When you're pregnant your back might ache, your ankles might swell, and there could be trouble sleeping as well. And let's just pretend there is no bloating or constipation. If only pregnant women had something they could use to minimize the pain. Well, there is - exercise! Working out as a mom-to-be has lots of benefits - from boosting your mood, to a reducing fatigue and morning sickness.
Working out as a pregnant mother is also perfectly safe, but you should get an ok from your practitioner before you get started.
How Much Exercise Should I Get?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), moms-to-be should get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. A lot of things count as that '30 minutes' as long as it gets your heart pumping. It could be 30 minutes on the treadmill or riding a bike at the gym - or some of the other workouts listed below!
What Are the Best Cardio Exercises I Can Do While I'm Pregnant?
Cardio exercises are known for muscle toning and increasing blood circulation which is quite beneficial for an expecting mother and her baby. While you can find some great cardio workouts online via exercise videos there are also some other great options! Here are some of the best cardio exercises that you can participate in while pregnant.
Depending on your condition, swimming and water aerobics might be perfect for you. On the water, you tend to weigh less than you would on land which makes your workout low-impact, which is quite beneficial to your body. A dip in the pool can also reduce any nausea or puffy ankles that might have developed as a result of your pregnancy. When you swim as an expectant mother, you have your baby floating along with you, which reduces the pressure on your joints and ligaments. A win all around!
This is a no-brainer as there are no simpler exercises for a busy mom than walking. You can walk all day till your delivery date, and even on the day of delivery walking can help relieve contractions. What's more? It's easy to do and you don't need any equipment or help from an external body to walk. Walking also has a ton of benefits for pregnant women.
If you think walking is too slow, you might try running. You can run on the track if you stick to a level terrain, or using a treadmill. Just make sure you never overdo it. Running can get harder as you have loose ligaments and pains on your joints. Exerting too much pressure might make you more prone to injuries. Some women find it helpful to wear a maternity support garment when running to help hold everything in place and reduce pain.
- Ellipticals and Stair Climbers
Both equipment are great for an expectant mother. You have to adjust the speed, incline, and tension, so it stays comfortable (yet still challenging) for you to use. Keep in mind that as you get closer to your delivery date, resistance might be harder for you. When you notice this, listen to your body and pay closer attention to where you step to avoid stumbles as you exercise.
- Group Dance
Group dance workouts like Zumba are great workouts that can help pump endorphins into your body and increase your heart rate. This might be difficult for some pregnant women depending on how much their belly has expanded, which would make activities that require careful balance more difficult.
- Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling can be a great exercise for a mom-to-be especially if you have been cycling before pregnancy. Indoor cycling for a pregnant woman allows her to cycle at her pace without necessarily putting pressure on the ankles or knee joints. Make sure your instructor doesn't rush you in the class, which means you have to tell them you're expecting. The handlebars should be adjusted so they sit upright and not leaning forward as the default setting which could cause more pressure on your lower back.
- Weight Lifting
You might be wondering if it's possible to engage in strength and flexibility training while pregnant. It is! Strength workouts help you build and maintain your muscles which is the structure you need to carry the weight gained during pregnancy as well as provide support that protects your joints and ligaments from injury.
One of the easiest ways of increasing your muscle tone is by lifting weights. When you're expecting, opt for more reps but go with a lesser weight than usual. You might also want to use machines which reduces your chances of getting injuries. Also, try to skip exercises were you have to hold still for a long period. Doing this could lead to being lightheaded or worse if you mistakenly forget to breathe.
For more great exercises and workouts for pregnant moms, check out the rest of our blog!