It’s a known fact that exercising during pregnancy can do wonders for you. Not only does it help you to battle with mood swings, but it also improves your sleep quality and reduces the pains and discomfort you might be facing. Exercising also helps to strengthen your muscles and hence prepare you for the most important milestone in your life – childbirth. Other than that, if you follow an exercise regime throughout your pregnancy, it will be easier for you to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape later.
Prenatal exercising also prevents gestational diabetes and other such ailments. But the catch here is that exercising should be moderate. If you are exercising about 20 to 30 minutes daily, you can manage your weight gain, heart rate and also prepare your body and muscles for delivery. But you must be careful and not choose high-intensity workout which can cause physical stress or injury to you or your baby.
Which Exercises Are Safe To Do During Pregnancy?
Usually, people think that there would be only some particular exercises which suit you in pregnancy. But the truth is that most of the exercises are safe to do if you are exercising with caution and with moderate intensity.
Safest and most beneficial activities include swimming, walking, aerobics (but low impact and under supervision of an instructor). These exercises have a low scope of causing you injury and impact your complete body. However, you must take care when you go to sports like tennis etc. Though these are safe sports, due to change in your body weight and balance, you could fall or injure yourself. Running/jogging also could be done but in moderation. So, let’s see which exercises are to be specifically avoided during pregnancy.
Exercises To Be Avoided During Pregnancy
- Avoid holding your breath for too long during any exercise, sport or Yoga
- Skiing, horse riding is unsafe as you might slip or fall
- Deep-sea walk or scuba diving can make you feel breathless, so avoid it
- Contact sports like football, volleyball, or basketball can injure you or your baby
- Heavy exercise with rapid movements, jumping, skipping, hopping etc should be avoided
- Sit-ups, bouncing while you are doing stretching is also a no-no
- Lying on the back or your right side after your third month should be completed avoided
- Do not exercise in hot and humid weather as that might make you breathless
12 Simple Pregnancy Exercises For Every Trimester
- Walking: Though walking is one of the simplest exercises, did you know that it’s an amazing cardiovascular exercise, especially for women who are expecting. Walking helps you keep fit and also don’t strain your joints, or knees and feet. Another advantage is that you do not need a particular environment to go for a walk. Just a good pair of walking shoes and it’s one of the safest exercises to do in all the months of your pregnancy.
- Swimming: Another safe exercise promoted by many fitness and health experts is swimming. This also is one of the best and safe bets for pregnant women. Swimming helps to tone your overall muscles and provides cardiovascular advantages. On the lighter side, it also helps to feel weightless though you have extra pounds during these months. Swimming also helps in reducing swelling, if any and helps to reduce lower back pain. So what are you thinking of? Go for a dip! It’s one of the safest to do while you are carrying as there are very fewer chances of injury or strain.
- Aerobics: These exercises help to strengthen and tone your overall body. Did you know that aerobics also takes care of your heart health? Yes, it’s a very good form of exercise for a healthy heart rate. However, pregnant women should join an aerobics class and do this exercise with a trained instructor. One, you’ll enjoy the company of other expecting moms and two, you will remain safe and avoid any chances of a strain or mishap.
- Running: Jogging is another excellent exercise for your body and heart. It is known to build endurance and strength during pregnancy. But you must be careful of the intensity of your running. If you’re a newbie, it’s better to start alternate days a week and at a slower pace. Choose shorter routes and then gradually increase the duration to a 30-minute run after you have built stamina.
- Yoga: This ancient Indian holistic art is amazing to tone your overall body and muscles. The best part is that Yoga not only helps your body but also calms your mind. Plus, there is no or very little impact on the joints. However, it’s advisable to try any new poses or breathing exercises under the supervision of a trained Yoga instructor.
- Stretching: Stretching is another great way to exercise and keep your body flexible. While stretching, you can relax your body and prevent joint or muscle strain. To get a complete workout, you could try out some stretching exercises to your cardiovascular regime.
- Weight training: This form of exercise too should be done with a trained expert. If you take all the precautions and do weight training in slow and controlled movements, it is a great exercise to tone your body and strengthen your entire muscles. This form of exercise also helps to build strength when you are pregnant and prepares you to lift your baby in the coming months.
- Deep breathing exercises: Pregnancy is surely one of the most difficult and taxing time for a woman. Deep breathing exercises help relax your mind and body and also increase your oxygen intake. If you do deep breathing throughout, it will be easier for you to prepare your body for labour. You do especially do deep breathing exercises when you are stressed. For example, during internal examinations, stress tests, blood tests or when you practice contractions. However, though Pranayama is safe, you must ensure to practice it with an expert or trained instructor, who is experienced with pre-natal Yoga. But remember not to take quick and forceful breaths while doing deep breathing. Bhastrika pranayama and Kapalabhati exercises are to be strictly avoided in pregnancy.
- Pilates: Pilates is another safe exercise during pregnancy. It is a perfect and low-impact workout because it helps to gain flexibility and prevents strain and back pain. It also helps to strengthen your pelvic floor and abs. Basic Pilates is advisable during pregnancy. You could do pelvic floor and abdominal contractions. But it is always advisable to do these exercises with a trained Pilates instructor and be cautious.
- Squats: Squats are very beneficial for both the mom-to-be and the baby.
- Squatting during pregnancy, labour and even while delivery helps open up the pelvis and makes the baby descend.
- Stretching: Stretching is good to maintain flexibility and ease out aches and pains that come along with pregnancy. It also helps you relax and remain stress-free. Stretching can be done daily as an exercise to warm up.
- Pelvic floor exercises: These exercises help in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. It’s good to prepare these muscles as they take a lot of strain during pregnancy and delivery. Performing pelvic floor exercises also helps to reduce stress incontinence post-pregnancy.
Exercises To Avoid During Pregnancy
- Rough contact sports such as soccer, football, basketball
- Fall or injury-prone activities
- Overdoing any exercise
- Bouncing or rough activities like kickboxing, martial arts
- Avoid places with too much heat
- Do not lie on your back
- High-altitude workouts or exercises are a complete no-no
- Deep-sea walk or exploration
So now you know that attempting these 12 exercises in moderation and under expert’s guidance is a good idea. But do remember to avoid the exercises which can put you or your pregnancy in trouble.