Is it safe for pregnant women to exercise?
This is one of the most common questions that pop into people’s mind when they see a pregnant woman working out.
The answer to that question is: Yes, it is very safe and beneficial for pregnant women to exercise. Unless the pregnancy is high-risk and you are advised by your doctor, pregnant women are encouraged to live an active lifestyle while pregnant.
Gone are the days that pregnant women are treated like porcelain and are forbidden to lift a muscle, or even do household chores.
Below are some benefits that you will get from exercising while pregnant:
- Improves your mood and increases your energy
- Improves your posture
- Reduces constipation, back pain, swelling and bloating
- Improves quality of sleep
- Improves your strength and endurance, in preparation of your labor.
Here are a few of the best exercises for pregnant women:
1. Brisk Walking
Many healthcare providers advise pregnant women to do regular brisk walking, especially during the third trimester.
Turns out, brisk walking is one of the easiest yet most effective exercises for pregnant women. You don’t need any equipment or instructor to do this exercise, just a good pair of running shoes and you’re good to go.
No matter how simple this exercise may sound, don’t underestimate its benefits though. Brisk walking helps you develop muscle tone AND a healthy heart. It will also help you avoid excessive weight gain as you burn calories. Walking can help lower the risk of developing preeclampsia or gestational diabetes as it helps you maintain your weight and improves fitness levels.
It can also help you avoid constipation and help you have an easier labor. As an added bonus, brisk walking post-pregnancy will help you lose your extra baby weight.
2. Wall Push Ups
If you want a strong upper body and abdominal muscles, you should do push-ups regularly. It’s a safe exercise for pregnant women, plus you will reap a lot of benefits from them. Having strong abdominal muscles is important to help you with your growing bump and an easier labor. It will also help you bounce back faster after your delivery.
Amongst different types of push-ups, wall push-ups are the most comfortable for your expanding belly.
- Stand straight with your body facing the wall.
- Lift your arms to shoulder height, stand at an angle from the wall, and put your palms flat on the wall.
- Move your body forward while feet inched backward until both of your heels are lifted off the floor.
- Slowly move yourself lower toward the wall, bending your elbows. Back and neck should be kept straight and head aligned.
- Return to the starting position by pushing yourself back up slowly.
- Do up to 15 repetitions.
Squats are one of the most versatile exercises for building lower body strength (and pelvic floor strength) – with different variations and equipment to choose from such as kettle bells, dumbbells, or resistance bands. You can even do it without any equipment at all.
Performing squats is an important exercise for pregnant women. It helps you in opening up your pelvis which is crucial during labor and delivery. Try to incorporate squats into your daily exercise routine and you will reap the benefits not just during your pregnancy, but post-pregnancy as well.
Below are the types of squats that you can perform:
- Bodyweight squats
- Sumo squats
- Squats against the wall using exercise ball
- Deep squat hold
- Chair squats
4. Stationary Cycling
If you’ve been cycling for quite a while, you don’t need to stop it just because you got pregnant.
Riding a stationary bike is safe during your pregnancy, but there are a few things to consider when doing cycling.
You should choose a bike that has a comfortable seat. Select a recumbent bike that comes with cushioned pedals and back if you have back pain. It’s also great if you the bike comes with a heart rate monitor.
Swimming doesn’t just benefit you during pregnancy, but your baby as well. Below are the reasons why you should include swimming in your exercise routine:
- It works both your arms and legs
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight
- It reduces swelling in your legs and arms
- It helps reduce back strain caused by a heavier belly
20-30 minutes of swimming every day can do wonders for you and your baby. To avoid accidents, wear nonslip footwear when walking on wet surfaces and be cautious when getting out of the pool.
These give exercises can increase your chances of a having a healthy, fit pregnancy. Don’t forget - a strong and healthy mommy is important in order to develop a strong and healthy baby.
Author Bio: Ryan Varela is the CEO of Boost Health Insurance which provides customized and affordable health care plans for thousands of customers across the United States. Ryan has nearly a decade of experience in the health care industry and continues to serve the greater need to educate and deliver access to affordable options to those who need health care the most.