Finding out that one is pregnant brings a lot of joy to most women.
Some even start to search for the best and safe exercises for pregnant women, shop for their unborn child without knowing the gender, etc.
Changes begin to occur in the woman’s appetite and looks – she begins to gain weight. The weight gained varies from women to women, and for most, those weights can become unpleasant.
The perfect way to deal with those weights is exercise.
Some Exercises For Pregnant Women
It is essential to inform your Doctors about the exercises you want to participate in so they can access them and advise you accordingly.
This has to be the easiest of all the exercises. It is also one of the exercises that can be done all through your pregnancy even unto delivery day. Taking a 30 – 45 minutes’ walk can help in maintaining your blood cholesterol levels; controlling blood pressure, eases cramps, morning sickness, and constipation, tones muscles like the hip muscles, which can help in going through relaxed labor, keeps your weight, and your baby’s in check. It also helps with leg aches and discomfort that arises due to pregnancy.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for pregnant women. One of the beautiful things about swimming is that we weigh much lesser in water, this is a great feeling during pregnancy as you add more weight. Before choosing swimming as a form of exercise, some considerations should be made.
If you have been swimming before getting pregnant, then there’s no need to stop now except medically advised against it, however, learning to swim during pregnancy might not be the best choice.
Swimming helps you maintain weight, improve the quality of sleep, strengthen the shoulder, and spine muscles, helps in relaxation and lowering of fatigue, and improves cardiovascular health. 20-30minutes of swimming is okay a day, as you get to your second and third trimester, you can consider using the backstroke and breaststroke forms of swimming.
Running and Jogging
Like every other exercise asides from walking, this is mostly recommended only if it has been a routine for you before your pregnancy. Before running or jogging, you must warm up first, and ensure to stay within your limit.
Also, take safer or smooth paths to avoid falling and wear support bands for your tummy. The benefits range from a reduction in postural and back pain, improved sleep to improved heart rates, and inducing sweat. 15-30minutes daily is okay for you, and you can take rest days.
Your body has undergone many changes due to the pregnancy; if you have not been lifting weights before this time, this is really not a good time to start. If you have had this as part of your workout routine before now, then you can go ahead with an “okay” from your doctor.
When lifting, avoid any jerking or sudden movement, keep your back as straight as possible and bend at your knees, not at your waist. Reduce the weight and amount of repetition as your pregnancy progresses.
Lifting weight comes with benefits too, and some include: birthing a baby with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and healthier blood vessels, less pain during labor, lower complications, reduced back and knee pain. It also prepares your body for the stress of childbirth.
This should be done under the supervision of a gym instructor that has worked with pregnant women and a go-ahead from your doctors. Also, you must consider the strength of your arm and avoid it if you are feeling dizzy.
Plank helps in strengthening the arms, legs, and abdominal muscles. It improves posture, strengthens the core, and helps alleviate the mood. Most pregnant women might prefer this to other mat exercises as it does not put any pressure on the tummy.
The right way to do plank is to keep your spine and neck in a neutral position. You can do side and vertical planks.
This is one of the exercises recommended by midwives due to its benefits. Childbirth is made easy when you have a toned upper thigh, back, and abdominal muscle, and squats are great ways of achieving those.
You must, however, obtain medical clearance before engaging in squats. Faster recovery, improved state of mind, shorter duration of labor, delivering healthier babies with high APGAR scores, healthy body weight, improved posture, and muscular strengths, alleviation of morning sickness symptoms are some of the benefits that come from squatting.
Other Exercises for pregnant women Include:
- Stairs climbing
- Indoor cycling
- Wall push-ups
Some Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
These exercises have higher risks of falling and conditions that can put you and your baby at risk.
- Horse Riding
- Skiing and Diving
- Basketball and any exercise that can cause contact can cause a direct hit to your abdomen.
Scuba Diving – this puts your baby at risk. The baby has no protection against decomposition sickness, and this sickness can be caused by nitrogen gas, which can pass through the placenta to your child.
Exercising on your back – As your pregnancy progresses, you start to feel dizzy or have low blood pressure when you lie on your back. Also, a major blood vessel can be under pressure due to your baby’s weight, which reduces blood flow to you and your baby
Some Things To Pay Attention To Before, During And After Exercising
- Stay hydrated always. Before, during and after exercises, drink plenty of water.
- Wait till at least an hour after eating before engaging in exercise
- Still participate in warm-ups and stretching before going into the proper exercises.
- Choose breathable clothes and shoes and the right sports bra.
- Get medical clearances on the exercises you are engaging in.
- Pay attention to how your body is reacting and always stay on your limit. Do not exercise until you are exhausted. When you feel persistent pain during or after an exercise, inform your gym instructor and doctor.
- Take rests in between workouts.
Endorphins are hormones that boost self-esteem, reduce depression, help you deal with the pain of childbirth, reduce stress and anxiety, and are their production is increased during exercise—another reason why pregnant women should consider exercising.