Fit Pregnancy: Workouts For Pregnant Women
Most pregnancy workouts are safe to perform, as long as you exercise with caution. Find out everything you need to know about exercise during pregnancy and its benefits!
Regular exercise during pregnancy has numerous health benefits. You're experiencing many physical and emotional changes and you're dealing with some annoying pregnancy symptoms, so exercise is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, many women benefit signficantly from exercise and physical activity in their pregnancies. Even a simple walk or stretching exercise can improve your mood and lead to better sleep and easier labor. Exercising while pregnant can also make it easier for you to adjust to your changing body shape and weight gain. Here are some tips that can help you have a fit pregnancy and easier labor and delivery.
The health benefits of exercising during pregnancy
Physical activity boosts your mood and energy levels and increases the blood flow to the skin, giving you a beautiful, healthy glow. Exercise releases endoprhins, naturally occuring chemicals in the brain which improves mood. Gentle pregnancy workouts can also improve your posture, relieve back pain and reduce constipation.
Exercising is also good because it prevents wear and tear on the joints which become relaxed during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Regular exercise activates the natural lubricating juice known as synovial fluid in your joints and helps you sleep better at night by relieving stress and anxiety.
By exercising daily you will also prepare your body for birth - strong muscles can ease labor and delivery. Numerous studies have also shown that exercising can signficantly reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and unplanned cesarean sections.
The more active you are during your pregnancy, the faster you'll recover physically after childbirth and the more fit you'll be after delivery. So, try to stay active - even a brisk walk can lower your blood pressure and ease back and pelvic pain. Your growing and developing baby puts a lot of pressure on your lower back and pelvis, which results in terrible back pain. Exercise has proven to be a very effective way to ease lower-back and pelvic pain.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy for babies
Exercise for pregnant women also has numerous benefits for babies. Walking and swimming are as good for your baby as they are for you. A study has shown that exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of diabetes and boost brain health in babies. If you are active throughout your pregnancy, your baby will be less prone to diabetes and obesity.
Exercise may also boost your baby's athletic potential. Studies have shown that kids who were exposed to exercise in the uterus, performed better at sports than their peers whose mothers did not exercise during pregnancy.
Best activities for pregnant women
Generally, exercise in pregnancy is a good idea and is not dangerous to you and your growing baby. It has been proven that active women have lower chances to experience problems in their third trimester and labor. Some of the best activities for moms-to-be include walking, swimming, yoga, pilates and weight training. Walking is one of the best pregnancy exercises because it strengthens the heart and the lungs and increases stamina. Practicing prenatal yoga in pregnancy is one of the best ways to stay healthy, look good and feel good. Yoga during pregnancy increases strength, stamina and alleviates nausea in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Pelvic floor exercises are also great for expectant mothers, because they can help you strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under strain in pregnancy and chidlbirth. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may notice that you leak urine when you're coughing or sneezing. This is a common but irritating pregnancy symptom known as stress incontinence.
However, by performing pelvic floor exercises, you can actually strengthen the muscles and avoid stress incontinence. Every pregnant woman should do these exercises.
How to do pelvic floor exercises:
To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, get in a comfortable position and squeeze the muscles ten times in a row. Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, thigh or buttock muscles at the same time. Try holding each squeeze for as long as you can before you relax, but be careful not to overdo it. Try to do at least three sets of eight to ten squeezes every day.
After a few months, you should probably start noticing the results from this exercises. Pelvic floor exercises are amazing because they will lower your risk of experiencing incontinence and improve the sensitivity you experience during sex.
If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, continue your program with some slight modifications. However, before continuing your old exercise routine, talk to your doctor or health care provider about exercising in pregnancy.
You might need to limit your exercise routine if you have:
- pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (hypertension)
- early contractions
- vaginal bleeding
- premature rupture of the membranes, also known as your water breaking early
Can you run while pregnant?
If you were a runner before becoming pregnant, you might be able to continue running during your pregnancy, but you may have to make slight changes in your routine.
Whatever type of exercise you choose, make sure that you are listening to your body's signals. Many women are dizzy and nauseous early in their pregnancy and they don't have the energy to workout. So, if you feel fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, back pain or shortness of breath while you're exercising, you're probably doing it too strenuously.
Don't overdo exercise on hot days, because temperatures higher than 102.6°F (39°C) could cause problems with your developing baby, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy.