Generally, regular physical activity during your pregnancy will help you stay fit and healthy. It will improve your posture and decrease many discomforts like back-aches and even headache. Have you already heard that training routine might relieve stress, prevent gestational diabetes, and build the stamina you will need for labor? Yes, it’s a fact.
If you are one of the women who exercised before pregnancy, you should continue with the moderate physical activity, but don’t try to workout at the same level. If you have decided to start with exercising during pregnancy, you should find adequate exercise program after consulting with your doctor. If you don’t have any medical complication, you can comfortably train about 30 minutes a day, four to six days per week.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Exercising during Pregnancy
- The Best Exercise Tips When You Are Pregnant
- Simple Pregnancy Exercises for Every Trimester
- Safe Exercises You Can Do During Pregnancy
- Physical Activities You Should Avoid During Pregnancy
- When Can You Keep Exercising after Delivery?
There are many benefits of safe exercises during pregnancy. Exercising will help you to be healthy and feel better, to make your delivery more comfortable, and to ensure that your baby will be strong and in good physical condition.
Workout while pregnant has a lot of benefits and can help you to improve your health and strengthen your body in order to be able to endure future efforts. There is a brief overview of the benefits that adequate physical activity can bring to you.
- You will get strong muscles and adequate preparation of the whole body for delivery.
- If you maintain your fitness level during pregnancy, you will prevent overweight.
- Expect toned and strengthened thighs, butt, and back muscles.
- It will boost your energy level and increase your self-confidence.
- Exercise can relieve the stress and help you with sleeping.
- You will get rid of agonizing headaches during pregnancy.
- It makes you looking better and having a healthy glow.
- Count on activating the lubricating fluid in your joints, relieving of annoying back-pain during pregnancy, reducing unpleasant constipation, and increasing your endurance.
- Expect lower risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
The Best Exercise Tips When You Are Pregnant
For a pregnant woman, it is essential how to exercise when pregnant. I would like to give you some tips which will help you with your physical activities, especially if you are a beginner and have never exercised before.
- The first, crucial thing you always need to have in your mind is to warm up beforeexercising. You need minimum five minutes to warm up and stretch.
- Always give yourself time to cool down after every activity.
- Be active on a daily basis. You don’t need to exercise too much. 20-30 minutes of walking or swimming during a day are enough to keep you in excellent condition. It would be perfect if you can include 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity per day.
- Don’t force yourself. As your pregnancy advance, you will need to slow down. Avoid too strenuously exercising. It is important not to stay breathless.
- Drink plenty of ice-tea, juice or water. Be careful and watch out to avoid dehydration and overheating.
- Find an appropriately qualified coach.
- Start gradually. If you haven’t been active for years, you should begin with a few minutes and add additional five minutes each week. Your goal is 30 minutes exercising per day.
- Use supportive bra, good sneakers, and comfortable sportswear.
- Skip your exercises during the days when you are too tired or sick.
The ultimate tip I can give you is to listen to your body carefully. If you practice only as much as you are comfortable, you will be in good shape, and there will be no danger of being hurt either you or your baby. This video introduce the pregnancy safe exercises.
Simple Pregnancy Exercises for Every Trimester
1 – Pregnancy workouts – first trimester
If you are in the first trimester of your pregnancy, you still don’t notice many bodily changes, but you probably need a little more rest. The important thing is to pay attention to your new limits. It will help you avoid falls.
If you have never tried to exercise regularly yet, it’s the time to get this healthy habit. If that is the case, you probably don’t exactly know where to start with exercises. Maybe it’s a good idea to choose Pilates, yoga, running, biking, and weight training for the beginning. If you don’t want to change a sport during the whole pregnancy, you should try with walking or swimming immediately. Anyway, you don’t need to push yourself too hard. Just relax and have some fun.
2 – Pregnancy workouts – second trimester
It is the time to pay more attention to your safety. Try to avoid activities if there is a
possibility of hard falling. During this period, you should stop with physical activities if you are queasy, have bleeding or vaginal discharge, or you suffer from pelvic and/or abdominal pain.
If you are healthy and feel strong during this period, you can walk 30 minutes a day, or enjoy water aerobics and swimming. Try yoga, but avoid ‘hot’ yoga and Bikram. You can continue to follow your running routine if you are a passionate jogger, but be careful. You don’t want to risk a bad fall.
3 – Pregnancy workouts – third trimester
When it is about your third trimester, you should always ask for your doctor’s advice about any kind of exercises. In general, you need to avoid activities that require hopping, jumping, bouncing, and skipping. On the other hand, you can walk or swim. Try aqua aerobics, Pilates, barre, yoga, or some other low-impact exercises which are comfortable and safe as you grow in final weeks.
