Staying active during pregnancy is good for both your health and the health of your baby. It is important that you check with your doctor to make sure that your exercise routine is safe for your particular situation. However, once you have your doctor's approval, there are many enjoyable activities that will help you stay in shape.
Method 1 of 3: Determine Appropriate Levels of Exercise
Step 1. Talk about your plans with your doctor
If you and your baby are healthy and the pregnancy is not expected to develop complications, your doctor may encourage you to do a moderate amount of exercise. Your doctor may recommend that you refrain from exercising if you have:
- vaginal bleeding;
- problems with your cervix;
- high blood pressure caused by pregnancy;
- problems with the heart or lungs;
- risk of having a premature birth.
Step 2. Increase the pace slowly
You may tire more easily than before you were pregnant. If you did exercises before pregnancy, you can continue to do them at a similar pace, but you will need to reduce the intensity. Start with 5-10 minutes of exercise per day with routines of about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity.
- Your routine shouldn't be long or extremely intense. You just have to do enough exercise to get your heart rate up and get your blood moving.
- If you are out of breath and cannot speak, then you are pushing yourself too hard.
Step 3. Look at your limits
You will tire more easily as the pregnancy progresses, so make sure to drink more water. During pregnancy, you will be particularly vulnerable to dehydration. Stop exercising immediately if you have one of the following symptoms:
- dizziness or lightheadedness;
- difficulty breathing;
- Back pain;
- swelling or numbness;
- abnormally fast or irregular heartbeat
Method 2 of 3: Finding a Cardio Routine
Step 1. Choose exercises that benefit you
If you previously did cardiovascular exercises and your doctor said it was okay to continue with them, it may be easiest to adjust the intensity of your activities. Activities you can do include:
- Walk. This is a great way to get your heart rate up and keep your leg muscles toned. However, don't forget to wear shoes that provide adequate support for your feet and ankles. Nor should you forget to invest in a good sports bra that will support your breasts as they increase in size. Also, walking will help you get out of the house and receive sunlight, which you can do with your partner or with your friends.
- To swim. This activity is great during pregnancy, as it takes the weight off your joints as you move. Buy a good pair of goggles for swimming so that you can swim with your face in the water. This will reduce the stress on your back. Avoid the butterfly stroke, as this requires extreme movements of the spine. If you feel pelvic pain while swimming with the breaststroke, switch styles. In case you can't swim very well, many community pools offer water aerobics courses for pregnant women.
- Ride a bike. If you did it very often before you got pregnant, it's a good idea to start riding a stationary bike. This has the advantage of being stable and will prevent you from falling.
Step 2. Avoid risky sports
This means that you should avoid activities in which you run the risk of falling or being hit, jolted or pushed. Activities to avoid include:
- run after 20 weeks;
- yoga poses that require you to lie completely horizontal after 20 weeks (as this can reduce the blood supply for you and your baby);
- contact sports such as football, soccer, boxing, rugby, and basketball;
- sports like tennis or volleyball, which require you to make sudden changes of direction;
- activities where you are in danger of falling, such as mountain climbing, horse riding, skiing or skating;
- activities that involve exposure to heat, such as exercising during hot weather or using steam rooms, saunas, or hot tubs.
Step 3. Enjoy the benefits of cardiovascular exercises
Practice a safe and moderate amount of exercise, which will benefit you and your baby for the following reasons:
- relieve back pain, leg cramps, constipation, bloating and bloating;
- decrease the risk of developing gestational diabetes;
- it will improve your mood and give you more energy;
- it will help you sleep better;
- It will help you stay in good shape for an easier delivery and a faster recovery.
Method 3 of 3: Add Safe Strengthening Exercises
Step 1. Maintain upper body strength
There are several activities you can do to tone your arms and back so you can lift and hold your baby after delivery:
- Push-ups on the wall: This exercise strengthens the pectoral muscles and the triceps. Stand in front of a wall with your legs spread at shoulder height. Place the palms of your hands on the wall at shoulder level. Bend your elbows and lean toward the wall until your nose touches it. Then push yourself up again with the help of your arms. Start with small amounts and push yourself to do 15 push-ups.
- Rowing with an elastic resistance band: Sit in a chair with the band under your feet and in front of you and hold the ends. Sit with your back straight. Pull the band back with your elbows as if you were rowing. Set a goal of 15 reps. You can buy a resistance band at your local sports store.
Step 2. Work your main muscles with V-abs
There are many variations of this exercise. These exercises are performed optimally only during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Mayo Clinic has recommended the following exercises for pregnant women:
- Back-Supported V Crunches: Lean back so that your back is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. You can support yourself by placing a firm pillow behind your lower back. Sit with your legs bent and with your feet on the floor. Raise one leg until the lower leg is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat this exercise 10 times and then switch legs.
- V-Crunches: Sit on a stack of books so that you are approximately 12 inches above the ground. Your legs should be bent and your feet on the ground. Lean back until you feel your stomach muscles begin to work. Hold this position for about 5 seconds and then sit upright again. Repeat the exercise 10 times. Once you're an expert at doing V-crunches, you can do them by lifting one leg first, then the other.
Step 3. Tone your legs
These exercises will help you maintain your leg muscles, your flexibility, and your balance. Some of the positions, such as squatting, can be done during labor to help the baby move down the birth canal.
- Squatting: stand up, press your back against the wall and spread your feet at the height of your shoulders. Bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then slide back up to your feet. Don't worry if you can't get to the bottom, as you can work at it to get there. Make it a goal to do 10 push-ups.
- Raise your legs: support your hands and feet on the floor. Then lift one leg so that it is fully stretched out behind you and parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat this exercise 10 times and then do it with the other leg.
Step 4. Try yoga or Pilates
Many women enjoy practicing yoga and Pilates to stay in shape and stay in touch with their body. These activities focus on stretching and toning your muscles.
- If you're taking a course at your local gym or community center, look for one that is specifically for pregnant women. Tell the instructor how long you are pregnant.
- If you do yoga or Pilates at home, talk to your doctor first to make sure these exercises are safe for you.
Step 5. Strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises
Getting your pelvic floor muscles in shape can help you have an easier delivery and a faster recovery. It will also help you avoid incontinence after giving birth. Practice these exercises 3 times a day.
- Short contractions: These exercises increase your strength. Lie on your back or sit with your feet shoulder-width apart. Contract the muscles around the anus, as if you want to avoid releasing a gas. Then, at the same time, contract the muscles around your vagina and bladder, just like you do when you want to stop the flow of urine. Do this without also contracting your buttocks. Your buttocks should be relaxed during the process. Keep your muscles contracted for 1-2 seconds. Repeat the exercise until you get tired.
- Long-lasting contractions: These exercises increase the resistance of your muscles. To perform them, you must do the same as with short-duration contractions, except that you must contract the muscles for a longer time. For some women, 4 seconds may be enough time to work their muscles. However, other women may be able to contract their muscles for 10 seconds or more. Over time, you will be able to contract them for longer and you will be able to do more repetitions.
- If you experience significant incontinence and are unable to perform Kegel exercises correctly, there are specialized physical therapists who can teach you these exercises properly. Talk to your doctor for a recommendation.