Exercising is good for pregnant mothers. Regular exercise while you’re pregnant can actually improve your heart health, give you energy, and pump up your self-image. Staying fit during pregnancy also can reduce common pregnancy complaints like lower back pain, and it may even shorten your labor time.
However, you can’t exercise just like when you were not carrying a baby in your belly. You need to consult with your doctor before you put your sneakers on and joining the nearest fitness center to get fit. In the mean time, you can do these safe physical activities to stay fresh and healthy during pregnancy:
If your pre-pregnancy exercise levels were very low, a quick stroll around the neighborhood is a great way to start. You will get a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on your knees and ankles, and you can do it almost anywhere, anytime. It is also safe to do throughout the entire 9 months! Just remember to walk on smooth surfaces and wear supportive and comfortable footwear.
Swimming is an ideal exercise during pregnancy as it poses little risk of injury, and no risk of falling on your abdomen and injuring your baby. Exercising In water gives you a better range of motion without putting pressure on your joints. For safety, be careful when entering the water and avoid diving or jumping into water as this could cause too much abdominal impact.
Prenatal yoga classes keep your joints limber and help you maintain flexibility. Yoga strengthens your muscle system, stimulates blood circulation, and helps you relax. You also can use techniques learnt in yoga class to help you stay calm and in control during the labor process. As your pregnancy progresses, skip positions that challenge your balance; and starting in your second trimester, steer clear of poses that require you to lie flat on your back. As your baby grows, it can place too much pressure on major veins and arteries and decrease the blood flow to your heart.
If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason to stop now that you’re pregnant. As long as you take the necessary precautions and use good technique (slow, controlled movements), weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. Don’t work so hard so that you overheat, and gradually wind down your regime towards the end of your pregnancy.
Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs and helps maintain muscle tone. During pregnancy, low impact aerobics suit you better. Low-impact aerobic excludes jumping, high kicks, leaps, or fast running. You would keep one foot on the ground at all times, so you limit the amount of stress on your joints and maintain balance.
Regular exercise will keep you and your baby healthy, can make for an easier pregnancy and labor, and a timely recovery after delivery. However, always remember to do it in moderation as your physical condition is not the same to when you are not pregnant. Stop exercising and consult with your doctor if you:
- Feel pain
- Have a vaginal bleeding
- Feel cold or clammy
- Notice an irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Have increased shortness of breath
- Have difficulty walking
- Have persistent contractions that continue after rest
It is also a great idea to join a group exercise schedule with other pregnant mums in your neighborhood.