here is nothing better than a good prenatal exercise routine to get you through your pregnancy. But, what exercises are best for pregnant women? In this post, we will discuss the 12 best exercises that have been proven to be effective in improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of pregnant women.
Is Physical Activity During Pregnancy Is Safe For All Women?
Many studies have found that physical activity is safe for all pregnant women, including those with low-risk pregnancies and even during labor. In fact, a recent study of 1200 women showed that "active" mothers were less likely to develop gestational diabetes, which is a condition where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or preeclampsia, which is an illness that affects the mother's metabolism and blood pressure.
Another study found that women who exercised during pregnancy were less likely to experience depression later on and had more energy. In addition, it was easier for them to lose weight after they gave birth. For these reasons, experts recommend exercise to manage many health risks in pregnant women, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Exercise is also important for maintaining physical strength before, during, and after pregnancy. For example, research shows that being active can help prevent back pain in pregnant women by reducing the weight of your uterus, which puts pressure on your spine.
Physical activity can also have benefits for the baby. For example, it helps him grow and gain weight more healthily. Furthermore, some studies show that exercise women during pregnancy can prevent premature birth or having a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant, an infant born smaller than expected for his gestational age who might need medical attention.
Physical activity can also help you cope with the physical and emotional changes that come during pregnancy and after childbirth, like mood swings, anxiety or depression, sleep difficulties, and low self-esteem. For example, a recent study found that pregnant women who exercised more than 30 minutes per day were less likely to report symptoms of depression at 32 weeks gestation than those who did not exercise.
Therefore, it's important for pregnant women to continue being active throughout their pregnancy and postpartum as well since physical activity can have many benefits on both the mother and her baby.
12 Safe Pregnancy Workouts You Can Try
There are many safe exercises that pregnant women can do during pregnancy. Here are the 12 best ones:
Walking Or Running
These kind of exercise is safe in the later stages of pregnancy, and it is great for burning calories as well as easing some of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend that pregnant women who are accustomed to walking briskly or running should maintain their regular level of exercise.
A study from Canada found that pregnant women who do aerobic exercise regularly were more likely to have shorter labor and less intense contractions. Their babies had higher birth weights than mothers-to-be who did not exercise while they were pregnant.
Walking is an excellent pregnancy workout because it can be done in most environments and does not fatigue the body quickly. This kind of aerobic activity also strengthens your muscles which may help reduce back pain caused by carrying extra weight.
Check this video to know more about these kinds of exercises:
If you are past your first trimester of pregnancy, then swimming is the best one to try. The buoyancy of the water will support and not overtax muscles so you can stay active longer while swimming laps. Many pregnant women feel more comfortable in water because they are weightless.
Swimming also provides a nice variety to your workout routine and helps you avoid the monotony of other exercises routines. However, if the water is too cold or your doctor advises against it, then this form of exercise should not be pursued.
To know more about swimming exercises watch the video below:
Yoga is a great form of exercise during pregnancy because it will help strengthen your muscles and also provide you with some relaxation time. Yoga has been shown to increase flexibility and improve moods by helping release endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones.
Yoga is an excellent way to stay active during pregnancy because it does not put too much stress on your body, leading to aches or pains later in the day. It also provides a tranquil environment away from most distractions so you can focus inward while still exercising.
It is a perfect form of exercise because it can be done for just twenty minutes and allows you to stay active as well as feel refreshed afterward. It also provides an opportunity for women who do not have the time, access, or ability to go out into the world and do more vigorous exercise.
Check out this 20 minutes prenatal exercise:
Chair squats are an excellent exercise for pregnant women because they can be done at any time of day, anywhere. This kind of strength training will help prepare you for labor and delivery by strengthening your muscles, leading to quicker and easier recovery after giving birth.
This exercise is easy to do because you just start with a seated position on the floor and then stand up by straightening your legs using your arms for balance or support.
Chair squats are also an excellent way to work out any kinks in those long hours of sitting during pregnancy, leading to back pain later if it is not addressed.
Find out more with this video:
Seated Leg Lifts
During pregnancy, you will often experience some discomfort in your legs because of the weight and shifting. Seated leg lifts are a great exercise for pregnant women because they work out many muscles that can help alleviate lower back pain and improve circulation to the pelvic area, which may make uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy more manageable.
It is best to start this exercise by lying on your back as flat as possible, then raise one leg up off the floor about six inches above ground level so that the leg is perpendicular to your body.
Next, slowly lower that same leg back down to ground level and then repeat with the opposite side.
This routine can be done for about fifteen minutes a day or as long as you feel comfortable doing it.
Watch this video to know more about seated leg lifts:
You can try different stretching during your pregnancy, such as the squat stretch, side-lying pelvic tilt, and hamstring stretches. These exercises can be done at any time of day in your own home or outside to help alleviate back pain from the effects of pregnancy.
Although these kinds of workouts are not as intense as others, it is still important that you maintain some level of fitness during this special time by doing what you can.
