As an expectant mother you’ll leave no stone unturned to have a hassle free pregnancy and a healthy baby. Exercise is the first step towards a healthy pregnancy and it is the best you can do for yourself and your baby. Proper physical activity will in fact help prevent common discomforts like back pain and sleeping disorders. But always consult your doctor before starting any sort of exercise during pregnancy.
Here are a few suggested physical activities which have proven to be highly effective in providing fitness to a pregnant woman and the fetus.
- Regular Swimming
Swimming is considered the best form of exercise for pregnant woman, since it works subtly on the joints and relieves most of the aches and pains. After a swimming session you’ll feel lightness in your body and a feel happier, this is very good for the growing baby.
- Prenatal Yoga
Yoga though generally good should be carefully done during pregnancy under the guidance of a yoga teacher. Handpicked yoga exercises for pregnant woman usually strengthens the back the muscles, eases back pain and gives relaxation to the body and mind. In fact yoga is found to make labor shorter and more comfortable. Avoid vigorous yoga exercise and after the first trimester don’t lie on the back.
- Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling on a stationary bike is a good way to boost the heart rate without putting too much of pressure on the joints. It is also safer than any other outdoor activity. You can always raise the handle bar and adjust the cycle as your belly grows.
- Strength Training (weights)
If you were using weights for strength training before the pregnancy then it is best that you continue with it, till you feel like and stop as soon as you feel any discomfort. This sort of mild weight training helps tone up your body. Take care not to lie on your back while exercising.
- Daily Walking
Walking is generally one such exercise that does not have any barriers of age, sex or motivation. It is a simple pursuit with lots of benefits. Pregnant woman can easily take to walking in the early stages of pregnancy and can continue till the date of pregnancy. A brisk walk at a steady pace for three days a week is suggested. It is one exercise that helps tone muscles and improves the mood.
- Lighter Aerobics
Pregnant woman should take up lighter or low impact aerobics under the guidance of a trained teacher. Aerobics generally helps tone the body, make heart and lungs stronger and makes you feel good after every session.
- Do the Abdominals
Exercising your abs will soothe aching backs and prevent from getting the ‘sway back’ posture which happens due to a heavier uterus. There are two best abdominal exercises, the Kneeling Pelvic Tilt is done by standing on fours on the floor, then tighten the abdominal muscles and then gently arch towards the ceiling, take care the belly does not sag. The Standing Pelvic Tilt is done standing you’re your back against a wall with the feet couple of inches out. Tighten the stomach and buttock muscles then push the lower back towards the wall.
- Start Stretching
Doing stretches strengthens the pelvic, hip and thigh muscles and tackles back pain. The Sitting Stretch is done by sitting with the knees bent and ankles crossed. Now, lean forward slowly keeping your back straight. The second exercise is also a sitting one with knees bent and soles of the feet touching each other. Place the hands under the knees and press the knees against the hand and similarly press the hand against the knees. Hold the position for few seconds and then release.
- Lift Your Mood
The mood swings of the mother, affects her pregnancy health as well as the health and mental wellbeing of the baby. Exercise of any sort helps lift the spirits. It floods the body with feel good brain chemicals like endorphins. Exercise prevents mood swings, depression and anxiety while giving self confidence.
- Time It Perfectly
If 30 minutes of continuous exercise is not your cup of brew then think of splitting up the session into two 15 minute session or three 10 minute session. You should always warm up before the session and try cooling down for some time after the session. Make it a habit to listen and watch your body, if you feel fatigue or off colour, take some rest and make the session easier the next time over.