No matter the stage of pregnancy or current health status, there is no better time to start a workout during pregnancy.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many kinds of exercises beyond the typical gym routine, and all women can gain numerous benefits for themselves and their unborn by choosing a regular, Pregnancy Workout Routine.
The exercise routine established during pregnancy should not be haphazardly chosen.
Some types of exercise are ill-suited for pregnancy, while others may be contraindicated by circumstances.
A personal trainer, research, and the input of your primary care physician can all help in maximizing the benefits and ensuring that the workout program is a safe one.
Benefits of a Workout During Pregnancy
Carrying a baby to term can put a lot of stress on the body, from the physical discomfort of poor leg circulation and declining posture to sometimes rapid hormonal fluctuations.
With a safe workout program, you’ll be increasing the chances of a short labor with minimal intervention and relieving the common pre- and post-partum symptoms.
- Having a Comfortable Pregnancy – While some symptoms, like morning sickness, are a routine part of pregnancy, pains and aches are a different story. These can be reduced and eliminated with regular exercise. Aerobic exercise, even walking for thirty minutes, will aid the circulatory system and keep the blood flowing below the pelvis. This is important for preventing varicose veins and hemorrhoids, both common complaints of pregnancy.
- Gaining Energy – Fatigue is another common complaint. It takes more energy to move around with the extra weight, and the baby is taking its share of everything eaten. Exercise will prime the body to build lean muscle and burn body fat, which is a rich source of energy. Toned muscles are also a lot more efficient at using energy
- Lightening the Mood – Exercise is a great way to keep those fluctuating hormones in check and prevent post-partum depression. The increased serotonin released with exercise will help lift mommy’s spirits and make the baby more comfortable. You’ll also find an increased tolerance of stressful events results from regular physical activity.
Appropriate Exercises During Pregnancy
Some workout routines are good for all pregnancies, but others may require the approval of a healthcare provider. Women who had a workout routine before an uncomplicated pregnancy may confidently continue it with some modifications.
- Kegels – Kegel exercises help establish healthy breathing patterns and control of the urogenital diaphragm. It is also suggested for post-partum healing. Simply contract the urogenital diaphragm for five seconds, and do not hold your breath. Do this ten times for one set. Five sets a day are recommended. The trick to contracting just the one muscle is to try it out while urinating first. Only contraction of the urogenital diaphragm can stop the flow. Try to separate that one muscle from all the others, which means do not contract the rectum or abdomen. When done properly, no one will be able to tell you are exercising.
- Stretching – Stretching will be much easier during pregnancy because pregnancy hormones make the joints more limber. Be sure to work on all the joints to get the maximum benefit. That includes wrists, shoulders, neck, hips, legs, and ankles. The neck, wrists, and ankles can be stretched with range-of-motion rotations. For the shoulders, hold the arms level with the shoulders, forming a T with palms down. Make up to 18 circles, about 6 inches in diameter. Then rotate the palms up, and repeat. This will relax and balance the shoulders. Yoga is a mixture of stretches designed to open and strengthen the joints. Consider joining a class with an instructor, as most are well versed in the best poses for relieving pregnancy symptoms and strengthening the joints for labor.
- Tailor Exercises – Tailor exercises will ensure more resilient hip, pelvic, and thigh muscles. Some are easy to do while reading or just relaxing, and all the postures require no special equipment or preparation. Instructions on postures are widely available, and Tailor exercises are commonly taught in groups alongside Kegels.
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Aerobics and Weight Training Pregnancy Workouts
Aerobics and weight training may be contra-indicated by certain conditions during pregnancy, and it is important to check with a doctor in case of symptoms, like high blood pressure, spotting, and/or abdominal cramping. Low or no impact is best.
- Running – Once the child has been born, it can be very profitable to jog or walk with your child in a jogger stroller.
- Water Aerobics – Water aerobics provide a no impact method of strengthening the circulatory system that is easy and fun for everyone. Though swimming is an adequate form of exercise, it can be a lot more fun and beneficial to join a group and learn specific routines from a qualified instructor.
- Weight Training – Weight training is not for everyone. There are certain forms that should be avoided, like squats and free weights, but with an uncomplicated pregnancy, weight training is an awesome way to build lean muscle and prepare for the ordeal of labor. A personal trainer can help in erring on the side of caution and choosing the best routines.
Continue Exercising After Childbirth
The main idea is to not try to go it alone. Make use of the many groups and resources available, and choose a mixture of exercises enjoyable for you. Continue the routine after childbirth, and enjoy the benefits of exercise for the rest of your life!
Not all types of physical activity are suitable for everyone. Users take training advice at their own personal risk. Make sure you talk to your doctor before attempting any pregnancy workouts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long after pregnancy until you can exercise again?
The common rule is to wait six weeks after a vaginal delivery and eight weeks after a C-section. However, this is simply a common rule and you should always follow your doctor’s instructions.
Does breastfeeding burn calories?
Breastfeeding burns, on average, an additional 500 calories a day.
Can I exercise if I have diastasis recti?
Yes. However, you should avoid exercises that can separate the abdominals even more like crunches, planks, twisting motions, heavy lifting, and any sudden movements.
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