Exercise Routine During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy can seem like a dangerous and even impossible activity to some women. Whether you are wondering if you should continue exercising during pregnancy or thinking about creating a pregnancy exercise routine, having the correct information can safeguard your safety and that of your baby. When done right, pregnancy exercises have immense benefits for both mother and child.
Benefits of Exercise for Pregnant Women
Working out during pregnancy has numerous benefits, including making it easy to adjust to the weight gain and shape change. It also reduces your risks of pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, improves blood circulation, minimizes backache, and boosts your mood and energy levels. You also get an easy delivery and recover much faster if you exercise while pregnant. With this in mind, having a pregnancy workout plan and sticking to it will go a long way in promoting your wellbeing and that of your baby.
Exercises You Can Do While Pregnant
To help you reap the full benefits of pregnancy exercises, you need to know what you can do and those you should avoid. Note that most workouts are safe as long as you don’t overdo them. Below are exercises you can incorporate into your pregnancy workout plan regardless of how far along your pregnancy is.
1. Brisk Walking
Brisk walking is the most effortless exercise for pregnant women, making it ideal for beginners who have never exercised before. What’s more, you don’t need any special equipment, and you can do it either in your own compound. If you are starting out you, can begin with 10 minutes of brisk walking thrice a week and work your way up.
For the best results, consider brisk walking at least 30 minutes five days a week. Brisk walking not only tones your muscles and keeps you fit but also improves your mood. Since it among low-impact pregnancy exercises, you can do it at any stage of your pregnancy.
2. Stationary Cycling
Riding a stationary bike instead of a moving bicycle is much safer, regardless of the stage of your pregnancy. You have minimal risk of losing balance and falling, thereby minimizing accidents that may jeopardize your safety. Cycling is an ideal cardio exercise for pregnant mothers, as it takes the weight off your body, minimizing discomfort when working out.
It is advisable to ride a stationary bike for 40 minutes. When choosing a bike for your exercise, opt for a stable and sturdy bike with a comfortable and adjustable seat. Bikes with heart rate monitors are the best for your pregnancy workout plan as they help you identify any abnormalities when exercising.
3. Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga offers less strenuous poses that are specifically suitable for pregnant women. It mainly involves breathing exercises, stretching, and postures, as well as relaxation. Yoga is a great way to relieve stress, gain strength, tone your body and boost your flexibility as you prepare for delivery. It also helps with aches during pregnancy.
While daily prenatal yoga classes are advisable, you can attend your yoga classes twice a week. Yoga classes with instructors are better than at home exercises as it provides an engaging environment and gives you access to professional help whenever necessary. Although you can begin prenatal yoga at any stage of your pregnancy, you may consider doing so after the end of your morning sickness if you don’t feel okay.
Pilates is the perfect exercise for pregnant women as it boosts your core strength, posture, and pelvic floor strength necessary during delivery. Since Pilates can get intense, it is advisable to work with an instructor to customize the exercise. While you only need a mat for the workout, you can also incorporate equipment depending on your preferences.
Like most pregnancy workouts, doing plates two to four to 4 times a week will give you the best results. Note that you can continue doing Pilates even after delivery as it helps with postpartum recovery.
5. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics are workouts that you do inside water. They may include swimming, walking, dance moves, yoga, and floating. Water aerobics engages your abdominal muscles, and the water makes it easy for you to maintain poses leading to better stretches. It also relieves swelling and allows you to do more reps with minimal injury as the water offers extra support.
You can also comfortably exercise in the pool during hot months like summer as it offers a refreshing environment. If you are beginning your exercise routine during pregnancy, you should aim for 30 minutes of water aerobics thrice a week.
It is always crucial to consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine to prevent any complications for you and your unborn baby. Note that exercising for at least 150 minutes every week is necessary for you to reap the full benefits of pregnancy exercises.
Types of Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
While there are numerous exercises you can do, not all are appropriate for pregnant women. Here are workouts that you should keep out of your workout pregnancy plan.
- Exercises that require you to lie on your back for long periods, including sit-ups. The baby’s weight will press on the artery that takes blood to your heart, which may make you feel faint.
- Scuba diving and sky diving. Your unborn baby lacks protection against decompression sickness and gas embolism (gas in the bloodstream)
- Exercises that cause high body temperature, such as Bikram yoga, can cause hyperthermia. On the same note, avoid exercising during hot or humid days or spending more than 15 minutes in the sauna as it may lead to deformities in the baby.
- Contact sports that may result in hitting your belly, including hockey, basketball, football, and even volleyball.
- Exercises with jerking motions or an abrupt change of directions such as skating, horseback riding, and gymnastics. These may result in abdominal trauma.
- Intense water sports such as surfing and waterskiing involve hitting the water at a high force which may endanger your baby.
When Should You Stop Exercising?
When you experience the following signs, stop exercising and contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
- Dizziness and difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Painful abdominal cramping or pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding or a steady flow of fluid
- Muscle weakness
- Sudden swelling of ankles, face, hands, and calf
Exercising Tips to Follow Throughout Pregnancy
The most important tip during exercise for pregnant women is not to overdo it. You should always be able to hold a conversation as you work out without being breathless. To ensure that you do your pregnancy workout appropriately, here are a few tips to follow during your exercise routine.
- Always warm-up before exercising, and cool down right after
- Drink lots of fluids and water to stay hydrated
- Notify your instructor or teacher about your pregnancy, and ensure they have the right qualifications for the job
- If you are a beginner, consider starting small with at least 15 minutes of daily exercise and work your way up.
- Always wear comfortable attire and a supportive bra when exercising.
As your pregnancy progresses, monitor how each exercise makes you feel and adjust accordingly. Doing so keeps you active without putting your health and that of your baby in danger.