The first step in exercising during pregnancy is to check with your health care provider to confirm that there is nothing about your pregnancy that should prevent you from exercising. In most cases, continuing exercising or starting a new exercise program will be permissible. It may even be recommended by your health care provider.
There are benefits for both you and your baby from exercising during pregnancy. A good rule of thumb is to keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute and avoid overheating.
Top exercises to use during pregnancy:
One of the most recommended exercises during pregnancy is swimming. Swimming during pregnancy is considered the safest exercise because it allows you to work out without adding weight and stress to your joints. Swimming also provides an excellent opportunity to raise your heart rate, enjoy a healthy cardiovascular workout while avoiding overheating. Although swimming is healthy, you should avoid scuba diving or water skiing. Scuba diving creates too much pressure on the abdomen and baby and water skiing poses too much risk for falling.
Walking is another recommended exercise which also has a high safety rating. It places less stress on your knees and there is little potential for tripping and falling. Although there is little risk of tripping, it is still recommended that you walk on even surfaces. Even though you are walking it is still important to stretch before you begin and wear good walking shoes.
Kegel exercises make for an excellent option because these workouts target the muscles related to giving birth. Moms frequently report that birth was easier after using Kegel exercises which improved their abilities to control their muscles during labor. Additionally, Kegel exercises reduce problems related to bladder leaking and hemorrhoids.
Kegel exercises may also be used after giving birth to help with perineal healing, regaining bladder control, and strengthening pelvic floor muscles. The best thing about Kegel exercises is that they can be done anywhere, and no one knows you’re doing them.
Running & Jogging:
Running or jogging may prove to be a good exercise particularly if you were doing this before you got pregnant. Make sure you check with your health care provider if you are looking at starting a running program after you have already conceived. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of liquid, avoid getting too hot and always wear comfortable running shoes.
Biking during pregnancy is a good exercise because it takes the weight off of your feet and legs. Stationary biking is best because you have less of a potential of falling. If you are riding bikes, seek to stay on smooth surfaces which are both safer and more comfortable.
Stair Climbing Machines:
Some women enjoy stair climbing machines which provide good heart rates. Make sure you pay attention so that you don’t stumble or fall. These machines do pose a small risk of falling, but the side rails are there to give support.
Yoga, particularly prenatal focused yoga, is an excellent way to reduce your stress and minimize the pressure in your body. The majority of yoga should be appropriate for you and your developing baby, but it does have the potential for being to rigorous. Look for prenatal classes that focus on moms and moms-to-be. Avoid lying flat on your back for extended periods of time and try not to over stretch.
Aerobics can be a good exercise but stay away from the high impact classes. Some classes have moves that may be more difficult while you are pregnant because of the change of your center of gravity and balance. Similar to yoga, there are some aerobic classes that are specifically designed for moms and moms-to-be. Also, avoid lying flat on your back for extended periods of time.
Exercises to Avoid:
Although cross-country skiing is a fairly safe sport for pregnant women, there is a risk of falling. Downhill skiing has a greater risk of falling and is not recommended while pregnant.
Water skiing could result in abdominal trauma, especially in the second and third trimester.
Riding a horse can involve a lot of jolts and quick movements, which can really hurt you and your baby. There is also a risk of falling, which you want to avoid.
Exercising dos and don’ts during pregnancy:
Don’t wear tight clothes.
Do wear an extra supportive bra or sports bra
Do wear good supportive shoes
Do breathe deeply
Do drink lots of water or other liquid.
Don’t let your heart rate get over 140 beats per minute
Don’t lay on your back for extended periods of time
Do avoid jerky or high impact motions
Stop exercising if you have any vaginal bleeding, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath, contractions, or nauseous feelings.