretches.

Stretching

This is a great way to keep your limbs supple and prevent muscle strain. Get a good workout but make sure you avoid over stretching.

Precautions You Must Take

warning signs of over exercise during pregnancy
Courtesy Flickr/ CC BY

Here are some of the warning signs of over-exercise during pregnancy. If you experience these, visit your doctor immediately:

  • Sensation of abdominal, chest or pelvic pain
  • Lack of fetal movement
  • Feeling giddy, nauseous or exhausted
  • Overheated or cold and clammy
  • Any vaginal bleeding or rapid vaginal discharge
  • Sudden swelling in hands, ankles or other parts of the body
  • Breathlessness
  • Persistent contractions
  • Inability to walk
  • Blurred vision

Exercising while pregnant is a great way to stay fit and there's no reason why you cannot do these light exercises(provided you have medical supervision). Remember that exercising during pregnancy can make you feel healthier and make the delivery easier as well as post pregnancy recovery faster.

 

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