Exercise during pregnancy is something which most women do not do or are not inclined to do. Pregnancy is the time when women require exercise as it keeps the blood circulation good for the baby as well as the mother. Exercising also helps the mother stay in shape and prevent instances of gaining too much weight, for which she has to struggle a lot for shedding it off at a later stage.
Exercising regularly during pregnancy will also help you get ready for the elaborate process of labour and help the body fight tiredness and stress as well. Most women think that exercising during pregnancy can put them in serious trouble. Whilst this is not entirely true, exercising during pregnancy does have some risk factors associated with it if not done correctly and without monitoring.
All women who have a normal pregnancy can undertake various exercise that will help them stay healthy and in shape throughout pregnancy. Nevertheless, one has to be very careful about choosing the exercises and also in maintaining the right poses and statures to avoid any complications during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. This will help you plan the exercises that are good for you and avoid the ones that may be risky and cause harm to the foetus.
Safe Exercises During Pregnancy
1. Start With Slow Exercises
When you are pregnant and have never exercised before, it becomes very important to start slowly. Over exertion during pregnancy can cause more harm than good. For a start, you can go on a short walk of 20 minutes or so. Let your body and heart get adjusted to this slow walk for a week or so.
Slowly, you will feel confident enough to undertake longer walks of probably an hour. You can slowly increase your speed as well, as you gain strength. Make sure that you wear a pair of very comfortable shoes while you walk.
2. Stretching Exercises For Pregnancy
Just as warming up is important for all exercises, for pregnancy too warming up holds importance. Light stretching of arms and legs will help you avoid the initial soreness that accompanies all new exercise regimens. Hold your arms out at the side and rotate them in a circular motion.
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For the legs, you can do side lunges. Standing straight, move your feet apart at shoulder length. Now bend your upper body to one side, come back to the straight position and bend to the other side. This will give enough flexibility to your back and side muscles.
3. Stop When You Are Tired
While you plan your exercise regime, make sure that you have considered your stamina. Do not go by what others have set for themselves. If your friend walks or swims for 2 hours, that does not mean that you too can set the same limits.
You might feel exhausted after half an hour. Do not over exert your body beyond that. Half an hour could be your limit and you have no reason to drag on to 2 hours. It’s important to remember that you are pregnant and the welfare of the baby in the stomach is all your concern right now. While exercising, if you feel out of breath or feel pain in your legs, slow down as you could be lacking in oxygen.
4. Importance Of Taking Frequent Breaks
Exercise during pregnancy must never be a single and continuous event. You have to take regular breaks all throughout and keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water to combat the loss of water through constant sweating. If you are out of breath, make sure that you sit down and catch your breath before proceeding further.
5. Exercise Timings For Pregnant Women
Pregnant women must never undertake exercises when it is very hot. This will lead to their body getting overheated and can trigger many risks.Early morning or late evening is the best time for undertaking exercises as the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Avoid exercises that can make your body too hot and also exercises during hot season or when it is very hot.
6. Exercise Positions For Pregnant Women
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Never attempt to exercise while lying on your back. All exercise that make you lie on the back must be avoided as this will make your uterus press on the spinal cord, preventing proper flow of blood to the foetus.
7. Weight Training During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, weight training exercises can be undertaken, provided they do not put pressure on your already strained back or pelvic region. Upper body exercises and weight training that involved the arms are safe during pregnancy. Any lower body exercise will immediately put a pressure on the spine and the abdomen and hence best avoided during pregnancy.
8. Few Exercises That Are Safe During Pregnancy
One of the safest exercises during pregnancy, walking helps you keep the blood circulation going and prevents your body from stocking up fat unnecessarily. Walking is especially good during the final trimester of pregnancy and help in getting ready for labour.
Prenatal yoga is the best form of exercise for all round health during pregnancy and also in helping the body and mind get ready for the laborious process of labour. Yoga also helps in controlling your breathing and practice relaxation which are all good during labour and delivery. Avoid inverted poses and yoga poses that make you lie flat on the floor.
Swimming is one exercise that can be undertaken during any trimester safely. Swimming helps in relieving the stress on your joints due to the extra weight you have to carry. Swimming helps in developing the leg muscles, thereby alleviating pain in the joints.
Aerobic exercises can be done in moderation to keep your joints and muscles strong and flexible during pregnancy. Specific aerobic exercises that target pregnant women can be tried during pregnancy. Aerobic videos can be used as a reference.
Bicycling too is good for strengthening the leg muscles. But this must be done with care if you are not used to it. It is better to avoid bicycling in the third trimester as it can cause more stress on your back.