Expecting? Here's Your Guide to Safe Workouts During Pregnancy

Nov 05, 2023 By Nancy Miller

Pregnancy is a transformative phase in a woman’s life. Maintaining physical activity during this time can improve the mother and baby's health. Despite popular belief, you don't have to stop exercising for nine months. This comprehensive guide will illuminate pregnancy benefits, precautions, and exercises.

Why Pregnancy Exercise is Beneficial

Pregnant women need to move to stay on a healthy scale. Thus, we have decided to list some top benefits of exercise during pregnancy.

  • Regular physical activity during pregnancy can help keep high blood pressure in check.
  • Exercise lowers the risk of diabetes and can also help manage gestational diabetes if diagnosed.
  • It aids in maintaining a healthy weight during and post-pregnancy.
  • Activity can reduce symptoms like varicose veins, swelling, and back pain.
  • Exercise has been shown to lift spirits and alleviate depression and anxiety, which some expectant mothers experience.
  • Better sleep can be another positive by-product of exercising during pregnancy.
  • Physical activity can reduce the chances of pre-eclampsia, deficient birth weight, and cesarean births.
  • Regular exercise can lead to shorter and more straightforward labor, making post-birth recovery smoother.

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional Before Exercising

You should always consult your GP or midwife if you have any of these conditions or habits:

  • Known heart or lung issues
  • Weakness of the cervix or a history of cervical stitch
  • Multiple pregnancies or twins
  • History or signs of premature labor
  • Ongoing vaginal bleeding
  • Placenta praevia
  • Pre-eclampsia, diabetes, seizures, thyroid issues
  • Anemia
  • Mobility-affecting bone or joint problems
  • Eating disorders
  • BMI over 40 or a sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking over 20 cigarettes daily

Best Pregnancy Exercises

We have listed some exercises below to give you a better grip on pregnancy exercises. This will keep you and your baby stay fit, healthy, and active.

Walking with an Exercise Ball

Expectant mothers prefer walking. Walking with a pregnancy exercise ball boosts benefits. Gyms and therapeutic settings offer pregnancy exercise balls, which can help pregnant women. Adding this ball to your walking routine has two benefits. It first works and tones your core.

Balance is stressed with each step, strengthening abdominal and spine muscles. This supports your growing baby and prepares your body for childbirth. Secondly, a pregnancy exercise ball can boost posture. Due to weight gain, babies naturally slouch. Regular ball walking improves posture and reduces back strain.

Yoga and Pilates

Pregnancy changes you physically and emotionally. Gentle but effective yoga and Pilates help you stay active and connect with these changes. The stretches and poses in both practices promote flexibility, balance, and core strength. They relax and reduce stress by treating the body and mind.

This is especially important during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and childbirth anxiety. Focusing on breathing is another benefit of these practices. Yoga and Pilates require proper breathing. These techniques can help pregnant women during labor. Changing poses to accommodate the growing belly is necessary. After the first trimester, avoid lying flat on your back.

Additionally, pregnancy exercise classes should be tailored to pregnant women. These classes' instructors are trained to make modifications for mother and baby safety and comfort. When practicing at home, online, or with DVDs, prioritize safety and listen to your body. If a pose or stretch feels awkward, skip it.

Aquanatal Classes and Swimming

Water can refresh pregnant women. Water's buoyancy gives a sense of weightlessness, a welcome relief from a growing baby bump. Aquanatal classes combine water aerobics with pregnancy-specific exercises. These classes improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, and relaxation.

Water resistance allows muscles to work hard without strain or injury. Swimming is a top pregnancy exercise for its reasons. First, it treats pregnancy-related leg and foot swelling. Water pressure increases blood circulation, reducing lower limb fluid accumulation.

Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs, improving the mother's and baby's oxygen supply. The rhythmic strokes work the whole body. However, as pregnancy progresses, some strokes may be more comfortable.

Weight Lifting During Pregnancy

Engaging in weight lifting during pregnancy is a topic often discussed among fitness enthusiasts. If you were accustomed to lifting weights before becoming pregnant, continuing your routine is safe, but with some added precautions. It's essential to listen to your body and modify your training sessions.

The growing baby bump, hormonal changes, and altered center of gravity can affect your lifting technique. As a general rule, avoid straining or lifting weights that cause discomfort. Reducing the weight you lift is advisable, as your body undergoes significant changes during pregnancy. For those seeking added stability, a pregnancy exercise ball can be an excellent adjunct to weight training, offering support and enhancing core strength.

Housework as a Form of Exercise

Believe it or not, your daily chores at home play a crucial role in keeping you active during pregnancy. Pushing a vacuum, bending to pick up toys, or even doing laundry contributes to your overall physical activity. Housework keeps you moving, stretching, and bending, which is beneficial, especially during pregnancy. But it’s essential to avoid overexerting yourself.

Always use proper lifting techniques, and if something feels too heavy, ask for help. Integrating a pregnancy exercise ball between tasks can be one of the best pregnancy exercises to ease back pain or do gentle stretches.

Dancing, Gym Workouts, Running, and Cycling

The joy of movement doesn't have to stop when you're expecting. For many, dancing is a liberating form of expression and an excellent way to stay fit. There's no reason to stop if you have been attending the gym or enjoying runs and bike rides before pregnancy. However, modifications might be necessary. Always pay attention to how your body feels and make adjustments. For instance, consider brisk walking or using a stationary bike if running becomes uncomfortable. Pregnancy exercise classes can also be a great addition to boosting your strength and flexibility.

Aerobic Classes During Pregnancy

Aerobics is a fantastic way to increase your heart rate and keep your body in shape. Feel free to continue if you've been attending aerobic classes before your pregnancy. As your body changes, some movements may need adjustments. Always inform your instructor of your pregnancy.

They can provide alternative moves that are safer and more comfortable. Remember, the emphasis should be on maintaining fitness, not pushing your limits. When joining pregnancy exercise classes, ensure they cater to the unique needs of expecting mothers. Such classes often incorporate tools like the pregnancy exercise ball, which can enhance the exercise's benefits and safety.

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