Exercising during pregnancy is a hot topic. For years, women were told to take it easy and not to exercise for fear of hurting the baby or themselves. While in some cases this is true (high risk or accident-prone pregnancies), this is not the case for the majority.
Finally, this trend is changing. More and more are we seeing women keep up their same exercise routine with just a few modifications.
Experts have learned over the years that not only is exercise during pregnancy safe, but it’s also healthy and important for both mom and baby. Exercising during pregnancy can improve circulation, decrease aches and pains, increase endurance, and improve sleep. And most importantly to me, it helps you prepare for what is potentially the greatest physical event of your life: childbirth. I believe women are fully equipt to have natural vaginal childbirth and working out can support their labor and delivery.
After so much engagement from my last post, Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy, I thought I might continue with what exercises are best to incorporate during your pregnancy for the optimal pregnancy, labor, and birth.
Don’t forget to DOWNLOAD YOUR 3 FREE RECIPES TO LOSE WEIGHT WHILE BREASTFEEDING
Here is a list of exercises to begin to incorporate into your pregnancy:
First, check-in with yourself on what you have already been doing regularly. Is it walking? running? weight lifting? swimming? nothing? Your body is used to these exercises and there is no hard in keeping them up. If you haven’t been very active but feel the surge to get moving now that you are pregnant, start with low impact exercises and work up to lightweights in the gym. I highly recommend if you haven’t done so already, book your free 10 min discovery call with me so we can create a workout and eating plan specific to your needs and goals. Book Here.
Squats, Squats, Squats
Squats are magical for prepping your body for birth. They open the hips, loosen your inner thighs, and are comfortable for you and baby. Squats will open up your pelvic floor and make delivering that much easier. Avoid crossing your legs.
Take time going up and down. At the bottom perform little pulses after several reps. At the top squeeze abs tight, holding in belly.
Legs wide, toes pointed out. Go down where you can feel that burn.
Feet are just more than shoulder-width apart, then simply sit all the way down. This is going to stretch out your pelvis.
For squats I recommend to my clients that they start off with 50-100 every few days, then you can work up to doing 100+ every day. You can eventually add in weight. Start off with lightweight and many reps then work up. Weight will depend on how familiar you are with lifting.
One of the best affordable tools you can buy for your pregnancy is an exercise ball. If you sit at a desk during the day, bring it to work or swap out your most used chair. Practice the “pelvic rock.” This will avoid back strain, strengthen abdominal muscles, increase the flexibility of the lower back, and promote good alignment of the spine. Remember to avoid slouching.
Don’t let the simplicity of walking stop you from getting in a good brisk walk every day. If you already have kids, there is an added benefit of fun for them if you bring them along. I include my now 1 1/2-year-old in every morning walk with a quick stop at a park. I have noticed so many benefits. Walking lowers the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. It also allows mom to maintain a healthy weight, lowers stress, promotes, restful sleep and reduces morning sickness, cramps, and aches and pains.
This one looks and sounds easy but don’t be fooled. This is another great one to not only build up strength in your legs for laboring but also a good way to do standing core work. A strong core will not only help with pushing but supporting your back and growing belly. Simply pick up some dumbbells, extend your arms to your side, pull your belly to your spine (engage core), and walk.
Start with lightweight (5-10 lbs) and then work up to where you can feel your forearms and traps completely tapped out. You will become obsessed!
Lunges help build leg and glute strength, which can help support the back and core as well. You want to ensure you are building your legs, not just the pretty arm muscles. Leg strength is EVERYTHING! During a lunge make sure to not bend your knees past your toes though, or it could put too much strain on them. Remember, labor is an endurance event and the more stamina you have, the easier time you’ll have. Bodyweight or weighted lunges are both great choices for your pregnancy (and really in every stage of life).
Whether it’s a few laps in the pool or a low-intensity water aerobics class, water is great for adding resistance to a full-body workout or cardio session. Plus because your weight is supported by the water, your joints are protected from impact. I find that once I hit the 3rd trimester and the aches and pains kick in, swimming is one of my favorite exercises to get in weekly.
Not only will strong buttocks help with labor and pushing, but it will also help support your lower back, taking some of the pressure off as you work to support a growing belly.
It wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t include yoga. Yoga is one of my favorites because you can modify just about every posture depending on your trimester. It can improve your flexibility, relaxation, focus, and learning how to breathe deeply during contractions.
This exercise pertains to the check-in you did with what you have already been doing. So if you’ve been running regularly leading up to pregnancy, I suggest trying an elliptical machine. You will get all the cardio benefits of running without the impact on your joints and knees. It’s important to listen to your body, especially during this workout. The hormones that make pregnancy possible also loosen ligaments and joints in preparation for birth. This loosening can make you more prone to injury with high-impact exercises like running. So pick a healthy distance and moderate terrain and don’t be afraid to stop and walk throughout your run to catch your breath. There is no shame in it. You are the one running while growing a baby! Now that’s courage and dedication.
Cycling or Spinning
If you are comfortable biking, there is no harm in getting back on the bike. Ensure that you have a safe easy route and a helmet on. I, however, prefer a spin class if I can find one near me. You can take it at your own pace and lessen the resistance if it gets too hard. Cycling takes the pressure off your joints while still allowing you to get your blood flowing. Don’t be surprised if your squads are nice and sore afterward.
I hope you enjoyed these 10 exercises to incorporate during pregnancy. Huge congrats to you and your family. Sending healthy love vibes your way! I LOVE being preggers. If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them. Don’t forget to follow me or reach out on IG!!- plantingseedsmamma.
If you haven’t done so already make sure to:
Other posts you may be interested in :