During the 40 weeks of pregnancy, exercise may be the last thing on your mind; however, a frequent exercise program can make your pregnancy easier.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercises during pregnancy helps prepare your body for labor and delivery. Women who are in shape can actually handle the trauma associated with giving birth.
Is It Safe?
The American College of Obstetricians and Genealogy recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity daily during pregnancy.
The obvious caveat is if you are having complications during pregnancy, you will need to consult with your obstetrician.
Moreover, if you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, don’t overdo it by starting too strenuous of a program.
Exercises during pregnancy offer a variety of benefits. In addition to the typical advantages of exercise, here are some added bonuses for pregnant women:
- Prevents excess weight
- Increases stamina, which helps prepare your body for labor
- Relieves and helps to prevent back pain
- Helps you sleep better
- Helps keep your muscles strong
- Increases your energy
- May help to prevent gestational diabetes
- Helps to decrease the chances of postpartum depression
The bottom line is that regular physical exercise will help you have a more comfortable pregnancy, notes the National Health Information Center in Washington, D.C.
Safe Exercises during Pregnancy
Most low impact exercises are safe during pregnancy. The following exercises during pregnancy will help you stay in shape and are fun to do at the same time:
Swimming will allow you to get an effective cardiovascular workout, while taking the pressure off your joints. Swimming is a whole body workout that challenges many muscles in your body.
The added benefit of swimming while pregnant is that the water supports your weight. This will give you temporary relief from the additional pregnancy pounds.
Some of the activities that you can do in the pool are: aerobics, deep water running and of course swimming laps.
This low impact activity is easy to do and also helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Keep a pace that is comfortable for you.
A good rule of thumb is to slow down if you are unable to carry on a conversation. Also, remember to invest in some high quality shoes and always stretch prior to walking.
Low Impact Aerobics
There are a wide variety of instructional videos on the market that have aerobic routines designed for pregnant women. These videos will allow you to follow a guided workout in the comfort of your own home.
During your aerobic routine, avoid high kicks, jumps and any movement that may cause you to lose balance.
Prenatal yoga and stretching can help keep you flexible, strong and will allow you to gain control of your breathing. This can be invaluable during labor and delivery.
If you are healthy during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to participate in yoga throughout the duration of your pregnancy. Similar to aerobics, you can find a variety of prenatal yoga DVDs and many health clubs offer classes as well.
This exercise helps to correct your posture, which can be crucial to preventing back pain. Pilates assist in developing and elongating the abdominal muscles. This helps to maintain a strong core and can act as a foundation for stronger post-pregnancy body.
Avoid movements that put you in an inverted position or that are too difficult for you to do while you’re pregnant.
A stationary bike can be a comfortable way to burn calories, particularly if you’re suffering from back pain. The bucket like seat will help take the pressure off your back.
A stationary bike will also allow you to create a custom workout that fits your goals. You can also adjust the tension and preset programs to a variety of settings.
There are certain exercises that you should avoid during pregnancy, these activities include:
- Heavy weightlifting
- Contact sports, such as volleyball, football, basketball and softball
- Activities such as waterskiing, horseback riding and snowboarding
- Deep knee bends
Along with avoiding these high-risk sports, stay away from exercising to the point of exhaustion. Also, make sure to not over do it in hot weather and remember to drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
Safe, well planned exercises during pregnancy will ultimately lead to a healthier pregnancy and can also lead to a quicker post-pregnancy recuperation time.