|The 7 Best Exercises for Pregnant Women|
Upon receiving the great news of your budding bundle of joy, you must be super-excited to make healthy changes in your life, which include regular exercise. Exercise during pregnancy is not only important to get you lively and ready for your baby, but it is also the fastest way to weight loss post pregnancy. It also helps you have less back pain and a shorter labor.
The following seven best exercises for pregnant women will help you look and feel your best during this special time in your life.
Prenatal yoga stimulates circulation, strengthens your muscles, and helps you relax, which can help you stay strong and calm during your pregnancy.
You can also use the techniques to stay relaxed and have more muscle control during labor. In fact, a study conducted on more than 70 first-time mothers showed that those who practiced regular yoga experienced less discomfort and shorter labor.
As your bump grows, keeping your balance can become more challenging, so skip positions that require more stability. Additionally, in your second trimester and beyond, avoid poses that require you to lay flat on your back because as your uterus gets weighty, it can put too much pressure on major veins, which can limit blood flow to your heart.
A leisurely stroll around the park is an excellent way to get a cardiovascular workout without putting too much strain on your ankles and knees, and it can be done at any time through the entire pregnancy. However, remember to wear supportive shoes and try to walk on smooth surfaces because as your pregnancy progresses, it can affect your coordination and balance.
Swimming is the safest form of exercise during pregnancy because there is no risk of toppling and harming your baby. In addition, exercising in water allows a broad range of motion without putting pressure on the joints; therefore, you can swim, dance, or walk in the water throughout your entire pregnancy. However, avoid jumping or diving in because it could cause abdominal pain. You should also avoid warm pools, hot tubs, and saunas, etc., which could cause you to become too hot.
Light Weight Training
Mild weight lifting helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, which can prepare your body for the abundant lifting and carrying that will be required once the baby arrives. Doctors warn that lifting weights that are too heavy can put a dangerous strain on your abdomen; therefore, stick to light weights (about 5-8 pounds) and perform more repetitions for a good workout. Furthermore, avoid lying on your back when training, which could decrease blood flow to your baby.
Pliés strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, and butts, which helps improve balance.
To perform a plié, stand parallel to the back of a stable chair with the hand nearest to the chair resting on the top of it.
With your feet parallel and hip distance apart and your toes and knees turned slightly outward, while keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees lowering your torso as much as you can. Slowly straighten your legs to return to starting position. Repeat as many times as you would like, or as guided by your Prenatal Personal Trainer.
Squatting is helpful in preparation for delivery because it increases the pelvic opening
an additional quarter to a half inch, allowing more space for the baby to descend, so you should practice it regularly to strengthen the muscles required.
The wall slide squat is especially beneficial because it does not require much balance. To perform a wall slide squat, stand with your back flat against a wall with your feet about six inches from the wall and shoulder width apart. Keeping your arms relaxed at your sides and your back flat against the wall, gently slide down the wall into a squatting position until your thighs are in line with the floor. Hold the squat for up to 10 seconds, then gently slide back up the wall into standing position. Repeat this exercise 5 to ten times.
Pelvic tilts strengthen abdominal muscles and ease delivery. It can also improve the flexibility of your back and ward off back pain during pregnancy and labor.
To perform a pelvic tilt, get comfortably down on your knees and hands with your head in line with your back. Tuck in your pelvis while arching your back upward. Hold this pose for a few seconds, then flatten your back and relax your stomach without allowing it to droop. Repeat this exercise three to five times, gradually working up to ten reps.
As with any exercise, you should consult with your doctor first to be sure you have no limitations and that the exercises are safe for you and your baby. Once you receive the okay from your doctor, indulge in exercises for pregnant women knowing you are doing your part in growing a healthy baby as well as taking steps to ease your labor.
- Exercises for Pregnancy - WebMD
- Prenatal Exercises - Sutter Health COMC
About the Author
Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies NYC Personal Training at Home, a leading personal training service in Manhattan NY with over thirty years experience.