Top 12 Safe Workouts For Pregnant Women by Teya Janelle Posted on August 09, 2017
Traditionally, when a woman is pregnant, everybody expects her to be at home - not in the gym or outside walking or doing yoga.
But today’s millennial soon to be moms are going against traditions and strive to live an active lifestyle, feeling empowered with the thought of doing something relevant even when carrying something heavy inside their tummies.
Let’s break the traditional belief that expecting moms aren’t allowed to be active. Did you know that exercising while pregnant is good for you?
In fact, pregnant moms nowadays are encouraged to do yoga, do fun walks in the park or do some activities that do not require too much force.
If you’re a soon to be mom, you should know that it’s a wonderful feeling to say goodbye to your swollen ankles since doing exercises help reduce inflammation.
Doctors recommend walking routines for 15 minutes to prepare your muscles for childbirth.
It also boosts your mood being in a fun environment, seeing new faces who don’t constantly ask you about your diet and due date and feeling more comfortable with your weight.
Here are some simple and easy to do exercises for pregnant women:
Yoga is an Indian form of exercise that is not only focused on your body but it also stimulates your mental and spiritual strength.
Doing yoga promotes flexibility and helps conditions your mind to stay calm and relaxed especially when you’re a first time mother.
Gentle stretches are important in improving your flexibility to make it easier for you to move despite the fact that you’re carrying a baby that normally weighs 3.5 kg.
A daily or weekly yoga regimen prepares you mentally and physically for labor and childbirth. It also teaches breathing techniques that can help expectant moms manage shortness of breath while pregnant and handle labor contractions.
The best thing about walking as a form of physical activity is that it’s free. You don’t need to sign up and pay for a gym membership because you can do it in the park nearby or even outside your house.
It’s normal for pregnant women to suffer from swollen feet and ankles because of hormonal changes and the fact that your body stores more fluid, putting much pressure on the veins, causing problems with the blood circulation.
According to study, walking is highly recommended because it helps pregnant women deal with constipation and gas. Wear your sneakers and comfortable pants and get ready for some fun walks.
Women who have kids know the feeling of being pregnant – feeling floated and heavy, as if you’re carrying a heavy ball for nine months, like you want to just float or be in space with zero gravity.
Swimming is not only good for preparing you physically towards pregnancy but it’s also very therapeutic. You can enjoy the buoyancy of the water and have fun floating without feeling full and heavy.
It’s a good exercise to support your extra weight. Some expectant moms claimed that through swimming, they were able to deal with joint pains and morning sickness.
However, some scientists argue that pregnant moms who regularly attend swimming classes are exposing their unborn children to risks of developing allergies.
To be safe, you can go swimming twice or thrice a week to give you relief especially when you are in your third semester.
The word weightlifting may give a negative impression if you recommend it to expectant moms. It is a form of strength training that helps you deal with muscle pains.
Strength training while pregnant is beneficial when properly done. It is a preparation for labor and childbirth.
If you want to do weightlifting, be sure to choose a weight that allows you to do repetitions without feeling any discomfort.
Be reminded that it’s not a good idea to perform exercises while lying on your back from the end of your first semester.
However, it may not be such a good idea if you’ve never tried lifting weights before and you want to start now that you’re pregnant.
- Use lighter weights
- Stay seated while lifting weights if you are already in your second trimester.
- Be extra careful when you are in your third trimester. Avoid lifting weights over your head.
Next to walking, dancing is the safest activity for expectant moms. If you’ve never tried dancing before, you may want to start with the basics first and try to enroll in a dance that doesn’t require you to move too much.
It’s also helpful if your instructor is properly informed so that he/she can teach you dance movements that allow you to use your different muscle groups.
Doing zumba with your friends can also be fun. Most pregnant women tend to be moody and depressed because of hormonal changes. Some of them become insecure of their weight gain and prefer staying at home instead.
Being with friends while performing some simple and easy to follow dance steps can be a mood boosting activity that can improve your mood and at the same time help you deal with the physical pains of childbirth.
If you’re into aerobics even before you got pregnant, then maybe you’ll be happy to know that low impact aerobic classes are ideal for you.
With low impact exercises, you can only keep one foot on the ground, nothing strenuous – no jumping or bouncing. It’s also one way to get a good night sleep.
Like other forms of exercise, regular low impact aerobics can help strengthen your heart and tone your muscles.
Nia is sensory based and not only focused on the body but also the mind and spirit. It promotes health and wellness.
