Pregnancy can be one of the most trying periods of your life, but the outcome of it is worth all the pain! These days, most women take extra care during their pregnancy and are eager to exercise and maintain proper health for normal delivery. Exercises for pregnant women are not just safe; it is one of the crucial things to do for a healthy mother and a healthy baby.
Maintaining a regular exercising routine throughout pregnancy can help you stay fit and positive. It can also relieve anxiety and build the stamina necessary for labor and delivery. So, if want to exercise, but still have doubts regarding it, then rest aside all of them and relax! We are going to guide you through all the benefits of exercising during pregnancy and let you choose the best exercise for you! Read on to know more.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy:
1. Corrects the Posture:
In the later stages of pregnancy, the abdomen grows out of proportion to the rest of the body. As a result, your posture might be affected due to the added weight. Exercise is needed to maintain a proper posture and stay fit.
2. Fights Backache and Fatigue:
Constant improper posture and a bulging stomach can cause backaches during pregnancy, added to the fatigue due to the hormonal imbalance. Exercising provides you with much-needed relief from back pain and reduces fatigue also.
3. Relieves Stress:
Stress is synonymous with pregnancy. However, if stress levels are high, it would be harmful for both you and your child. Exercise relieves us from stress, providing peace of mind.
4. Prevents Gestational Diabetes (GD):
Several women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This may cause several complications both for the mother and the child, and special care has to be taken of diet as well. Exercising is the best way to prevent and control blood sugar levels.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure can prove dangerous both for the mother and the child and might cause preeclampsia. It causes several complications during labour and delivery. Exercising helps to maintain blood pressure within normal limits.
6. Provides Better Sleep:
Pregnancy can lead to sleep deprivation due to anxiety, growing tummy and hormonal imbalances. Exercising helps one sleep better by relieving stress and anxiety.
7. Makes Labor And Delivery Easier:
Regular exercise will make labour and childbirth easier by building stamina and muscle strength.
8. Prevent Chances Of Fetal Macrosomia:
The baby weighs more than average and is larger than normal. This makes the whole process of childbirth difficult. Exercising regularly helps you avoid developing this condition.
Who Shouldn’t Exercise During Pregnancy?
Never start any form of exercise without consulting your doctor. People with the following conditions should avoid exercising during pregnancy.
- Heart ailments
- Bleeding or spotting while pregnant
- Multiple gestations
- Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Placenta previa or low lying placenta
- Ruptured membranes
- Restrictive lung disease
- Recurrent Miscarriages
- Premature birth or delivery experienced before
- Incompetent cervix
- Severe anemia
- Seizure disorders
- Extreme obesity or underweight
- Orthopaedic limitations
See More: Exercises To Avoid While Pregnant
The Best Exercises for Pregnant Women:
If the doctor approves of them for you, then these exercises are something that will definitely make your pregnancy period more enjoyable.
Exercises during pregnancy have been classified into six broad categories – Yoga, Pilates, Weight Training, Aerobics, Pelvic Exercises (Kegel), and Dance!
Let’s go through all of them in detail and decide the best suitable exercise for you!
I. Yoga For A Healthy Pregnancy:
Yoga is one of the ancient and most effective ways to stay healthy. It is extremely beneficial for pregnant women as it relieves anxiety and makes the mood positive. The different yoga poses which can be practised during pregnancy are:
A. Extended Side Angle Pose:
Are you suffering from stress and fatigue? Want some energy to boost you up? Make sure you try the Extended Side Angle Pose.
- Extended Side Angle pose exercise helps you in getting rid of all the cramped muscles by relaxing the hips.
- This pose is extremely beneficial for relaxing the whole body.
B. Triangle Pose:
Though the outcome of pregnancy is a happy occasion, the entire pregnancy period can be highly stressful.
- This is one of the best exercises to obtain relaxation, both physically and mentally. It de-stresses you utterly, providing you with utmost peace of mind.
- It is also a good exercise for your legs, the side body, hips and shoulders.
C. Sitting Side Stretch:
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, sitting side stretch is the preferred exercise.
