We just found out that I am pregnant, and my fiancé and I are over the top because we have tried to conceive for a long time. As much as I am super grateful, I am also dripping with anxiety about how my baby and I may best stay fit and healthy through my trimesters. I do expect to gain weight. However, it is as essential to be able to shed the extra weight after delivery. Some of my friends had to stop exercising due to complications while they were pregnant. Therefore, I started researching a suitable workout for pregnant women.
I double-checked with my obstetrician and mid-wife about what sort of exercise program I should follow during pregnancy. Your body goes through many changes in the process. Therefore it is crucial to adjust or alter your pre and post pregnancy exercise routine to assist your body through the pregnancy journey. Each person may have different needs and a specific workout when pregnant. It is best to consult a doctor, midwife, or doula before crafting your plan.
I’m sharing a few insights about the wonders of pre-pregnancy exercise; what workouts pregnancy allows women to continue being active and healthy, and which pregnant workout routines would not be a great idea during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, I also want to address four FAQ’s most moms-to-be are curious about.
During the time I was trying to conceive, I was advised by my healthcare provider that exercise could boost my chances of conceiving safely. There are so many key benefits of exercise while trying to conceive.
- Working out may boost your fertility.
- Doing intense exercise if you have a high BMI improves your chances of pregnancy, and helps to shed weight.
- Being active or working out before pregnancy and in the early stages of pregnancy can reduce the risks of having problems during pregnancy.
Many doctors I consulted and every new mummy I spoke to swore by pilates and yoga for pre and post-pregnancy workouts. It is an excellent way to ease into a fitness program if you have been a couch surfer. Pilates improves strength, stability, muscles, and, most importantly, works at your core strength and body awareness. It’s helpful to enhance the strength of the back muscles. As a huge yoga fanatic, I was more than happy when I heard that yoga and breathing exercises are a favorite among many before and after pregnancy as it involves centering your mind and body and releases a lot of stress during a very stressful period.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that the start date for you’re fitness plan solely depends on the type of pregnancy and delivery and the other surroundings factors. The general rule is that you can start working out when you feel ready, some may bounce back after a week or some months, but either time is okay and normal.
In the first trimester, I started taking things easy and did 30 minutes of brisk walking in our neighborhood park to get my heart rate up. Pregnancy is a period of many physical changes; therefore, when you do any activity, be mindful to identify if there are any unusual symptoms such as a rapid heart rate or bleeding. Anytime you are in doubt about unusual changes to your body during pregnancy, always get in touch with your obstetrician or midwife.
Contact sports, skiing, and activities that required to hold one’s breath for long periods like diving were red-flagged by my mid-wife. Don’t be disappointed by that because there is always some workout pregnancy allows one to do unless there are critical complications.
Now the pandemic does not give me many options for pregnancy exercise classes, and the nearest gym is miles out. I had to take a break from my usual past time rock climbing activities due to the risk of falling. So I opted for workouts that would not require too much equipment or machines, and that can be done in a smaller space.
I turned to YouTube for pregnancy exercise videos along with learning which exercises would help me with my back pain with the bump growing bigger. Now, remember, throughout pregnancy, we all gain pregnancy weight – which is healthy! It is much needed for your body to support and nourish your growing baby. The faster you accept it, the faster it is to love and take care of yourself during such stressful and tiring periods. It is not about how to lose fat but rather how you can make this the healthiest journey for you and your baby.
Pelvic floor training is advised as one of the best exercises for pregnancy. Strong pelvic floor muscles assist in the prevention of leaks, help the body curb with the growing weight of the baby, and improve your sex life. I noticed a significant improvement in my back pains when I started focusing on my pelvic floor muscles.
To maintain the muscles functioning well, make pelvic floor exercise part of your daily schedule. You may begin during your pregnancy and continue throughout your pregnancy and after. There is no right way of doing pelvic floor exercises. This is how I implemented the workout to my routine
• Sit and lean slightly forward keeping the back straight
• Squeeze the muscles and hold them as if you’re trying to stop peeing, as you continue to keep your back straight.
• Keep squeezing as you count to 8; take 8 seconds to relax.
• Do between 8 to 12 squeezes, as many times a day as you can.
• Continue breathing while doing the workout.
