Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful miracles of Mother Nature. The process of growing up and giving birth to a new life is certainly the most fascinating thing to experience. Sadly, some women treat pregnancy as a ‘disease’ when merely it is just a phase that should be embraced, celebrated, enjoyed and lived up to its true potential. It should never be used as an excuse for ‘eating for two’ or lying down all day. However, this should never mean that you do not get enough rest and sleep while pregnant but keeping fit and staying healthy during pregnancy is as important as getting adequate rest.
The benefits of doing fitness exercises during pregnancy are endless. Keeping fit not only makes you active and feel good about yourself, it brings up the added advantage of preparing your baby for natural birth and eases out labor and delivery. A fit pregnant woman who continues to work out and eat well throughout pregnancy has a body that is not just trained well but also has muscles that are stronger and flexible, all of which ultimately enables her to deliver her baby smoothly and recover within no time in her postpartum period. Moreover, it is easier and quicker for a fit mom who has been working out during pregnancy to get back in shape soon after birth. So all you mommies-to-be out there, make no haste, leave that lazy couch and start exercising today, with the consent and supervision of your OB-GYN of course!
Is Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?
Exercise is 100% safe for a pregnant woman. The type of exercises that you can do during pregnancy, are of course different from those you do normally. Furthermore, your aim for exercising at this time is staying fit and active, to be prepared for labour and delivery and NOT to lose weight. This is the reason why you can’t do caloric restriction whilst being pregnant. Typically, exercising for 20-30 minutes are day are more than enough during pregnancy. Also, low impact exercises are the ones that are preferred and suggested for a pregnant woman.
Best Exercises for a Pregnant Woman
Generally, walking is the safest exercise that can be done throughout 9 months. It does not stress up your muscles and is easy for everyone. Antenatal yoga is another great option to add in your pregnancy exercise routine. Safe strength training exercises and antenatal yoga strengthen your muscles, impart flexibility and improve breathing pattern. They are also a great way to relieve stress, improve mood and sleep better during pregnancy. These countless benefits of working out during pregnancy create a huge difference in improving overall health, easing delivery and recovering quickly.
Although there are hundreds of exercises a pregnant woman can do, below are some of our personal favorites because they are easy, safe and can be done anytime. However, it is important to ensure that your OB-GYN has given you a green signal to initiate exercise and you are supervised by a fitness instructor qualified at training pregnant women. Doing anything without a doctor’s consent is a big NO and we never advocate that.
Our personal favorite, Kegel exercise is one of the best exercises you can do during and after pregnancy. It’s simplest, easiest, can be done anywhere and anytime, even while you are doing groceries and no one would know!
Kegels strengthen pelvic floor muscles and trains them contract at the right time while you are labor. Common pregnancy and postpartum complaints regarding urinary incontinence are also controlled with Kegels since this exercise trains bladder muscles too, so it’s a win-win situation either way.
Easiest yet the most underestimated form of exercise, walking can benefit you and your baby in way you would have never imagined. The best part about walking is that you don’t need any training and anyone can do it, anytime.
Recognized as one of the safest exercises for pregnant women by most health care experts, swimming keeps your cardiovascular activity going without stressing joints or injuring yourself as there is no risk of falling.
Other exercises that you can do during pregnancy include yoga, bicycling, mild aerobics and dancing. During the last few weeks prior to your due date, your health care provider might encourage you to add squatting and stairs climbing to your exercise routine in order to help your baby drop down and stimulate natural labor.