How you relate to exercise prepregnancy is often how you approach it during pregnancy. If exercise was a regular part of your daily or weekly life, then you'll probably do the same in pregnancy. If exercise was not a part of your prepregnant life, however, you may be reluctantly curious/interested/feel compelled to incorporate it during pregnancy. Exercise in pregnancy provides so many benefits:
- Improves mental well being
- Relieves common pregnancy discomforts
- Improve sleep
- Physically prepares you for the hard work of labor and birth
- Helps your body recover faster after pregnancy and birth
- Maintain fitness levels and healthy weight during your pregnancy
The good news is that you don't have to participate in high intensity exercise to receive the benefits. Just 30 minutes of exercise on several or all days of the week (as per recommendations by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) makes a big difference.
Below are six simple and well-loved prenatal exercise suggestions. Check with your care provider before beginning any new or continuing an existing exercise program. In most cases, exercise during pregnancy is strongly encouraged!
Walking. Walking is one of the best, low-impact (high return!) workouts you can do. It's accessible, requires no special equipment, and the learning curve is non-existent. Wearing comfortable shoes, take a 30-minute walk early in the morning, during your lunch hour, or in the evening before bed. Find a friend, your partner, or your dog for an accountability partner (and good company). In most cases, you can even work around bad weather by switching up your wardrobe.
Yoga: So many expectant parents report on the wonders of yoga during pregnancy -- for mind and body. You can find a good prenatal yoga routine through a local prenatal yoga class (it's important to find a prenatal yoga class; if not, talk to your teacher about modifications) or through prenatal yoga videos online (you can find both free and paid yoga video subscriptions).
Pilates: Similar to yoga, pilates also offers excellent benefits for pregnancy. Pilates focuses on strength, muscle toning, body control, and flexibility, but does not offer the spiritual practice and complex poses that you often find in a yoga class. Like yoga, find a pilates instructor who is trained to teach prenatal-specific pilates. You can also find prenatal pilates videos online.
Swimming & water aerobics: For most people, water immersion during pregnancy is pure bliss. Imagine all of the weight, tension, and tightness suddenly being lifted. The weightlessness that water provides helps relieve common pregnancy-related aches and pains that people may experience during other kinds of exercise. Swimming and water aerobics provide all of the same benefits as other exercise programs all while reducing the impact to your body.
Dance/Zumba/Aerobics: A traditional cardio class is an excellent way to stay fit (and have fun!) during pregnancy! Some movements may need to be modified for pregnancy, like jumping or twisting. If attending a class at the gym isn't possible, pump up the music at home and dance intentionally for 30 minutes. If you have other young children at home, encourage them to join you to work off some of that wild-child energy!
At-home prenatal fitness routines: Spend time on YouTube searching "pregnancy workout/fitness routines" and you'll unearth hundreds of ideas for simple and effective exercise.
While running and weight lifting exercises are not on this list, they may be perfectly safe and enjoyable for you in pregnancy as long as you discuss exercise safety with your care provider and take caution to use modifications when needed.
During any workout, be sure to pay attention to your body's cues and monitor how you feel. Stop the exercise and call your OB or midwife if you experience any unusual symptoms.
TagsPregnancy Exercise Exercise during pregnancy Fitness