It’s a technique that helps you explore your body’s connection to your mind, which helps you execute meaningful movement.
It’s like listening to your body and responding to it through movements, letting your body flow in order to deal with aches, pains and stiffness.
Nia trainings help people achieve personal enrichment and development. Created in the early 1980s by fitness professionals, Nia aims not only to workout but to seek calmness of the soul while staying fit.
The body movements are focused on agility, mobility, strength, stability and flexibility. It helps condition the mind and the body.
Pregnant moms will surely find this routine relaxing. While pregnancy is a significant journey in every woman’s life, it can also be one of the most challenging.
Labor and the process of giving birth can be the most painful part of having children. Physical and emotional changes also happen during pregnancy and delivery.
Through doing the Nia Technique, expectant moms can learn how to adapt and adjust to such changes.
Expectant moms enrolled in this class can learn to feel calm and handle labor pains by handling emotions of fear and pain.
8. Water Aerobics
Being in the water while pregnant might be the best feeling in the world. It is said that doing workouts or activities in the water is considered the safest for expectant moms since you can freely move without being too stressed about it.
It also gives a natural resistance that helps you tone your muscles. Water fitness classes are the safest since pregnant ladies are not expected to bounce or move too much.
They are meant to help develop strength and flexibility before you start exercising, don’t forget to warm up first.
Stand in a squat position, making sure that your knees and torso are aligned straight over the toes. Bend in a seating position and maintain your balance. You can bend lower as long as you are comfortable with the position.
10. Extended leg lift
Lift your right leg forward. You can lift it as high as you can, depending on its comfort level. Do not point your toes too much to avoid causing cramps. To be safe, you can hold a pool noodle for more support especially when switching legs.
If you’re looking for a low impact pregnancy workout, then doing pilates is the best for you. It is not just an exercise routine but it’s also beneficial for your mental health.
Your growing baby bump is one of the most visible changes in your body. Your posture changes as your abdominal muscles make space for your baby because it creates more pressure on the muscles and spine.
Like yoga, pilates provide breathing techniques to help you during labour. Pilates focuses on flexibility and muscle strength.
There are many pilates mat exercises that you can do whether you are at home or gym.
12. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises involve strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, uterus, bladder, vagina and anal sphincter.
The main goal of Kegels is to contract the muscles of the pelvic floor several times a day. The best part about doing Kegel exercises is you don’t need to go to the gym.
You can do it anywhere, whether at home or having a break in the office or maybe before sleeping.
Basically, to sum it up, to do Kegels, you just need to try stopping your urine flow without moving your buttock, abdomen or leg.
How to do it:
- Locate your pelvic floor muscles
- Contract your muscles for ten seconds
- Repeat 15- 20 times
- Your bladder should be empty before you do Kegels
- Kegels can be done two or three times a day
Your pelvic muscles must be ready having a growing baby inside your uterus. As the baby grows, there is too much pressure on your bladder that occasional urine leaks become normal each time you cough or sneeze.
During childbirth, your muscles must be relaxed and will eventually stretch out. It might cause tearing of the muscle tissue when stretched too much.
This explains why some women experience postpartum loss of bladder control after giving birth. Studies show that doing Kegel exercises regularly while pregnant (or even pregnancy) can help avoid pregnancy and after pregnancy complications.
Another reason why doing Kegels is recommended is that it makes labor pains manageable. It helps shorten the active phases of labor, so you’re ready to have a fast and safe delivery.
Tips and reminders for experienced and non-experienced pregnant exerciser:
- Never make sudden changes of direction ( for example sudden twists and turns )
- Do some stretching or be sure to warm up before exercising
- Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you’re joining a class, never fail to inform your instructor about your pregnancy so he /she can make adjustments
- Try to do a variety of exercises so you can use different muscle groups.
- Engaging in any physical activity at higher altitude is too risky and should not be done during pregnancy
- Don’t exercise if you have an incompetent cervix or had history of premature labor during your pregnancy.
Signs to stop exercising:
- Preterm labor
- Vaginal bleeding
- Chest pains
There are other exercise routines that can be very beneficial to every expectant mom who wants to stay active or start becoming active to help them deal with pregnancy and childbirth.
While the workouts may seem simple and less strenuous, it is highly recommended that before performing them, you already share your plans to your doctor so he/she can help make sure that you and your baby are safe and ready for such activities.
Taking a class is an opportunity for you to meet other expectant moms who can also offer support and share experiences related to pregnancy and having kids.
Also, with instructors, they can help you do your workouts based on your needs and level of comfort.