Expecting mothers may want to spend the next nine months putting their feet up, but experts say regular exercise can boost your mood, increase energy and improve heart health. Issues like lower back pain, fatigue, constipation, morning sickness and even labor time could be reduced. A quicker postpartum recovery is also one benefit as well as a much easier transition to more intense workouts after having your baby.
With your body undergoing so many changes, committing to a regular routine may seem difficult, but there are exercises pregnant women can take on during any stage of their pregnancy. However, it’s best to check with your doctor before beginning any routine, as simple as they may seem. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, schedule three to four days of 30-minute workouts a week.
Walking is the easiest workout you could fit into your day no matter the stage of pregnancy you’re in. There’s no need for any equipment or gym trips, just a good pair of shoes appropriate for the task. Experienced runners can still continue running as long as you stick to a suitable intensity. An increase in core temperature is the main concern during the first trimester of pregnancy so be sure to keep hydrated and don’t exercise in conditions that are too hot.
Swimming is highly recommended because while you’re in water, your body weight is supported and it is gentle on your joints. It’s important to avoid diving or jumping in since your growing baby won’t be able to quickly adjust to a pressure under water and a change in altitude. Likewise, your centre of gravity may be off so you must also take care not to walk on slippery pool sides.
Expecting mothers may want to join dance and aerobic classes like Zumba. This is a great way to get the heart pumping and to meet fellow expecting mums! You may also be keen on yoga as long as you stick to more gentle poses. Yoga can also aid flexibility and mental clarity and focus. You can look for pre-natal yoga classes or ask your instructor to modify poses. Bikram (hot) yoga should be avoided since this could overheat the body. Other low-impact workouts pregnant women can take include Pilates and Tai Chi.
It’s generally recommended to not take on any exercise that you weren’t doing prior to becoming pregnant. Always remember to keep hydrated and avoid exercises that keep you on your back for too long as well as anything that requires intense bending, flexing, extending, jumping, bouncing and sudden or jerking motions.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you might be putting too much stress on your body and should contact your doctor: vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluids, difficult or uncomfortable breathing, heart palpitations or chest pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, sudden changes in temperature (clammy hands or overheating), swelling or pain in your ankles and calves, decreased fetal movement, blurred vision, and abdominal pain. If in doubt at all, consult your Doctor!