Exercises for Pregnant Women
Chapters for Exercises for Pregnant Women
- Chapter 1: Exercising Pregnant
- Chapter 2: Safety of Exercising When Pregnant
- Chapter 3: Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant
- Chapter 4: What to Avoid When Exercising Pregnant
- Chapter 5: Exercises to Perform During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a challenging and delicate time for women. Not only are you caring for yourself, but you are also caring for your developing child. This can make difficult to plan accordingly for both of you, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. Nutritional considerations aren’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to pregnancy, exercise and movement also become a huge worry. A developing child places a tremendous strain on your body, the expanding womb stretches out and begins squashing your other organs like your bladder and stomach. Despite this, there are plenty of ways that you can exercise that are safe for both you and your child.
Safety of Exercising When Pregnant
Exercising during your pregnancy is completely safe. If you were active before you were pregnant you should remain active during your pregnancy. As long as there are no other health concerns then exercising is both safe and encouraged. Make sure to consult with a GP or other medical expert to see if what’s appropriate for your situation.
But, in order to exercise properly, you must remember that you are not exercising for weight loss. You are exercising for the same reason that astronauts exercise, you are preventing your muscles from deteriorating. Ideally, try to exercise for around 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Even 20 minutes a day is still useful.
Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant
Exercising during your pregnancy may initially seem risky but the benefits it offers will give you a much better pregnancy experience. The benefits that it offers includes:
- Reduced backaches: The weight of your child will place considerable strain on your back as it grows. By exercising accordingly, you can minimise the effects of this pain by strengthening your back muscles.
- Possible improved childbirth: By keeping active and maintaining your muscle mass you will not lose strength as many mothers do during their pregnancies. By maintaining muscle mass, the body will be better equipped for the physical strain that comes from labour.
- Faster recovery: In the average case of pregnancy, the mother will perform very little physical activity. This is understandable as they are concerned for their child and want to risk harming them. However, this results in the body developing fat stores and losing muscle mass, the mother will be much weaker then they were before pregnancy and will face a tough time regaining their bodies original shape. By exercising throughout the pregnancy instead of doing all of it after childbirth you will recover much quicker.
What to Avoid
There are a few things that you have to avoid and watch out for if you want to exercise. Most of it is obvious, any exercises that could result in you losing balance or are at risk of injury. Things like yoga and swimming are perfectly fine, whereas kickboxing and rock climbing are out of the question. You also have to ensure any exercise that you perform isn’t too strenuous. There are a few signs that your exercise is going too far and needs to slow down. These include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath before exercise
- Chest pain
- Your child is moving less
Make sure you speak to a doctor, midwife or other medical professional if you experience any abnormalities like the ones listed above.
Exercises to perform during pregnancy
Swimming is a great way to exercise since the water supports your weight. The further into the pregnancy you get the more appealing this becomes. It allows you to safely exercise your arms, legs, lungs, and heart. This can easily be done for longer periods of time due to how little stress it puts on your body. There are also various aqua aerobics classes that you can join to exercise as part of a group.
Yoga helps with your posture and mobility. It is a great supplementary exercise in addition to other forms of exercise such as walking. It is important to not overdo your stretching as this could have negative side effects. Focus on gentle movements and positions that are relaxing and comfortable. Look for yoga instructors that specialise in pregnancy yoga. The various stretching exercises could help with childbirth as well.
While weight training might sound risky at first, there are ways to carry it out safely especially if it was already part of your workout before becoming pregnant. The key is using smaller weights. By using smaller one-handed weights instead of large dumbbells. You can keep your muscles toned and strong with just a few minutes each day. As the pregnancy progresses to make sure that you dial back the weightlifting and switch over to other exercise methods that are gentler on your body. Take care as well not to overwork yourself.
Pilates helps you strengthen your stomach and pelvic floor muscles. This will help you cope with the physical pressure your child places on your organs while in the womb. Look for antenatal pilates classes if possible. You will be shown and guided through a series of poses and postures that will help support your muscles. It will also help you learn how to properly control your breathing, which will be incredibly important during labour.