Gaining weight is a significant change during pregnancy, and I understand how weird it might feel if you are trying to fit into the norms of celebrity social media as I did at one point in my life. So understand that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be akin to the Instagram models but rather just concentrate on the general health care of yourself and the baby. Your body is a masterpiece, regardless of what size it is. As my baby keeps growing, I am starting to realize the fantastic nature of the female body.
FAQ’s: Pregnancy Exercise
What kinds of exercises are safe during pregnancy?
Most workouts are safe to do during pregnancy as long as you’re working out with caution and do not overdo it. Swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, and low – impact aerobics are safe. Tennis and racquetball are generally safe, although shifts in the body’s’ center of gravity during pregnancy may impact fast movements.
Certain exercises such as jogging can be undertaken in moderation, especially if you were doing it before conception. You may want to consider workouts or activities not involving great balance or coordination, especially in later stages of the pregnancy.
Always double-check with your health care provider if you’re in doubt.
What is the best exercise for pregnancy?
Exercise enhances mental and physical well-being. Many health authorities recommend that expectant mothers get at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity, low – impact exercise every week. Activities, such as cycling, yoga, and swimming, appear to be healthy at any point in pregnancy.
Working out is hands down one of the best things a person can do for themselves and the baby. Physical activity has been linked to a wide range of health benefits for pregnant women. A person who regularly exercises during pregnancy may less likely require a cesarean delivery.
In the first trimester, try to establish good exercise habits progressively. The correct amount of exercise would depend on how active a woman was before she was pregnant.
Can you do squats while pregnant?
Here are a few forms of squats that are working wonders for me;
Body Weight Squats: The weight of your body during pregnancy will give you enough resistance to exercise effectively. By holding dumbbells in each hand, or setting a barbell over your shoulders, you can always add a bit of extra weight to your squat exercise schedule.
Sumo squats: This variation of the squat targets the inner thighs and glutes muscles. It’s a great stretch to open up the hip area and strengthen the back. During pregnancy, your joints are more flexible, so keep in mind stretching too far makes it easy to strain yourself.
Chair squats: This exercise is an amazing modification for women who have compromised balance during pregnancy.
Squats are an ideal resistance workout throughout pregnancy and help to maintain the strength and range of motion in the muscles of the legs, glutes, heart, and pelvic floor. Squats may also enhance flexibility when done correctly, so they have the ability to assist in the process of labor.
In order to be effective, squats don’t have to be carried out with weight. If you are having a healthy pregnancy, you can do it through all three trimesters. Again check with your doctor first before doing any new exercise routine during pregnancy.
Can I start exercising during pregnancy?
If you’ve never worked out regularly before, after consulting with your health care provider, you should safely initiate an exercise program during pregnancy, but don’t try a new, intensive exercise. When pregnant, walking is considered a safe place to begin.
(ACOG) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had advised that women who did not exercise before pregnancy should start. They mentioned many advantages of having an exercise routine while pregnant. After conception, exercise during pregnancy may also help you bounce back quicker.
Who should not exercise when pregnant?
If you’ve had a medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, it may not be recommended to do exercise. Exercise can also be dangerous if you have any conditions related to pregnancy, such as:
• Bleeding or spotting during exercise
• A Low placenta
• History of miscarriage
• History of premature births or early labor
• Weak cervix
Your energy level could vary each day enormously because as your baby grows and pushes up on your chest, as you workout, you can find a reduced ability to breathe in some more air. If your body tells you to, “Stop!” that is a very good sign to stop!
Your body is indicating that it’s had enough if you start feeling:
• like your heart is pounding hard in your chest
• shortness of breath
• pain in your pelvis or back
And if while you’re walking if you can’t talk, you ‘re pushing it way past the limit recommended as safe.
Is it safe to work out during the summer?
It’s not at all good for your baby if you get burned up because temperatures above 102.6 ° F (39 ° C) could cause developmental problems with the developing fetus — especially in the first weeks of pregnancy. So don’t overdo your workout on a hot day.
Do not resort to exercising outdoors during the hottest part of the day (from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) during extremely hot weather or exercise at an air-conditioned spot. Note that swimming makes it harder for you to notice the heating of your body because the water leaves you feeling cooler.
Embrace the pregnancy journey, eat healthy as much as possible, read up on what exercises should be avoided during pregnancy and stay tuned for more tips on how to get through the precious nine months of your life.