We all differ from each other, but one thing that we have in common is the fact that exercise keeps us healthy. Generally, when they are expecting, women tend to fear working out as they view the exercises as being dangerous for the unborn life growing inside of them. However, this is a common misconception that needs to go away for the sake of the baby as well as the mom. As a matter of fact, exercising during pregnancy, throughout all trimesters, benefits you greatly not only in the sense that you preserve a fit and toned appearance, but in many other ways as well.
Did you know that pregnancy depression can be easily combated and even prevented altogether through exercise? The same goes for sleep disorders that unfortunately accompany this period of your life, being completely eliminated through a simple regular sweat session. Another outstanding benefit of exercising when pregnant is that you avoid an unplanned C-section. These are only a few of the benefits that accompany pregnancy workout sessions in addition to the aforementioned fact that you get to stay fit and look your best even when your belly is growing at a rapid pace.
Safety issues and proper practices
Obviously, your safety and the integrity of the life you are carrying in your womb is what concerns you most, and while exercising is recommended by all doctors for pregnant women, you have to follow certain guidelines to make sure that you won’t accidentally cause any harm. If you take good care of yourself and stay fit properly, you won’t only look good throughout the trimesters, but you will be able to take care of the baby after giving birth as well, not feeling drained and powerless.
Tips to maximize results and ensure yours and the baby’s safety
- Monitor the intensity of the sessions and stop as soon as you feel tired
- Practice only exercises that feel comfortable – sitting in discomforting positions could end up hurting you.
- Wear proper gear that provides support for your back, stomach, and hips.
- As you start to gain weight, remember that your center of gravity will shift forward, affecting your balance – avoid performing exercises that require stability during the last 3-4 months.
- Make sure you protect your knees and ankles as, during pregnancy, these joints are more susceptible to injuries due to the release of relaxin in your body.
- Avoid rapid position changes during your last two trimesters, as they cause dizziness.
- Don’t do heavy lifting – stick to light weights that you can integrate in pregnancy-friendly exercises.
- Focus on maintaining your fitness level rather than improving it – there is enough time to burn fat drastically after you give birth.
Schedule and routines for each trimester
Each pregnancy stage comes with its own set of “surprises” for the expecting mother, and dramatic changes occur on a physical and emotional level. With each trimester, there are shifts in the way your body looks and how you feel, and you have to abide and listen to your body, limit yourself to what you can safely do in order to stay fit without taking any risks.
In the inception of the pregnancy, you should start off with a low level of exertion, and work your way up to a full 30-minute routine that you take up 3-5 times per week. Ideally, you should work out with a trainer if you plan on focusing on fitness more than cardio, but as long as you stay in-between certain limits and not push yourself too hard, you should be fine even if you work out at home.
- Pilates: It helps improve balance and atone lower back pain, so Pilates is a mandatory practice to take up. The light equipment and floor exercises typical with it help build core muscles without focusing on strength, not putting any pressure on your body. However, do make sure you avoid poses that can lead to diastasis recti.
- Water exercises: Whether you take up swimming or actual exercises in the pool, the low-impact exercise that comes along with working out in water is ideal in your situation. You build up core strength in a pregnancy-friendly manner, and you get to relax mentally as this is a soothing environment.
- Walking: A simple stroll around the neighborhood, in a close park, or anywhere you want for that matter can help you stay fit as your belly inevitably grows. As you get to breathe in clean, fresh air, there are countless benefits that come with taking a daily 30-minute walk outdoors.
- Yoga: When practiced properly, by avoiding poses that put you in improper positions, like backbends or abdomen twists, yoga provides a hearty workout for the entire body. Not only does it help you stay fit and look good, but it helps you relieve stress, be better prepared for the grand event that awaits you in the near future, and fight off any depression symptoms that usually accompany expectancy
- Walk: Walk on a flat route at a normal speed for about 10 minutes, and then look for a small hill that has a maximum incline of 45 degrees. Walk up and down the hill for another 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of walking the flat route, and try to pick up your pace as you go without straining yourself too much.
- Stationary bike: If you have one at home, be thankful. Get on the bike, and pedal at a slow pace for 5 minutes to warm up. Afterward, pick up your pace once every 2 minutes until you reach the 25-minute mark. In the end, cool down by slowly pedaling another 5 minutes
- Pushup: If you do it on an inclined surface, even the pushup is a pregnancy-friendly exercise. Put your hands on a bench to make lifting your body weight easier and not stress yourself too much, and lower your body until your chest is close to touching the bench. If you can do so without straining yourself, take a pause where you plank for a few seconds when you have your hands fully stretched again. About 3 sets lasting 60 seconds each should suffice.
- Braced squat: Keep your hands in front of your body in a straight line, and in them, hold a light weight plate. Lower your body into the squat position as much as you can, without forcing your hips or back. Pause in the square position for a couple of seconds, and push yourself back. Three sets of 12 repetitions each are more than enough to keep you fit and toned.
This is the period where you have to be more cautious than ever as you work out as it will be harder than ever to maintain balance. Whatever you do, avoid activities that involve actions like bouncing, jumping, skipping, and hopping.
- Pool Zumba: The dance session and the added resistance of practicing it underwater makes pool Zumba a fun and proficient exercise for staying fit during the third trimester. Take a class as there are more than enough women who enjoy this activity, and you will get to socialize with other expecting mothers in addition to keeping up your looks.
- Walking: Obviously, walking for at least 30 minutes per day is the ideal workout regardless of the month you are in. If you feel like you can take it, you can even jog at a light pace as long as you avoid exerting yourself.
- Yoga: As long as the poses you take up don’t put you in uncomfortable positions, you can practice yoga from the first day you learn that you are pregnant until the very last week before you give birth. As with pool Zumba, there are special classes for expecting mothers, and you can always go in order to receive instruction regarding proper posture and what poses you are OK to perform.