Some may stop exercising when they become pregnant with the notion of protecting their baby, but working out during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial.
Working out boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces aches and pains during pregnancy. It prepares your muscles to handle the physical demands of pregnancy and the postpartum period.
An ideal workout gets your heart pumping while keeping you agile and helps in managing your weight gain. It also prepares expectant mums for childbirth by strengthening muscles; a stronger core typically makes it easier to push the baby out during delivery. Being in better shape helps mums to recover after the child is born as well.
Exercise is so beneficial that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies aim to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day with moderate intensity on most or all days of the week.
Trainers also advise mums-to-be to join groups, in order to motivate each other to exercise, especially since pregnancy can be an extremely tiring process. As such, pregnant women could do with the support from each other.
Cardio classes can help improve blood flow around the body, getting your body pumped up and moving to lessen the nausea and morning sickness that pregnant women usually encounter during this phase.
Pregnant women can attempt cardio exercises like aerobics, dancing, walking or swimming during the first trimester.
Fitness experts also frequently endorse swimming as the best and safest exercise for expectant mothers. It exercises large muscle groups, provides cardiovascular benefits, reduces swelling, and allows you to feel weightless despite all the extra pounds – which can be a relief for women with lower back pain.
Mums-to-be can safely continue their exercise routine like weight-training, yoga, swimming, and running in the second trimester, but avoid those marathons!
During this phase, your body starts to produce the hormone relaxin, which loosens joints in preparation for labour and delivery. However, this also places you at a greater risk for injury like sprains and strains. Thus, it is important to take extra care when stretching or carrying out other activities that can increase stress on your joints.
Some women continue to exercise till the end of the pregnancy, but this varies with each individual. Depending on how you feel, you may want to cut down or stop exercising. However, note that the better shape you are in, the easier labour should be.
Towards the later pregnancy phase, when the mum-to-be has a heavier physical condition, exercise routines should be focused on strengthening the core muscles and breathing to prepare the body for upcoming childbirth.
During the third trimester, expecting mothers can try swimming, walking, or reclining exercise bikes.