Gaining weight during pregnancy is an expected (but not always welcome) part of the process. But there’s no need for your fitness level to drop. Pregnancy exercise is important for maintaining not only your health, but also the health of your baby.
Exercising while pregnant will to help prepare you for the delivery. As all mothers will know, endurance and stamina go hand in hand with a natural delivery, so the fitter you are, the better your endurance will be. Keep in mind that maintaining an exercise regime will also allow for a quicker return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Pregnancy exercises also help with back pain, water retention, constipation, sleeplessness, and they decrease the chance of varicose veins and even postpartum depression.
Here are our top 5 pregnancy exercises:
Running seem like it should be off limits when you are pregnant, right? If you are not a runner normally, it’s best not to start the minute you get pregnant. However, if running has always been part of your life, then pregnancy should not impact your routine—merely the intensity of it.
Don’t overdo it! It is ill-advised to overheat your body while your baby is still forming, and you should never be too breathless. So say no to marathons!
Jogging takes a toll on your knees, so as you get bigger throughout the pregnancy, it may be best to switch to a lower impact exercise. For the non-runners out there, a daily brisk walk is perfect.
Swimming is one of the best pregnancy exercises, particularly in the latter half of your pregnancy. It works your arms, legs, and cardiovascular health, alleviates joint pain and allows you to feel weightless.
Aqua-natal classes are always growing in popularity, as they are specifically designed for the needs of expectant mothers. They combine aerobic exercise and birth preparation exercises, and provide an interactive space for socialising with other pregnant women in your local area.
Miranda Kerr claims yoga was the secret behind her post-baby body, so make it yours too! The stretching involved in yoga can ease your body’s aches and pains, and the breathing patterns and mind relaxation aid in physical and mental preparation for the birth. Just avoid Bikram Yoga!
In a similar manner, Pilates improves coordination and core strength. Most importantly, it strengthens your tummy muscles so that you are better equipped to cope with the physical strain of a baby. Improving the strength of your pelvic floor is vital for maintaining your bladder, bowel and uterus, which often cause discomfort and embarrassment during pregnancy.
Doing regular low impact dance aerobics (i.e. no high kicks or leaps etc) does wonders for your cardiovascular health, as does water aerobics.
For more experienced athletes, it’s simply best to reduce the intensity of your aerobic workouts, as leaving yourself breathless also leaves your baby breathless. Essentially, low impact is the way to go.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Not only can you do these at home, pelvic floor exercises will stop the likelihood of urine leaks during and after your pregnancy. The benefits include a shortened second stage of labour (when the baby is pushed out) and increases of blood to the perineum after birth, which is often traumatised by the delivery.
As an added bonus, strong pelvic floor muscles are linked to an increased likelihood of orgasms during intercourse!
What did you do to stay fit during your pregnancy?