Practising regular exercise during pregnancy can improve a woman’s mental and physical health aside from preparing the body for incoming childbirth. It is also a great way to reduce the risk of excess weight gain and keep them in shape after the pregnancy.
While exercising is good for pregnant women, it is still important to know what types of exercise or routine that is safe for you to avoid small accidents that can lead to serious injuries to the belly and the body. Here are the best simple exercises that are completely safe and guaranteed to improve pregnancy.
This is the easiest form of exercise there is as it can be done inside the home and whenever you want during the pregnancy.
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As simple as it sounds, walking is a cardiovascular workout with relatively little impact on the knees and ankles so it will not require much energy from the mother but will still bring great benefits. Even more, you will not be needing any special equipment but your pair of feet and some sneakers if you are outside.
For women who are used to doing regular workouts before pregnancy, running is an amazing exercise to help make them feel that they are still on track. Always start out slow by doing a little jogging for a while before increasing the speed little by little.
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If you are going on a treadmill, adjust the speed according to your liking and be careful to not overdo it or slip down from the equipment. Loose ligaments and joints during pregnancy can make jogging harder on your knees hence you are more prone to injury.
If you are still not used to exercising, try doing low-impact aerobics or fun dance workout classes like Zumba to increase your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing inside your body.
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Make sure to take a break at least once in 5 minutes to drink some water and catch your breath. For safety measures, avoid following dance moves that may be dangerous such as high jumps or spins that can take a great toll on your body.
Swimming is the best pregnancy exercise for all pregnant mothers. This is because n the water, humans weigh less compared to on the land so the body will feel lighter and it will be easier for you to move around.
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Besides that, scientific research shows that a short dip in the pool can also help relieve nausea, sciatic pain and puffy ankles. The only thing you need to be careful of is when going in and out of the water, where you should watch out for the slippery pool decks.
#5 Indoor cycling
Indoor cycling is a very good exercise that lets you pedal at your own pace without the risk of falling or putting pressure on your ankle and knee joints.
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This activity is also known as spinning and is safe for most pregnant women especially first-time exercisers. It is a great routine that can help raise your heart rate while minimizing stress on the joints and pelvis.
In general, yoga is a form of exercise and meditation where specific positions are used to help connect the mind and body. Yoga for pregnancy or prenatal yoga, on the other hand, focuses on positions that are specifically designed for pregnant women’s bodies.
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Its benefits include increasing the body’s flexibility and strength for childbirth, reduces strength and anxiety, improves sleeping and decreases lower back pain issues that most pregnant mothers usually have.
Why pregnant women are encouraged to exercise?
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For healthy pregnant women, doing regular exercise can keep your mind and body healthy and helps you stay fit by strengthening your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Other benefits include:
- Relieves common discomforts of pregnancy, such as constipation, back pain and swelling in your legs, ankles and feet.
- Reduces the risk of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes; a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy due to too much sugar in the blood and preeclampsia; a type of high blood pressure some women get after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth.
- Minimizes the risk of having a cesarean birth (also called a c-section) in which the baby is born through a cut that the doctor makes on the mother’s belly and uterus.
- Prepares the body for labour and birth by improving breathing, energy and strength.
How to know when you should stop?
While it is a great practice for pregnant women, doing too much exercise can sometimes leave a bad effect on the body. Immediately stop what you are doing and contact your doctor if you get any of these signs:
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Regular, painful contractions
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or trouble breathing
- Bleeding from the vagina or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Muscle weakness, trouble walking, or pain or swelling in your lower legs
- The feeling of stillness inside the belly where there is no movement of the baby
Other than these, pregnant women with medical problems such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes are very much discouraged to do any form of exercise as it may be harmful to both the mother and the baby.
Staying physically active during pregnancy is beneficial for both the mother and the baby. According to research, the best times to exercise for pregnant women is at most five times a week for 30 minutes each. Physical changes during pregnancy put extra demands on the woman’s body too, so it is always important to exercise with care. Make sure to pay attention to your body, stop if you feel any discomfort or pain and consult with your doctor for any questions or concerns regarding your body.