Pregnancy-exercise-2

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Is there anything that yoga can’t do? Not only is prenatal yoga good for you, but it’s also great for your baby! There are many institutions all over the country which offer great yoga classes for you and your unborn baby – with stellar results.

Prenatal yoga is divided into three different levels – one for the first-trimester, second and then the third and final trimester just before the baby is due. Below you can find just a few ways prenatal yoga is good for you and your baby, and how to get started.

RELATED: What is Laughter Yoga?

Not only does it help you stay in shape during your pregnancy, yoga also keeps your muscles nice and toned, improves circulation in the body, and helps with a variety of breathing exercises that will keep you calm and centred during labor.

One of the first steps of any yoga classes doesn’t actually focus on the arms or legs at all – instead it teaches you ujjayi. This technique means that you breathe in through your nose and completely exhale through your mouth, leaving your stomach to decompress.

Yoga tips

First-trimester

  • Before you embark on your first ever prenatal yoga class, it’s a great idea to drink a lot of water. Sometimes yoga can feel physically exerting, so it’s always good to keep your body hydrated. 
  • Take a deep breath after every movement. With each class, this will be easier to remember, and soon you’ll find your body just does it naturally after every rhythm.

Best yoga position: Side-lying position

This is one of the best positions to end a class, and is suitable for women in their first, second or third trimester. Feel free to take as long as you want with this position, and practice breathing.

Second-trimester

  • Your instructor will let you know which poses to avoid, and which to embrace since your joints will begin to loosen up due to pregnancy. As a general rule you should avoid lying on your back, since the weight of the baby isn’t comfortable and it could block blood flow.
  • Don’t rush into every position. Remember to take your time and listen to your body. If you feel extremely strained and tired, it’s best to take a break and ease back into the position later on.

Best yoga position: Cat Cow

This position is perfect for women who are in the early stages of their pregnancy. The exercise focuses on stretching the back muscles, and relieving any tight back pain.

Third-trimester

  • If you’re well into your trimester, you may feel that your sense of balance is compromised, and it’s harder to perform some of the standard poses. Use a chair to keep your balance, and remember to go slow and don’t rush into anything.
  • It’s important to keep your body moving, so don’t hold poses for a prolonged period of time.
  • Focus on breathing exercises which will help you in labor. Sometimes this could mean just reinforcing the ujjayi technique over and over again.

Image via Fitta Mamma

October 14, 2014

The Best New Pregnancy Exercise DVDs

Whether you workout at the gym, or at home, it’s important for pregnant women to find the right pregnancy exercise for them. With prenatal workout DVDs, you can exercise at any time with trained professionals that work within specific trimesters. We look at the best new pregnancy exercise DVDs from celebrity trainers to prenatal fitness experts.

Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project
Tracy Anderson is the celebrity trainer to the stars (and Gwyneth Paltrow’s business partner). She recently released Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project for a total of nine workouts that focus on each month of the pregnancy.

A pregnant Anderson does all the exercises for the DVD set, which also contains interviews with doctors and a nutrition plan for mums-to-be. Anderson has a really encouraging manner that you’ll enjoy working out to. She suggests doing the exercises five to six times a week, but as long as you can fit it into your schedule, you’ll benefit from this DVD.

hilariabaldwindvd

Home with Hilaria Baldwin: Fit Mommy-to-be Prenatal Yoga
Hilaria Baldwin (yep, Alec’s wife) is a professional yoga instructor who teaches prenatal yoga movements. Her new DVD aims to keep the expectant mother active until delivery with exercises for each trimester. A bonus feature is available with partner stretches, featuring her famous hubbie.

Within each of the three whole body segments, the workouts focus on easing aches and pains with improved posture and alignment through toning of the muscles. In the second workout, the hips are opened to prepare for delivery and alleviate any pain that is experienced. Finally, Hilaria finishes with a workout that promotes relaxation for reduced tension to ensure a successful delivery with less discomfort involved.  

pilatesdvd

Pilates-4-Pregnancy
For pregnant women who want to stay active and maintain their physique during their pregnancy, this DVD offers effective core strength and stability exercises. At just under an hour’s length, the video is easy to follow. The matwork exercises accommodate a growing belly for a comfortable workout that doesn’t feel too strenuous.

Pilates experts Jennifer Kutch and Julie Clark perform modified Pilates exercises to lengthen and strengthen the muscles. It also focuses on breathing pattern to help the mother relax and stay comfortable during her pregnancy and childbirth.

mammadvd

Can’t Stop The Mamma: Prenatal Workouts For The Active Woman
Perhaps one of the most versatile pregnancy exercise DVDs on the market, Can’t Stop The Mamma is a well-rounded program that works to maintain every part of the body. Fitness expert Katalin Rodriguez-Orgen leads six different segments that are safe for both the mother and baby.

The DVD focuses on cardio, flexibility, sculpting, toning, and strengthening of the pelvic floor. Yoga Pilates is also incorporated with a gentle blend of kung fu and tai chi movements – don’t worry, no ninja moves here!

What pregnancy exercises did you enjoy the most?

January 30, 2014

Pregnancy Exercise You Can Do At Home

Looking for the right exercises to do while pregnant? We’ve chosen our favourite simple pregnancy exercises that help you stay in shape, as well as easing aches and pains. Best of all, you can do them at home!

