Taking care of yourself when you are pregnant is very important, and does not only involve regular check-ups with the doctor, and a proper, balanced diet. In fact, making sure you stay healthy physically through regular exercise is equally essential to help you along with your pregnancy.
What’s your exercise plan?
Were you an avid jogger before you became pregnant? Or did you regularly go for swimming classes every week? Perhaps you were one of those whose exercise routines involved cleaning the house every once in a while. Regardless of how your exercise routine used to be, it is important that you start on an exercise plan now that you’re pregnant. If you have been exercising regularly before pregnancy, then by all means, continue with your routine with slight modifications that suit your condition. If you have never been much of a fitness freak before, don’t fear! Begin a new routine slowly and gradually build it up from there.
Baby, let’s move!
There are tonnes of ways to stretch your body, depending on your interests as well as what your doctor may advise you.
- Walking is the perfect way to start an exercise routine, especially if you did not exercise before pregnancy. It is safe, can easily be done and is easier on your knees compared with running. Do make sure that you warm up before you begin; start off slowly and gradually build up as you become stronger.
- Swimming on the other hand, may be one of the most appealing exercises – it helps tone your body without the added weight or stress to your joints as the water supports your weight. Swimming raises your heart rate and is a safe cardiovascular exercise according to many health care professionals.
- Many women have also turned to yoga as a way to keep fit even when not pregnant. Yoga has had a reputation for relieving stress and pressure on your body, with most forms safe for both you and baby. Some yoga instructors even have special classes for pregnant women! The most important thing to remember is not to overstretch and to avoid lying flat on your back for long periods.
Many women have found that Kegel exercises actually help them have an easier delivery. These exercises help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels, which in turn helps you develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for birth. The best part? You can do Kegel exercises anywhere, anytime!
Breathe in, breathe out
Antenatal classes can help you prepare for your baby’s birth, which also includes teaching you how to keep fit and well during pregnancy. Most classes often teach the proper technique of deep breathing that helps to improve blood circulation and boosts the flow of oxygen supplied to both you and your baby. These breathing exercises can also help your body remove wastes effectively as well as relaxes you and reduces stress. This is very important during labour as it helps you to relax when you most need to!
Most exercises are safe and if done in moderation should not cause any injury to pregnant women. There are some activities that you should avoid however, especially those that include bouncing or jarring (movements that cause a lot of movements up and down), leaping, sudden changes in direction or those that carry a high risk of abdominal injury. Doctors also strongly advise against lying on the back for long periods of time, especially after 16 weeks as your growing baby may press against your main blood vessels.
Exercise is indeed beneficial as it generally makes you feel better as well as reduces the stresses of pregnancy. What’s more, exercise can prevent wear and tear of your joints due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. Furthermore, strong muscles and a fit heart helps ease labour and delivery while gaining control over your breathing can help you manage the pain. Always seek advice from your doctor before starting or continuing any exercises to ensure you get the optimum benefits from your regime.