Many active women who enjoy working out do not want to stop their exercise routines simply because they are pregnant. Although maintaining the current workout is not recommended, particularly if it is vigorous and challenging, an exercise routine can be done safely if it is slowed down. Physicians recommend pregnant women partake in physical activity at least three or four times a week for 30 minutes each day.
1.Benefits of Exercise
Maintaining workout routines during the pregnancy will provide a vast range of benefits for both the mother and the baby. It is important to set realistic goals as now is not the time to attempt to shed a large number of pounds or inches, nor is it the time for the mother to try new exercises that her body is unfamiliar with. If the woman is not currently active, she must remember to keep her workouts basic and simple.
The golden rule is that if the exercise was performed before pregnancy, it is safe to continue during pregnancy at a more moderate pace for as long as the body will allow. Many pregnant women who are physically active notice an improvement in mood, energy levels and sleep patterns. They also report less aches and pains as they continually strengthen their bodies and cores. Exercising during pregnancy also allows the mother to prepare for childbirth by building her tolerance and endurance while strengthening the muscles necessary for delivery. If a woman exercises throughout her pregnancy, she will typically be more likely to lose the weight quicker after the baby is born.
2. What to Avoid
Pregnant women must stay away from machines such as the stair climber as it is not meant for clumsy women. Pregnant women become more unbalanced as their pregnancy progresses and should not risk the chance of falling off of a moving machine and injuring herself or her baby. These machines also increase pressure in the ligaments in the legs as the legs move up and down. The ligaments are stretching as the woman’s uterus expands, so using a stair climber might cause her more discomfort as the ligaments are pulled even more.Squats should also be avoided because of the growing weight of the uterus and the gravitational pull on the pelvis might be too painful for the mother-to-be. The combination weight of the uterus and baby can cause lower back discomfort and might decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. Pregnant women should adhere to exercises that can be performed on their sides.Pregnant women should also avoid contact sports such as basketball, horseback riding or skiing which can increase the chances of falling.
3. Exercise and Conception
Women who are planning to have a baby might increase their chances of conception if they are physically active and maintaining a healthy diet. Experts recommend beginning an exercise routine roughly six to eight weeks before trying for pregnancy. Women should calculate their body mass index to find out if they are underweight, at a healthy weight or overweight. The chances of conception are much higher if you are at a healthy weight.
4. Best Exercises During Pregnancy
The ideal workouts are cardio-based, ones that get the heart pumping and body sweating. Pregnant women should focus on exercises that target flexibility while simultaneously managing the weight gain. Some of these exercises are safe throughout the pregnant although some women might not be able to perform some of them in the last few months, depending on the size of the woman.
Walking: Walking is considered to be one of the best exercises that pregnant women can perform throughout the entire pregnancy as it allows the woman a chance to work out without hurting the knees, ankles or feet. Walking can be done anywhere and expensive equipment or videos are not necessary; all that is needed is a supportive pair of shoes.
Dancing: Dancing is a great way to get the heart pumping and body moving but pregnant women should avoid routines that require jumping, leaping or twirling around. The unborn baby should not be thrashed around inside the uterus so the dance rhythms need to stay basic.
Swimming: One of the most popular exercises for pregnant women, swimming is also hailed as the best and safest workout by doctors and fitness experts. It is ideal because it targets both the arms and the legs, provides a cardiovascular workout and helps the woman to feel weightless, regardless of the amount of weight that has been gained during the pregnancy.
Yoga: While yoga for pregnant women can help to remain flexible and maintain the current muscle strength without putting extra pressure on the joints, some women might have to pair it with cardio, walking or swimming in order to truly get the benefits.
Weight training: If a pregnant woman is currently lifting weights, she can continue to do so during pregnancy but she must be careful about how much she is lifting. Fitness experts recommend doing more repetitions with fewer weights. Exercises such as bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions and lateral shoulder raises are good choices for free-weights. Machines like the incline bench press, seated shoulder press and the leg extension are also great to use during pregnancy.
Floor work: Pregnant women should avoid traditional abdominal crunches and perform hand and knee stretches or use a fitness ball to work the abs instead. Floor exercises like inner-thigh and side leg lifts and hip rotations can help to minimize the risk of excess fat being stored on these areas.
If done safely and carefully, exercising during pregnancy can help the mother-to-be stay healthy, happy and more energetic during this enjoyable time of her life.
Disclaimer: This is not a medical advice. If you have any concerns please contact your doctor.