The best pregnancy exercise is any movement that isn’t too strong or complex. As much as you loved those cardio exercises you did a few months ago, those classes are a little too involved for pregnant women. Learning what you can do while pregnant can help you stay fit and keep you from gaining too much weight during your pregnancy.
Pregnant Yoga
Yoga is one of the best pregnancy exercise routines around. Yoga is an ancient art that strives to form a connection between the mind, body and spirit. It often involves the use of deep breathing, which will come in handy when you find yourself in labour.The cat-cow movement is a simple movement that will keep both mother and baby safe. While kneeling on all fours, slowly round your back as you push into a cat pose before releasing the breath and flattening your back. This movement can reduce the back pain that you feel later in your pregnancy.Another good movement is a side lay. Lay down on your right side with your right hand holding your head and a pillow placed between your knees. Take a few deep breaths while in this position before slowly releasing your breath.

Pregnant Pilates
Pilates was designed to help patients recovering from injuries and patients with limited mobility, so it’s perfect for pregnant women. Many of the exercises strengthen the core muscles, which can help you when it comes to your posture and balance, but you’ll also learn movements that can help you battle labour pains. Some women even find that their contractions lessen when they take Pilates classes.

If you’re interested in the idea of taking a Pilates class, meet with the instructor beforehand. Talk about what stage of pregnancy you are in, and ask for suggestions on alternative movements you can do in class. A good instructor will recommend ways to adjust the routine.

Make sure that you avoid any movements that involve supporting your weight with your hands or sitting on your stomach. Laying on your stomach can feel uncomfortable and disrupt the baby, while resting on your hands can cause carpel tunnel syndrome or weaken the muscles in your hands.

Stretching
When you need a good pregnancy exercise that you can do at home, turn to simple stretches. These stretches strengthen the muscles in your body and relieve the aches and pains that you feel during your pregnancy.

One good stretch is the pelvic tilt. Stand up straight with your back pressed against the wall, and gently press back until your lower back touches the wall as you inhale. Slowly exhale as you release the position and move your back away from the wall.

If you have a fitness ball handy, try the torso rotation to reduce pressure on your lower back. Sit flat on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and the fitness ball in your hands. Lift the ball straight out in front of you and slowly move as far to the right as you can before coming back to center and twisting to the left.

These simple exercises can help you stay fit throughout your pregnancy, alleviating muscle aches and pains and help you prepare for labour.

What are your favourite pregnancy exercises?
December 12, 2013

Fit Mum: The Best Pregnancy Exercise DVDs

Every mother-to-be cares deeply about staying in good health while pregnant. Pregnancy exercise isn’t just crucial for the health of your baby, but for your own wellbeing and vitality as well. If you don’t want to join a gym or sign up for any expensive classes, there are plenty of pregnancy workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Here are our favourite pregnancy DVDs.

Prenatal Yoga with Desi Barlett ($16.36, The Nile)

This DVD contains both floor and standing poses that are designed to help women stay healthy and flexible throughout each of their three trimesters. The gentle yoga exercises are meant to help you stay stress-free, flexible and have an easier delivery.

Preggie Bellies ($44.95, BumpStuff)

Billed as Australia’s most successful pregnancy exercise DVD, Preggie Bellies mixes pilates and yoga techniques to give women the perfect workout through the entirety of their pregnancy. This DVD is designed to alleviate common pains associated with pregnancy, like lower back pain.

Davina McCall: My Pre and Post Natal Workouts ($31.64, The Nile)

The Big Brother star is joined by her personal trainer, Jackie Wren, to lead her viewers through her favourite pre and postnatal workouts. The exercises are fantastic for the woman that wants to invest in a program that will not only keep her healthy during her pregnancy, but give her a way to drop the kilos after she gives birth.

Jane Simmons Pregnancy Exercise DVD ($29.95, BumpStuff)

This DVD is led by one of Australia’s leading physiotherapists. Jane Simmons specialises in prenatal workout techniques, and in this fantastic DVD, she borrows from yoga, pilates and physical therapy to provide women with an easy but effective workout that will ease pregnancy aches and pains.

Have you tried any of these DVDs? Tell us your story in the comments!

August 12, 2013

How to Exercise During Pregnancy

Maintaining fitness is important to improving health, improving your mood and self-image, but when pregnant there are also additional benefits.

Exercise during pregnancy can help prevent problems such a pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, as well as many other physical and mental demands of being pregnant, though choosing the best activities is a foremost concern.

Regular exercise can help you deal with many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy, including back ache, fatigue and constipation. Staying fit and healthy will also prepare you for the demands of labour and help to keep mother and baby well.

Exercises to avoid during pregnancy

When pregnant, it’s best to avoid activities where you might be thrown off-balance or have a hard fall on your belly. Sports to steer clear of include horse-riding, cycling, skiing, gymnastics and water skiing.

Diving is also unsafe during pregnancy. Scuba divers must decompress as they return to the surface of the water, and developing babies may have difficulty decompressing.

Ball sports are also risky as you may be hit in the stomach.

Exercises for a healthy pregnancy

Don’t overdo it when you’re pregnant, but aim to exercise for about 30 minutes, 3 times a week. As a rule, you should be able to hold a normal conversation while you’re exercising.

Exercising too often may make you more likely to give birth to a small baby, while high-impact workouts may put too much stress on your joints and pelvic floor muscles.

Great pregnancy exercises include yoga, walking, spinning and going to the gym. Water based sports such as swimming and water aerobics are also suitable and enjoyable.

Getting out in the countryside to go some activities in the fresh air is also beneficial for pregnancy, so if you fancy some adventure, go for a short hike or enjoy some kayaking.

Running during pregnancy tends to lead to leaner babies and shorter labour. Although jogging is fine for part of your pregnancy, your health care provider will probably advise you to stop jogging if you are experiencing any pregnancy complications.

If there is anything you’re unsure about, check with your health care provider for specific recommendations.

Keeping to an exercise regime and maintaining a healthy pregnancy will make it easier to control weight gain, so that reaching your ideal figure after giving birth is not as tough as you might think.

What are your favourite pregnancy exercises?

August 4, 2013