It’s no news that exercise is great for the body. When a woman is pregnant, these benefits are great for her too. They range from building endurance, to strengthening the muscles, to boosting moods, to reducing pains and improving sleep. It also makes it a lot more easier to get back in shape right after your baby is born.
According to research, exercising while pregnant will help reduce your susceptibility to certain health problems like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercising will help manage it and reduce complications to the barest minimum.
Research has also shown that pregnant women that exercise have less back pain, a better body image and more energy too.
This does not mean you have to go get a fancy equipment to workout with. It also does not imply that you should engage in difficult work out activities that could stretch you beyond your capacity.
There are lots of easy exercises you could perform that are not only safe for you and your baby, but also easy.
Read on to find out what these exercises are and how to perform them.
Don’t forget to always check with your doctor before starting out any workout routines.
These exercises include :
If you’ve never engaged in exercises prior to getting pregnant, then quick strolls are a good way to start. This is great for the cardiovascular health and is pretty low–impact on your ankles and knees. What’s so good about a stroll is how cost effective it is, how easy it is to do at any time of the day and anywhere.
While your pregnancy progresses, the center of gravity usually changes. This could cause you to lose your sense of coordination and balance. To stay safe, it’s advised that you choose areas that have no potholes or obstacles. Go for areas with smooth surfaces and make sure your foot wears are always comfortable.
Swimming is advised because it gives you an opportunity to move without undue stress on your joints. The buoyancy could also help offer some relief from the extra weight for the duration you’ll be in water. You could also simply walk in the water or carry out simple aerobics.
Find a stroke that is most comfortable and doesn’t hurt stress your shoulders, back muscles or neck. An example of an ideal stroke is the breaststroke.
When entering the water, do not be hasty. Go slowly and hold on to the railing so you don’t lose your balance and slip. Do not dive or jump as this could be unsafe for you. Also do not go for pools8 that are warm or places with hot water so you don’t run the risk of overheating. Cool water is safe.
Carrying out yoga will help you maintain flexibility and keep your joints pliant. It will also strengthen your muscles, enhance relaxation and stimulate blood circulation. It could also help keep your blood pressure in check.
All the techniques you learn in yoga could potentially help keep you calm and in control when you’re giving birth.
As your pregnancy progresses, avoid positions that could cause overbalance. When the pregnancy gets to the second semester, do not engage in poses that would involve lying flat on your back or abdomen as it could cause the weight of the uterus and foetus to pressure the major arteries and veins. This is dangerous and could reduce the flow of blood to your heart.
This is another exercise that is safe for you if you’re a first-timer. This is also called spinning and helps improve heart rate without stressing the joints. The stationary bike will support the weight of the body.
As your pregnancy progresses, you might need to use a higher handlebar.
Who doesn’t love to have a good dance? Grooving to your favourite song is fun and surely doesn’t change with a baby in your belly. It will get your heart rate improved. You could do this at home, in your bedroom or living room. You could also do so in a dance class. However, take care not to go for songs that could cause you to twirl, leap or jump.
This could be a bit difficult for some. However, it’s a great way to build endurance and exercise your heart. For beginners, don’t try to stretch yourself so much. Start at a slow pace and for shorter periods of time till you can go longer
To carry out this exercise, get down on your knees and hands. Next, straighten your legs behind you so that your body is straightened out. Don’t let your belly sag or arch your back. Stay that way for at least two breaths. You could stay that way for longer but this depends on your level of endurance. This will help strengthen your back, core and arms.
Squatting and pelvic tilts
Squatting will help open up your pelvis so that giving birth becomes easier. All you have to do is stand straight and begin to slowly lower yourself making sure your knees bend. Stay that way anywhere from ten to thirty seconds and push up slowly. You could repeat this as much as you can.
Pelvic tilts could help strengthen the muscles of your abdomen and reduce back pains. To carry out, go down on your hands and knees and tilt your hips forward while pulling your abdomen in. Also try arching your back. Then hold on for a few seconds and release. You could repeat this as much as you can.
Why These Exercises are Important
Exercising during pregnancy has a host of benefit for not only the mother, but also the child.
These exercises will help :
- Keep the body strong and flexibility
- Increase the heart rate and enhance blood circulation
- Control healthy weight gain
- Prepare the muscles and labour and subsequently, birth.
- Reduce the need for pain relief
- Reduce how long labour lasts
- Speed up recovery after your baby is born
- Increase the chances of a natural birth
- Reduce the risk of hypertension and gestational diabetes.
- Put the baby up for a great and healthy start.
- Decrease the likelihood of preterm birth
According to research, foetal heart rate is lower when women exercise. The baby could also have a healthier weight, improved stress tolerance, advanced neurobehavioural maturation and a lower fat mass.
Stop exercising if you :
- experience abdominal, pelvic or chest pain
- Feel nauseous, faint or dizzy
- Have muscle cramps
- Experience vaginal bleeding
- Feel clammy or cold
- Have a heartbeat that is rapid or irregular
- Notice any swellings on your face, ankles or hands
- Have a trickle or gush of fluid from the vagina
- Have difficulty walking
- Experience shortness of breath
- Have persistent contractions that go on even after exercising
If you notice any of the above, do well to see your doctor as soon as possible.