Safe Exercises You Can Do During Pregnancy
The most exercises can be safe to carry out during pregnancy as long as you exercise wise and with adequate caution. Your primary goal is to pick out an activity with a low risk of injury. Every workout should bring a lot of benefits to your entire body until the day of delivery. I will give you a list of the most productive and securest activities for an expecting mother. Carefully make a choice and find the sport which fit you the most.
1 – Swimming – Be sure that swimming during pregnancy is desirable and safe activity especially for expecting moms who are impassioned swimmers. Swimming will help you to sleep well and get rid of weakness and fatigue. Also, it can reduce swelling, burn calories, and improve your lung and heart function.
2 – Walking – It is a perfect exercise for pregnant women. The best thing is that it is a workout you can practice until your delivery date. It will tremendously help you along the contractions. You just need comfortable sneakers and good will. However, avoid brisk walking after the second trimester.
3 – Tai Chi – It is an ancient form of meditation. You can enjoy slow movements without any risk of injury. There are also pregnancy-specific classes which will fit you until to childbirth.
4 – Zumba and low-impact aerobics – These exercises are an excellent way to increase
your heart rate. Yet, avoid high-impact movements and activities which require careful balance after your first trimester. If you are a beginner, it’s a better option to choose the water version of aerobics.
5 – Barre – This interesting sport is a mixture of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. It is an outstanding exercise for future moms because it involves strengthening the legs without much jumping. Enjoy balance exercises which will keep you stable and a few ones that will put extra vigor on your abdomen.
6 – Yoga – It is focused on a whole body system. Practicing prenatal yoga helps with fatigue, aches, vitality, cramps, and emotional wellness. Also, it offers overall well-being for your body, keeps your muscles limber, teaches you breathing rhythms, reduces blood pressure, and builds your strength.
7 – Pilates – It is entirely safe activity throughout the pregnancy, but you should talk to your doctor before you begin with this type of activity. The good news is that there are series of controlled movements which can be changed to suit your level. There are many benefits of Pilates including strengthening gluteal muscles, legs, and stomach, relieving back pain, improving balance, and so on.
Kegel exercises are a perfect choice for exercising while pregnant. They don’t represent usual physical activities or some unique training for a pregnant woman. Every woman should try them, but expecting moms have a particular benefit from these simple ‘contractions’.
Although the effects of these exercises you can’t see from the outside, I highly recommend
you to include them in your daily routine. One of the significant advantages of Kegels is that you can do them everywhere, while dining, brushing your teeth, watching TV, reading, waiting for the bus, or standing at the traffic light while waiting for the green light. In fact, these exercises can be done in every place and every moment.
They are simple and don’t require a lot of effort, but the benefits you will get from them is really enormous. They will help you to reduce the leakage of urine (incontinence). Don’t worry; it’s perfectly normal that during the third trimester the baby weight makes pressure on your bladder. Kegels will help your body to strengthen the muscles that control your urination.
What should you do? Try to pretend that you want to stop urinating. Squeeze the pelvic muscles for a few seconds and take a pause. If you feel a pull, you will know that you use the correct muscles. If you are not sure that you have identified the correct muscles, ask your gynecologist for help.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you start with Kegels. If you adhere to these simple rules, you will discover very quickly how important these exercises truly are.
- Be careful not to squeeze the wrong muscles at the same time.
- Avoid holding your breath during practicing. Your muscles need oxygen even while you exercise.
- Don’t do Kegels when you need to go to the bathroom. You don’t want to risk the urinary tract infection because of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
And, that’s all. It’s really incredible how much benefits you can get with so little effort. The best thing is that no one can notice while you are doing them!
Physical Activities You Should Avoid During Pregnancy
Before you start to exercise, you should talk with your doctor. Except in exceptional circumstances and with the doctor’s consent, you should avoid activities which include a lot of up and down movements, leaps, bounces, and unexpected changes of direction. You need to protect your baby from every possible risk of severe abdominal injuries. There are various types of activities you need to stay away from while you are pregnant. I will give you the most important ones.
- Lying flat on your back, especially after 16 weeks of pregnancy to avoid reducing blood which flows to your baby.
- Doing contact sports and eschewing risks of being hurt.
- Doing anything which can cause abdominal trauma.
- Doing any sport when there is a possibility of falling.
- Doing squats while pregnant.
- Practicing any activity which requires running, hopping, bouncing, jumping, stretching, skipping, or any kind of waist-twisting movements.
- Jumping while pregnant.
- Going scuba-diving, because decompression sickness and gas embolism could easily affect the baby.
- Exercising at places higher than 2,500m above sea level before acclimatization. You don’t want to expose your baby at risk of a decrease in oxygen. Of course, the exceptions are women who live in these conditions for a long time.
- Using sauna bath or hot tubs.
