Prenatal exercises are special exercises designed for pregnancy workouts. They help to have a safe pregnancy and a healthier baby. They also help you recover faster to your pre-pregnancy shape after your delivery.
You should work out a routine and follow it early not just when you are pregnant but when you have planned to become pregnant.
These simple yet very effective exercises are fit and safe for every trimester and just for any particular trimester. You should perform them without fear or worry throughout your pregnancy.
They develop your overall body health and increase the health of your body organs such as the heart, lungs and the muscles and other tissues.
You don’t want to develop just your abs, or thighs because pregnancy is a load on your whole body increasing the demand on your heart, lungs and more.
Some of them are cardio exercises while some like yoga and light weights help to increase endurance and muscles.
A combination of exercises will be ideal to have an overall healthy picture and is explained below.
And follow the exercise routine well into your post pregnancy days. However, give your body six to eight weeks to heal after childbirth.
Exercises do benefit the pregnant woman but only if done within the safety guidelines and further only if you do exercises, which are considered safe for the pregnancy.
You should read the benefits of the prenatal exercises. You will only feel motivated.
The safe way to start pregnancy workouts
Moderate exercise during pregnancy should be a regular affair with a 30-minute session every day as recommended by The College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The benefits of pregnancy exercises are too good to ignore. Do not start with 30 minutes, if you have not exercised in a while.
Build up those minutes gradually over time. You could start with three alternate days a week and increase gradually to 5 days a week and if possible to seven days a week.
The duration of each session too should be gradually increased to the recommended 30 minutes. However, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor before starting your pregnancy exercises. There some conditions which are contraindications to pregnancy workouts.
The following exercises are considered safe and good during your pregnancy. Remember to do a little warming up and then gradually build up pace. After the exercises, spend some time cooling down. You can warm up and cool down with a few stretches.
Walking is one of the most simple and easy to do safe pregnancy exercise and you can vary your pace as per your comfort level. Remember to walk on a plain level surface. Avoid uneven walking surfaces for fear of injury to joints and ligaments.
Brisk walking uphill can increase your fitness. However, remember to follow the safety guidelines explained in the post linked to above.
Jogging on a plain surface too is easy and it helps to quickly build up your .heart and body. However, exercise moderation.
Swimming, according to experts is the best pregnancy exercise. It exercises almost all parts of the body and helps you feel weightless thereby lessening the burden of the additional pregnancy weight.
Just remember to swim in the shallow in case of leg cramps where you can stand and take a break.
These are specifically designed for pregnant women during pregnancy and after birth. They are done standing in the water and under the supervision of qualified fitness instructors.
Exercising while standing in the water lessens the burden on the joints and reduces the risk of fall and injury. These exercises also lessen the swelling of the legs, which is commonly seen in pregnancy.
Yoga and breathing exercises are of great help to the expecting mothers during pregnancy and after child-birth. It makes the body more flexible, improves posture and eases many pregnancy problems such as morning sickness, swelling of legs, mood swings and more.
However, you should supplement yoga by walking a few times a week to enhance cardiovascular benefits. Yoga is gaining popularity because of its benefits on body as well as mind.
Pilates is a gentle form of exercise considered good for pregnancy and which aims at building stronger abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Some of these exercises are performed while kneeling on hands and knees and this helps to take a lot of stress off your back and pelvis. They involve certain movement patterns of the stomach and pelvic muscles.
Pilates also help to facilitate the correct positioning of the baby for an easier labor. Besides increasing the flexibility and strength of your body, they also help your breathing.
This exercise builds a strong mindset and helps to relax and relieve stress. You could google pilates and pregnancy, and watch a video for more details. Here is a link to one such video on pilates.
Training with Low Weights
Weight training is a good way to tone and build stronger muscles. If you were training with weights before becoming pregnant, you can continue but only with lighter weights as advised and in certain permissible positions only.
Joining classes for aerobics of low intensity with other members in similar situations will ensure regularity and safety due to supervision by experts.
Aerobic exercises increase your body temperature due to increased metabolism to provide energy and therefore, you should do these aerobic exercises till a point that your body temperature does not rise. Aerobics should be of low impact or no impact.
Cycling on a stationary bicycle will also do you good. Avoid cycling on the road as there is increased risk of joint and ligament injury during pregnancy.
A fall on the abdomen could be disastrous. Do not overexert and exhaust yourself.
Kegal exercises during pregnancy
Doing kegal exercises regularly will strengthen the muscles of your bladder, bowels and the uterus. They also help to strengthen the vaginal muscles.
This helps to facilitate an easier labor. These exercises also help to prevent unwanted symptoms of pregnancy such as loss of bladder control and hemorrhoids. They are also recommended after delivery to promote a quicker recovery.
Kegal exercises are done by contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. The action is similar to what you would do to stop your urine flow when passing urine or stopping passing of stools or gas.
You should hold this contraction of your pelvic muscles till a slow count of five and then release. You should repeat 10 times to finish one set.
Do five such sets every day. When doing kegal exercises, do not move your legs, buttocks and abdominal muscles. You could do this anywhere or at any time because nobody notices that you are doing them.
Which sports should you avoid during pregnancy?
You should avoid the following sports at all costs because they are not safe and carry the risk of injury from a fall or from being hit.
- hit. riding
- Skiing on land or water
How much and how often should you exercise when pregnant?
Due to physical changes during pregnancy, it is important to exercise caution when exercising. There is risk of harm to the pregnancy, the baby as well as the mother-to-be.
Frequency of exercise during pregnancy
Daily: Walking, stretching, Kegel exercises and light weight training, yoga.
Thrice a week: Low impact aerobic activity like cycling on an exercise bike and swimming with warm up and cooling down stretches.
Intensity and duration of safe pregnancy exercises
In stretching and strengthening exercises, repeat 5 to 10 times a day and hold each position for a maximum of 30 seconds. Do not overstretch or overexert due to the risk of injury to joints.
You should do your aerobic activity in moderation for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not go out of breath and exhaust yourself. After the exercise you should be able to walk and talk comfortably.