- During the final trimester, there is an exponential growth of the belly. The sitting side stretch opens up the side waist and pelvis and expands your hips. This makes the body more flexible and makes it easier to accommodate the growing baby.
D. Cat-Cow Pose:
Pregnancy is a time when there is persistent pressure on your back due to the extra weight. It shouldn’t be a surprise that back pain is one of the most common problems faced by pregnant women.
- Gently rock, switching between the cat and cow pose, to stretch your back gradually. Since these shift the weight of the baby away from the spine, pain relief is obtained.
If you want some exercises to strengthen you to the core, there is nothing better than Pilates. Most good Pilates workouts strengthen the abdominal muscles, as well as the pelvic floor muscles, which are necessary for a smooth labour and delivery.
The Best Pilates Exercises For Pregnant Women:
A. The Sword:
After doing this exercise, you will undoubtedly feel like a warrior!!
- If you want a flexible body with proper balance, then the sword is the way to go.
- It’s a great way to strengthen the leg muscles along with the back and the abs. These are crucial for labor and delivery.
- This exercise also helps to regulate your breathing, which is vital during labor.
B. Thigh Stretch:
The thigh stretch is another useful Pilates exercise for pregnant women.
- It strengthens the thigh muscles effectively and helps in maintaining proper posture.
- The labor process becomes simple once you correctly practice this exercise.
C. Wag The Tail:
An exercise with a funny name! But one of the best exercises nonetheless!
- During pregnancy, the two major pains that a lady suffers from are lower back pain and abdominal pain. This exercise, Wag the Tail strengthens the lower back and the abs.
- It also improves the flexibility and stability of the body.
D. Sword Arm:
One of the best and perfect Pilates exercises during pregnancy is sword arm workout. Make sure to add this exercise to list of your workout regimen.
- Your arms and hips and abdomen will become strong after this exercise.
- During pregnancy, every woman needs to maintain their body’s balance that will be possible with this sword arm exercise.
See More: What leads to Cause Abortion.
III. Weight Training:
There are many weight training exercises that are absolutely safe for pregnant women.
If you have never lifted weights, it is recommended to not start now as it may overwork and burden your body.
Some of The Best Weight Training Exercises Are:
A. Shoulder Lateral Raises:
The best and perfect exercise for pregnant women to balance the weight during pregnancy time is the shoulder lateral raise workout which is also called dumbbell lateral raise.
- It makes the shoulders and the abdominal muscles strong, which are quite weak during pregnancy. Moreover, it strengthens the spine and the back, thereby maintaining posture and balance.
B. Seated Row:
- The seated row is considered as a whole-body exercise and is one among the best exercises that have to be performed during the second trimester.
- It provides balance to rounded shoulders, which occurs very commonly during pregnancy. By performing this exercise regularly, the back muscles get strengthened, and the chest gets expanded, which can provide some extra space for the child to grow inside the womb.
C. Plié Squat:
- Squats are essential for those who are planning for a natural birth.
- This is considered as one of the best exercises that can be performed during 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Plie Squat hardens the quadriceps, hamstrings and hip muscles, loosens the pelvis making labor easy.
- It helps maintain the balance of the body, which is really off during pregnancy.
D. Hip Abductors and Adductors:
- To go through the process of labor and childbirth, the lower body of a pregnant woman needs more strength and energy. Hip abductors and adductors are an extremely fruitful exercise for the lower body.
- These exercises make the outer thigh muscles strong. If you are opting for a natural birth, this must be practiced regularly to be able to go through the process smoothly.
Aerobics is one of the best exercises if done regularly, and some of them are absolutely safe for pregnant women.
It is better to join classes in order to make sure that the exercises are safe.
Some of The Best Aerobic Exercises During Pregnancy Are:
A. Step Stool Aerobics:
- Step stool aerobics is the perfect and straightforward method of exercising during pregnancy.
- It helps you to tackle stress, improve sleep and stamina. It helps maintain balance and regulates breathing as well.
- Swimming is one of the best aerobics exercises possible.
- It’s a complete workout for the whole body, and fun as well.
- It helps you de-stress, improves stamina and energizes you to the core!
