Pregnancy is an unforgettable, life-changing experience. The creation of another human life inside your body is both delightful and empowering. You may flutter through different stores looking for the perfect baby items while waiting for your adorable bundle of joy to arrive. While the good news might change your whole life around, you should prioritize staying active for the next nine months.
During pregnancy, a woman body goes under several changes that can push them to the edge. Incorporating a safe workout routine during these times has many advantages.
Benefits of Exercising:
People's common perception of exercise revolves around the idea that it helps them lose weight to fit into old pairs of jeans or prevent diseases like diabetes. These are perfectly valid reasons to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Yet, staying active during pregnancy has other agendas, including but not limited to avoiding complications.
Research at NCBI involving over 2000 women highlighted that working out contributes significantly to the well-being of both mother and child during pregnancy.
Another research brought focus on the following positive effects of exercising in pregnant women:
- Reduces risk of gestational diabetes mellitus
- Prevents hypertension and preeclampsia
- Averts maternal-fetal circulation and fetal growth
- Alleviates prenatal depression
- Lowers labour pain to improve delivery
- Avoids excessive weight gain
- Lowers birth weight
Regular exercising during pregnancy also proves to be helpful in:
- Maintaining physical fitness
- Reducing low back pain (hello, growing tummy!)
- Reducing unnecessary stress
- Improving postpartum recovery
- Boosting your mood
- Improving Body Balance
- Maintaining blood pressure
- Fighting fatigue
- Relieving constipation
- Easing pelvic pain
Is Exercise Safe For You and Your Baby?
The answer to this question largely depends upon your current fitness levels, overall health, and your pregnancy stage. So if all this is well and you feel up for it health-wise, you can start exercising regularly at home or the gym under a trained instructor. Although gyms are convenient since there are plenty of options in cardio machines and strength equipment, you can always set up a home gym to dodge the travel time and workout from the comfort of your home.
With plenty of science-backed researches to bust the myths of prenatal exercises causing miscarriage or any complication in your pregnancy, you have nothing to worry about. "There is no real evidence that exercise is linked to miscarriage" says Bruce K. Young, MD, co-author of Miscarriage, Medicine & Miracles (Bantam) and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at New York University School of Medicine.
If you are looking for options that can help you keep calm and stay active, then we have got you covered. From cardio to strength training and stretching, we have prepared a list of the best prenatal exercises for pregnant women.
Safe Pregnancy Exercises At Home:
While exercising, in general, is a great idea to undertake during pregnancy, not all workouts are best for your body during this stage. Nevertheless, with some modification and scaling, there are various types of exercises that you can safely continue throughout each semester.
Keeping this in mind, here are few safety tips that you should follow when exercising during pregnancy.
- Consult your doctor before trying any workout routine.
- Always remain hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after doing exercise.
- Wear breathable and supportive clothes like a sports bra and belly band.
- Try to maintain your body temperature, especially in your first trimester.
- While in your third trimester, avoid laying on your back for a longer time.
- Avoid exercise sessions involving hot yoga and contact sports.
Recommended First Trimester Exercises:
The first three months of pregnancy brings a wave of emotions. As time and energy will be the two biggest hurdles of this period, this first-trimester workout with an energizing strength routine will give you a full-body tone up.
Squat and Press
Stand up with your feet slightly apart and hold a hex dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chest up and core tight and lower yourself into a squat position keeping your booty back and thighs as parallel to the ground as possible.
Grab a hex dumbbell, stand with your feet slightly apart and bend your elbow to bring the dumbbell toward your shoulders. After 3 to 5 seconds, lower down the weights.
Reverse Lunge and curl
Hold a hex dumbbell in both hands. Now step your right leg back and lower down until your leg is bend at 90 degrees and your back is hovering above the ground. Curl your hex dumbbell to your chest when you are about to stand up. Switch sides and repeat.
Single Arm Row & Tricep Kickback
Start by placing your left foot in front of your right, with your left knee slightly bent. With your right arm stretched toward the ground, hold a hex dumbbell in your right hand. Keep your elbow close to your side as you row the dumbbell up to chest height, then stretch your arm straight behind you.
Begin on your hands and knees, with your back flat. As you extend your left arm in front of you, extend your right leg straight behind you.
Side Plank Crunch
In a modified side plank position, keep your left knee on the ground, and your right leg stretched in front of you. Raise your right arm straight overhead as you contract your obliques. Bring your right elbow to reach your right knee. Return and repeat.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart. With your lower back resting on the rear of your pelvis, create a small space. Close the openings gently to perform a Kegel contraction. Inhale, relax the abdominals and exhale to repeat the compression.