Dangerous sports for an expecting mom
Generally, during pregnancy, you need to avoid many activities even though they were a regular part of your daily routine before you get pregnant. There are some particular sports you should avoid as your regular pregnancy exercise routine
1 – Riding bicycle – Unfortunately, cycling isn’t an excellent idea for future moms. If you are an experienced rider, you can continue for a while but, after the second trimester, you should choose a less dangerous activity. Maybe riding a stationary bike can be appropriate pregnancy workouts at home, but be careful after the second trimester.
2 – Horseback riding – It seems that this marvelous sport is healthy for everybody. Unfortunately, it’s highly dangerous for pregnant women. Avoid it for a while.
3 – Snowboarding and downhill skiing – There is the likelihood of losing your body balance. During the first trimester, you can enjoy gentle slopes, but later you should avoid these sports. You don’t need a broken leg during pregnancy.
4 – Watersports (water-skiing, surfing, and scuba diving) – Believe me or not, there is a chance for forming air-bubbles in your bloodstream while you surface over waters. It can put at risk both you and your baby.
5 – Hot yoga and hot Pilates – While both of them are usually remarkable exercises for
the future moms, their ‘hot’ versions can be pretty dangerous for you during pregnancy. Working out in a hot room can cause overheated and dehydration and, in extreme cases, there is a risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
6 – Boxing, judo, kickboxing – You can continue with the training only if you have plenty of experience and feel completely comfortable in the ring. If not, leave these sports for the time after delivery.
7 – Team sports – You should avoid team sports such as basketball, football (soccer), rugby, ice hockey, or volleyball while pregnant. These sports carry a huge risk of collisions. If you are a passionate player, you can continue with training during the initial period of the pregnancy. As soon as you stop with this type of activity, it will be better for your baby, and you will have less chance of getting hurt.
8 – Tennis, squash – Don’t try to start with tennis or squash during pregnancy. For moms who are regular players, it is OK to enjoy these fantastic sports during the first trimester. And, that’s it, because there is a real chance of changing your body’s balance after that period. It can be dangerous on a tennis court.
9 – Heavyweight training – Even though you are familiar with weight lifting, there is a possibility of a prolapsed uterus. Leave heavyweights for the postpartum period.
10 – Jogging and running – I know that you probably enjoy jogging and running along the river or through a nearby park, but during pregnancy, you should replace this habit with walking. Running brings too much risk of injury, especially during the third trimester.
11 – High impact aerobics – This, usually harmless and desirable activity, can increase the risk of injuring ligaments and joints or even falling after the second trimester.
Women who shouldn’t exercise during pregnancy
Unfortunately, there are some cases which make physical activities contraindicated for a pregnant woman. In some particular occasions, exercising can be harmful to future moms and consultations with the doctor are necessary. In general, there are conditions when even the most labile exercise is not recommended. I will list you some of the most severe health issues which require avoiding any physical strain.
- If you have medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, severe anemia, and asthma.
- If you have pregnancy-related conditions like recurrent miscarriage, bleeding, history of early labor, low placenta, cervical insufficiency, or previous premature births.
- If you expect twins or triplets.
The warning signs to stop with training
There are some warning signs you should recognize. When they appear, you should stop any physical activity immediately. I will list the most severe of them.
- Bleeding from the vagina
- The occurrence of fluid leaking from the vagina.
- Painful contractions of the uterus.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain.
- Irregular heartbeat or shortness of breath.
- Chest pain, nauseous, muscle weakness, a headache, light-headed, or difficulty walking.
- Feeling dizzy, clammy, faint, or cold.
- Sudden swelling of your face or ankles.
If you notice any of these warning signs, immediately stop exercising and visit your doctor without any delay!
When Can You Keep Exercising after Delivery?
I have already described how beneficial the exercises can be during pregnancy. There is no reason to stop practicing after you have given birth to a baby. The workout will help you to improve your self-confidence which is usually disturbed after delivery due to changes in the woman’s body and excess pounds. It is also the way to low the risk of appearing deep vein thrombosis which pretty often occurs after childbirth.
How soon you can start with physical activity after delivery depends on your health. You should talk with your doctor or your healthcare provider about the subject. I know that you wish to get in shape again as quickly as possible, but you should slow down a while and return to your pre-pregnancy exercise routines moderately and gradually.
In most cases, new moms can safely start with a low-impact activity about two weeks after a vaginal birth. After cesarean delivery, you should need to rest minimum three weeks. Even then, you shouldn’t immediately back to your regular schedule. Avoid overdoing and try to do no more than half of your usual exercise routine.
Keep in mind that your energy level during pregnancy will probably vary significantly from day to day. The best advice I can give you is – When your body says ‘Stop!’, you should stop immediately. The fact is that only a healthy and fit mom can give birth to a healthy and advanced baby.
You can expect that your third trimester will be filled with various sorts of emotions and thoughts. Maybe you will suffer physical qualms. Remember, even 15 minutes of exercise a day will make a difference. Be active and give yourself a chance to be full of energy and strength, and prepare yourself for the ultimate goal – your delivery.