Watch this stretching exercise for pregnant:
Strength Or Weight Training With Resistance Bands
Strength training is an excellent way to stay active during pregnancy because it can be done for just twenty minutes and allows you to maintain fitness as well as feel refreshed afterward. It also provides an opportunity for women who do not have the time, access, or ability to go out into the world and do more vigorous exercise.
One of the best ways to get a strength training workout in is by using resistance bands. These are affordable and can easily be purchased at most stores that sell fitness equipment.
The benefit of these kinds of workouts during pregnancy is that they will help prepare you for labor and delivery and make it easier to recover after giving birth because the muscles will already have been strengthened.
This form of exercise can be done anywhere and at any time, making it a great option for women who have more demands on their time.
Exercises with resistance bands are also easy to do because they require minimal equipment, just an inexpensive set of bands that will last through your pregnancy and beyond!
See this video for more details:
Prenatal Pilates is a form of exercise that has been shown to strengthen abdominal muscles as well as help prepare women for labor and delivery. Also, many pregnant women reported that prenatal Pilates helped them manage back pain and other discomforts more effectively.
This type of exercise is popular because it can be done at any time, anywhere, with no equipment necessary, making it an easy choice for pregnant mothers who have more demands on their time.
Check out this prenatal pilates:
Prenatal kickboxing is a great way to get in shape because it helps build muscle and endurance. Many women who have done prenatal kickboxing report that they feel less stressed, more confident and even experienced an increase in the mood with this type of exercise.
The best part about these workouts is the variety so expect some kicks, punches, squats, and other maternal exercises that will work wonders on your body and mind.
See this prenatal kickboxing for more tips and techniques:
Kegel exercises are easy to do while pregnant that can help women prepare for labor and delivery day. It is recommended that these be done daily, especially as the baby gets closer to being born.
There are many different ways you can do Kegel exercises, including squeezing your pelvic floor muscles in a rhythmic pattern of contraction followed by relaxation.
Since these exercises are done in the privacy of your own home, it is an excellent way to do something for yourself and not be concerned about what others may think or see.
These types of workouts help with bladder control, can reduce back pain from pregnancy, and prolapse during and after labor, which is a common issue many women experience after giving birth.
Watch this video to know more about this exercise:
Tai chi is a form of exercise that uses both body and mind to create harmony. It is an excellent way to improve balance, posture, or flexibility and promote relaxation, which can be difficult during pregnancy because of the high level of hormones being released in your body.
It has been shown through studies done on this topic that these types of exercises can help to reduce hypertension, improve mood and even lower the level of stress.
Since Tai Chi is a mindful practice, it can be done anywhere at any time, which gives pregnant women more flexibility in their schedules.
The best part about this type of exercise during pregnancy is that you will not need any equipment, just your body!
Watch this video and learn how to do it:
Quads, Hamstrings, And Glutes
This type of exercise can be done at any time and anywhere to help you stay fit.
This workout is recommended to start during the first trimester because it will get your body prepared for labor.
Quads, Hamstrings, and Glutes are a great way to tone these areas, which can lead to less pain after delivery and less risk for hemorrhoids.
If you are looking to improve your overall fitness level, this is a great workout!
Check the video to know more:
How Much Exercise Should You Do During Pregnancy?
The answer to this question is not clear. Some experts say that there's no need to exercise at all, while others recommend a moderate approach.
However, it should be noted that the intensity of exercise can affect how much weight you gain during pregnancy and even your baby’s size! It also determines what kind of position your baby is in when you deliver.
Some pregnant women are more active and need to do less or the same amount of exercise during pregnancy, while others may have to decrease their activity level, but it all depends on what your body can handle. It's important not to overdo things, so consult your doctor about the appropriate amount of exercise for you.
Does Pregnancy Affect Your Body During Exercise?
In a nutshell: The answer is yes, but not in the same ways you might think. It can be even easier for some women to exercise during pregnancy than before getting pregnant because they are fitter or less concerned about weight gain. For others, it’s harder than ever because of exhaustion and nausea.
Some women experience a slowing of the heart rate and breathing during exercise, called tachycardia. Though this is typically harmless, it can be alarming to new moms who haven’t experienced it before.
Exercising while pregnant is safe, except for some high-impact exercises. However, it’s important to discuss any physical limitations and exercise restrictions with your doctor before starting a new workout regimen.
When Should You Begin Exercising During Pregnancy?
Since pregnant women should exercise in the early stages of pregnancy, it is recommended that they start exercising during the first trimester. The best types of exercises for pregnant women are those that can be done at any time and in any place, such as walking, yoga, or even swimming.
Exercise is a great addition to your prenatal care and will help you stay in shape throughout pregnancy, lose weight after childbirth, have more energy during labor, manage stress levels better, and take care of other health issues that may arise while pregnant or postpartum. The rule of thumb is that exercise should be safe, doable, and enjoyable.
Remember to always consider what you think you are capable of and in consultation with your doctor to determine the appropriate amount of exercise.