Recommended Second Trimester Exercises:
The second-trimester pregnancy exercises focus on postural muscle strengthening so you can stay strong, aligned, and pain-free through the nine months.
Curl & Press
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a hex dumbbell at your sides. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height while keeping your chest upright, then push them overhead. Now repeat the same for sculpted biceps and shoulders.
Stand with your knees bent and a hex dumbbell in each hand. Maintain a flat back by leaning forward at the waist. Lift both arms to the sides, keeping the elbows bent slightly and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return the dumbbells to their starting position with control.
Single Arm Row
Place your left foot in front of your right, with your left knee slightly bent. With your right arm stretched toward the ground, grip a hex dumbbell in your right hand. Keep your elbow folded close to your side as you row the hex dumbbell up to chest height. Return and repeat.
Stand tall and hold a hex dumbbell in each hand. Raise your right arm to shoulder height in front of you, then return to the starting position. Repeat the same with your left arm.
Lay on your stomach, then push yourself up onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips. As you inhale, pull in your abs and slowly drop your chest toward the floor. Exhale as you press back up.
Side-lying leg lifts
Lie on your right side, knees bent and stacked on top of each other. Lift yourself off the floor slightly to create a small gap between your hips and the ground. Try to ensure that you do not lose the small gap between your waist and the floor as you lift your leg.
Sit on the ground with your knees bent or folded and your feet pointed to the right. You should feel a stretch on the left side. For right-side discomfort, reverse the directions. Stretch both sides.
Recommended Third Trimester Exercises:
Having a good butt and legs is essential during the third trimester to aid a healthier delivery. During the third trimester, your body will essentially slow down to prepare for labour and childbirth. That makes the third trimester an excellent time to concentrate on cardiovascular activities while maintaining mobility and abdominal strength.
Single Leg Deadlift
Hold hex dumbbells in both hands and stand with your feet close to each other. Switch your weight to your left foot, keeping your knee bent. Maintain a straight back and lower your torso to the ground, extending the dumbbells toward your standing foot as your right leg stretches directly behind you. Drive up to standing by engaging your butt and core.
Stand with your feet together, legs extended forward, and hex dumbbells at your sides. Take a big step to the right while sitting back in your hips and straightening your left leg. Return and repeat on the other side.
Tabletop Hip Lift
Initiate on your hands and knees, extending your right leg straight behind you, toe lightly laying on the ground. Lift your right leg to hip height and then lower it, keeping your back flat.
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out, a dumbbell in both hands, and arms extended down in front of you. Lower straight down, keeping your chest tall and your core engaged until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground.
Side Plank and leg lift
Begin this pregnancy exercise by propping yourself up on your left hand in a modified side plank posture, with your left knee on the ground, and your right leg stretched out straight. As you contract your obliques, lift your right leg to hip height.
Straight arm tricep kickbacks
Start this workout by exhaling and engaging your triceps by straightening your elbows. Keep your upper arms still and only move your forearm. Take a pause and then return to your initial position.
Begin on all fours with one arm extended and the opposite leg straight and strong in line with your torso. Return to your starting posture and repeat on the other side for 3-5 seconds.
Proceed with your elbows just beneath your shoulders and knees just under your hips. Raise your right leg to the ceiling by extending it straight behind you. Tap your right foot as far as possible while maintaining a straight leg. Raise your right leg to the top and tap as far to the left as possible.
Some additional strength and flexibility exercises:
The idea of working out during pregnancy might not be fascinating to all. For those women who despise the thought of workouts, we have some simple physical activities that will benefit their bodies and reduce the risk of injury.
- Low-intensity weight training
- Group dance or aerobics classes
- Indoor cycling
Despite the large variety of health benefits that exercise brings to a pregnant woman's life, there are certain cases where it would not be wise to continue.
When to avoid exercising?
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should stop exercising:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Calf pain or swelling
- Chest pain
- Preterm labour
- Decreased fetal movement
- Leakage of amniotic fluid
- Dyspnoea before physical activity
Now, with some of the best pregnancy exercises for you to perform at home, you can efficiently maintain the physical and mental well-being of you and your baby. Above all else, we recommend that you consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. It is always wise to listen to your body and cease the activities if you feel discomfort or pain.
Happy pregnancy, ladies!