What Kinds of Exercises Are Safe During Pregnancy?

You may feel somewhat apprehensive about intensive activities while expecting. But, maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy not only helps you stay healthy but also conditions your body for all the changes it will go through. It can also relieve you of some common discomfort, such as backaches, and even improve posture. In addition, studies show that exercise prevents gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieves stress, and builds more stamina for your labour and delivery.

Getting the Green Light

But before you squeeze into your gym outfit, make sure to get a “go” signal from your health provider. Although physical activity during pregnancy is generally good for you and your baby, your doctor might advise you not to if you experience the following:

  • High blood pressure that first develops during pregnancy, or preeclampsia
  • Any form of heart or lung condition
  • Cervical issues
  • Constant vaginal bleeding in the second or third trimester
  • Placenta problems

It may also be wise not to exercise during pregnancy if you have any of the following complications:

  • Twin or multiple pregnancy at risk of preterm labour
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Preterm labour during your current pregnancy
  • Severe anaemia

Safety First

While many exercises can be safely continued throughout all three trimesters, modifying and scaling down is more effective in increasing strength, stability and physical adaptability as your body changes. With that in mind, here are some safety tips when exercising during pregnancy:

  • Get clearance from your doctor if you have any health conditions or you’re new to exercise. 
  • Wear appropriate pregnancy gym clothing, such as a supportive sports bra or belly band.
  • Drink a lot of water before, during and after a workout.
  • Don’t let yourself get overheated, especially in your first trimester.
  • Don’t do contact sports at all costs, where you’ll be at risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, football, judo or squash.
  • Don’t lie flat on your back for too long, especially in your third trimester.
  • Avoid exercise at high altitudes without acclimatising.
  • Don’t exceed 45 minutes while exercising.
  • If you have any unusual symptoms, it’s crucial to stop exercising at once and contact your doctor or midwife immediately.

Consider these tips so you can safely stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy.

The Best Exercises You Can Do While Expectant

If it’s normal for you to exercise before becoming pregnant, you can continue doing the same routine now. The goal should be to keep your current fitness level rather than trying to reach peak fitness though.

Warm Up With Walking 

A brisk walk is great cardio that doesn’t strain your joints and muscles. So if you’re new to exercise, this is a great activity to warm up and get into an active lifestyle.

Keep Your Cool & Your Heart Rate Up With Water Workouts

Swimming and other water activities make exercise easier and more enjoyable. Because water supports the weight of your growing baby, moving against the water helps keep your heart rate up while making movements more manageable. These exercises are also easy on your joints and muscles, so if you experience any pain or discomfort in your lower back when doing other activities, try swimming.  

Cycle Without the Risk With a Stationary Bike

Cycling is a fun and effective low-impact exercise to burn calories. But as your bump grows, balancing becomes more challenging, meaning you are more likely to fall off. Riding a stationary bike lets you reap all the health benefits of cycling while staying safe. 

Develop Body Resiliency With Yoga & Pilates 

Yoga and Pilates help improve your balance, strength, flexibility and posture. Your pregnant body goes through a lot of trauma, carrying the extra weight of your growing baby and childbirth. These exercises are incredibly beneficial in helping your body cope with the changes through pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.

Tell your yoga or Pilates instructor that you’re pregnant. They can help you modify your routine to avoid risky poses, such as lying on your belly or flat on your back. Some facilities even offer prenatal yoga and Pilates classes that are more suitable for pregnant women. 

Get Some Cardio Without the Strain With Low-Impact Aerobics Classes 

Low-impact aerobics is more toned down cardio, so you won’t get too heated up. This includes walking, riding a stationary bike and using an elliptical machine. Low-impact aerobics are great for pregnancy because they don’t strain your body as much as high-impact ones. High-impact aerobics such as running, jumping rope and jumping jacks can put you at risk for injuries and miscarriage. So, let your instructor know you’re pregnant to help you modify your workouts if needed.

Tone Up Muscles With Strength Training

Strength training exercises make your muscles stronger. They help you build muscles and strengthen your bones, which you’ll need to carry a heavy baby bump. Just make sure you’re not lifting weights that are too heavy. Consult your GP about how much you can lift for safer workouts.

Get Movin’ With Your Baby! 

If you do not exercise at all before getting pregnant, don’t worry! It’s still safe and healthy to start now. You can begin your healthy journey with 15 minutes of exercise three times a week. Then, you can gradually increase your activities to 30-minute sessions four to five days a week once you get the hang of it.

Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be strictly planned sessions you have to follow through. Consult with your doctor to ensure safety for you and your baby. Listen to your body and be comfortable. Have fun with your workout, and be healthy for yourself and your baby! 

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