You have back pain, swollen ankles, unable to sleep and let’s not even talk about the bloating and constipation. Simply, you’re pregnant! Now you are thinking if there’s something you could do to minimize the aches and pains of pregnancy. Yes, turns out, there is: exercise. Physical exercises while you’re pregnant offers lots of benefits. It helps boost in your mood, a decreases fatigue, constipation and morning sickness. And what’s more, it also helps you recover quickly after giving birth.
It doesn’t matter if you were an iron woman or a sofa slacker until now. You can still benefit from moving during pregnancy. It’s also perfectly safe, but because each woman and each pregnancy is different it’s important to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program while pregnant. So lace up those sneakers and get going! But before you do, read these guidelines and learn about some of the best exercises for pregnant women.
Who should not exercise during pregnancy?
In addition, you may be advised to avoid exercise if you have certain pregnancy-related conditions such as bleeding or spotting, low-lying placenta, threatened or recurrent miscarriage, previous premature births or history of early labor, or a weak cervix.
Exercises during pregnancy
Being fit during pregnancy doesn’t have to mean a big time commitment or fancy equipment. There’s no easier exercise to fit into your busy schedule than walking. It’s a workout you can continue right up until your delivery date even on the D-day if you’re anxious to help along the contractions. What’s more, you don’t need any special equipment just some good sneakers.
Rotate your arms
Shoulder rotations help retain range of motion. Start by bringing your shoulders forward, then rotate them up toward the ears, and back down again. Reverse directions by pulling shoulders back, up toward the ears, and then back down again. Complete four rotations in each direction.
Rotate your ankles
Foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is common. However ankle rotations can help with circulation and may reduce some fluid buildup. Sit with legs extended and toes relaxed. Rotate your feet in large circles using your whole foot and ankle. Rotate four times on the right and four times on the left.
Lie on your right side, head supported by your forearm, right leg bent at a 45-degree angle and left leg straight. Place your opposite arm on the floor for stability. Lift left leg to about hip height and repeat for reps. Then, bend your left knee and rest it on top of pillows for support. Straighten your right leg and lift it as high as possible for reps. Switch sides and repeat for reps
Healthcare providers and fitness experts encourage swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. It is good because, in the water, you weigh less than you do on land, so you’ll feel lighter. Additionally, it exercises your large muscle groups such as both arms and legs. Furthermore, it also provides cardiovascular benefits, reduces swelling, and allows you to feel weightless despite all the extra pounds you’re carrying. Moreover, it is helpful for women with low back pain.
It is also important to exercise the muscles supporting the bladder, uterus, and bowels. Kegel exercises target these muscle groups. It strengthens them during pregnancy and can help you control these muscles during labor and birth.
To do Kegel exercises that target the pelvic floor, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. Try not to move your legs, buttocks, or abdominal muscles. Kegels are so subtle no one should notice you are doing them. Contract the muscles and hold for a slow count of five, then relax. Repeat ten times for one set. Do 5 sets per day.
Going for a jog is an excellent way to exercise your heart and build endurance during pregnancy. The intensity of your run depends mostly on whether you’re a veteran runner or a newbie. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start at a slow pace on shorter routes before gradually building up to 30-minute runs.
Low-impact aerobics and dance workout classes like Zumba are a great way to increase your heart rate. Get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort of your own living room or at a group dance class. Avoid routines that call for leaps, jumps, or twirls.