Updated: 4 days ago
Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of pregnancy complications and ease pregnancy discomforts, such as back pain. Talk to your health care provider about exercising during pregnancy. For most pregnant women, exercising is safe and healthy for you and your baby. The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain.
WHY EXERCISES DURING PREGNANCY IS RECOMMENDED?
For healthy pregnant women, regular exercise can:
Keep your mind and body healthy. It also makes your heart, lungs and blood vessels strong and helps you stay fit.
Ease some common discomforts of pregnancy, such as constipation, back pain and swelling in your legs, ankles and feet.
Help you manage stress and anxiety.
Help to lower incidence of preterm birth, cesarean birth, excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes or hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia and lower birth weight.
Regular exercise can help give you energy and strength to get through labor.
EXERCISES TO FOLLOW DURING PREGNANCY
Doing a combination of aerobic and strengthening exercises is beneficial when you are pregnant.
Aerobic exercise combines stretching and strength training. Aerobics classes are a safe way to stay active in pregnancy.
If you did aerobics before you became pregnant, it’s fine to continue now that you are pregnant. If you’re new to aerobic exercise, start off slowly and gradually build up to a maximum of four half-hour sessions a week.
Strength training exercises are exercises that make your muscles stronger. They include swimming, working with weights, walking uphill and digging the garden.
It’s a good way to keep your muscles toned during pregnancy.
Using weights and doing other kinds of strength exercise during your pregnancy will help you:
avoid aches and pains as your bump grows
strengthen your body for labour
prepare for all the lifting, carrying and pram-pushing you’ll be doing after your baby is born.
Make sure you warm up and cool down when you exercise in pregnancy
Exercises to do in the first trimester of pregnancy
As long as you’re not considered a high-risk pregnancy, you can continue with your regular exercise routine in the first trimester.
Pelvic curl : Doing an exercise like the pelvic curl is a great way to begin working on spinal mobility and strengthening the abdominal muscles that will support your belly as it grows.
Pelvic brace : Do this throughout pregnancy as long as you don’t have pelvic floor symptoms such as painful intercourse or urinary urgency.
Kneeling push ups : This move targets core and upper body strengthening together.
Squats : The first trimester is also an ideal time to get squatting! If you have access to the gym, you can also use the leg press machine. Bodyweight squats can be done throughout your entire pregnancy.
Bicep curls : Bicep curls are a key move to add to your workouts since you need to prep your arms for repeatedly lifting and holding your baby.
Exercises to do in the second trimester of pregnancy
In addition to the exercises in the first trimester, consider adding some variations to your squat such as narrow squats, single-leg squats, as well as wide stance squats. Incline pushups, which target the chest, triceps, and shoulders, are another move to add during this trimester.
Since the uterus is getting bigger, you do need to be a bit more careful with physical activity.
Hip flexor and quadriceps stretch : Due to postural changes, the second trimester is the ideal time to develop a stretching routine that focuses on the hip flexors, quadriceps, low back, gluteal, and calves.
Side-lying leg lifts : To prepare for your changing center of gravity, it’s important to get the muscles that help with balance and assist in pelvic stabilization stronger.
Mermaid stretch : As your baby grows, it can start to create pressure on your diaphragm and ribs that can be painful.
Exercises to do in the third trimester of pregnancy
During the third trimester, your body begins to prepare for labor and childbirth. This is a great time to focus on cardiovascular activities and keep up your mobility and abdominal strength with :
pelvic floor exercises
These help to keep your upper and lower body muscles strong.
EXERCISES TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
There are certain exercises and activities that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy.
Avoid these activities :
Holding your breath during any activity.
Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding).
Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball and volleyball.
Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma, including activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing.
Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises and straight-leg toe touches.
Bouncing while stretching.
Exercises that require lying on your back for more than three minutes. (especially after your third month of pregnancy)
Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
Exercise in hot, humid weather.
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