- It also strengthens your core muscles and assists in natural labour.
C. Stationary Bike:
- This exercise can be performed at the comfort of your home, listening to your favourite music or watching your favourite web series.
- It helps build stamina, exercises your core muscles and improves sleep at night.
- Regular evening walks can be extremely beneficial as a whole body workout.
- It exercises almost all the most muscle groups of the body.
- One of the most natural exercises, it is recommended that you wear proper walking shoes to reduce stress on the knees.
- The fresh air refreshes you and builds a positive mood and is one of the best workouts possible during pregnancy.
What can be better than dance to some really good music? One of the best exercises during pregnancy, care must be taken, and one shouldn’t jump, twirl or change direction suddenly.
Dance Forms During Pregnancy Include:
- Ballet is graceful, elegant, and one of the best exercises for pregnant women!
- This gentle dance form rejuvenates the body and makes it more durable. It improves stamina, helps you sleep better and also strengthens your legs.
- Practising jazz regularly will provide some good exercise for your body and make your heart go crazy.
- A fabulous way to relax and de-stress, jazz is extremely gentle on a pregnant body.
- The dream dance for you, no one can miss a Samba dance, with its music and melody!
- Samba dance is considered as one of the best exercises for strength, keeps you healthy and fit throughout the day.
D. Belly Dancing:
- The exotic belly dancing has some gentle, saucy moves which you can do to exercise while you are pregnant.
- A beneficial exercise to help you fight labor pain.
- The belly dancing exercise effectively helps reduce the pain of contractions and also give the more strength to your muscles of the pelvic floor.
VI. Pelvic Floor Exercises:
Kegel has to be mentioned when we are talking about pelvic floor exercises! Kegel exercises are a must to stop the leakage problem of urine every time you sneeze or cough experienced by most women after delivery.
Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy:
A. Short Squeezes:
Short squeezes help in tightening the pelvic muscles before you cough or sneeze, which in turn help you in controlling the leakage and make you the master of your bladder!
B. Long Squeezes:
The pelvic floor muscles become very weak after childbirth. Thus, these have to be controlled, and long squeezes are one of the essential exercises which help you to do that. This exercise will also help during childbirth.
Another excellent method that can be used to strengthen your pelvic floor is the Bridge. Apart from the pelvic floor, it gives an extremely beneficial workout of the thighs and abdomen as well.
D. Wall Squat:
Wall squats strengthen your pelvic floor by leaps and bounds. Apart from controlling the bladder, this exercise helps in preventing hemorrhoids as well.
When To Stop Exercising:
If you experience any of the below-mentioned problems, put a break to your exercising and consult your doctor immediately.
- Chest pain
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Continuous contractions
- Slowing down of or no fetal movement
- Lightheaded feeling, nauseous
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid leakage from the vagina
- Inconsistent heartbeat
- Swollen ankles, hands or face.
- Pain in the calf muscles
- Weakness in the muscles
- Difficulty while walking
During pregnancy, your body is busy raising a new life inside you. So you have to be the provider and supply it with everything necessary from outside. Exercising will not just help your baby but also make the whole process of pregnancy extremely manageable for you, and a period to remember forever with pleasant memories of a happy and healthy baby.
However, remember not to be hard on yourself! Pregnancy can be a stressful time; all you need is some patience, and you will be fine! So, work out, within your limits and get proper rest for a happy and safe pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions Answers:
Q1. When should I start exercise after delivery?
Ans: Do not start exercising until your postnatal checkup at 6-8 weeks, the only exception being walking. Swimming should not be done while you have active post-delivery bleeding and lochia.
Q2. Does exercise during pregnancy help during labour?
Ans: Yes. Exercise helps in strengthening the core muscles which assist during labour and active contractions.
Q3. Do pregnancy workouts prevent stretch marks?
Ans: They do not entirely prevent stretch marks, but definitely reduce the incidence due to increased flexibility and elasticity of the skin and muscles.
Disclaimer: The information provided in the article is not intended to be construed for medical advice in any way. Consult a healthcare professional for any sort of medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment regarding exercise during pregnancy and any related doubts.