Pregnancy Exercise Guide: Safe and Effective Workouts

December 20, 2011

Don’t worry. It is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise while pregnant. There are plenty of fitness routines that can help you stay in shape while keeping your little one safe. In fact, some exercises can even help you prepare for childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood.

Every pregnancy is different; so make sure you consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. They’ll be happy to help you develop a healthy exercise routine that’s best for you and your baby.  Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you begin your exercise routine:

  • Include a warm up and cool down in all workouts.
  • Don’t exercise to exhaustion. As a rule of thumb, make sure you can always hold a comfortable conversation without gasping for air.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid contact sports and high impact activities.

Now, let’s get into some great exercises for pregnant moms:

Pregnancy Exercise #1: Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga serves many purposes for pregnant moms. From a fitness standpoint, it builds strength and stamina without impact, which can be beneficial when you’re trying to be mindful of the needs of your little one. Avoid holding positions for prolonged periods, as that can decrease blood flow to the uterus. Try flowing more quickly between positions.

Yoga also offers great emotional benefits for mom. It gives you the opportunity to connect more fully with the life growing inside you and open your mind to what’s to come.  You’ll practice focus and mindfulness, which may help you be more mentally prepared for the delivery process and the new adventures that lie ahead. Check with your local fitness club or yoga studio to see if they offer prenatal yoga classes. Otherwise, consider a gentle traditional yoga class with an experienced instructor. He or she may be willing to teach adjusted poses for your pregnant body.

Pregnancy Exercise #2: Water Workouts

Exercising in water is ideal for expectant moms because it allows you to perform more repetitions in a low impact environment. Also, the cool water pressure can help relieve swelling in your legs and help with pregnancy discomfort. When doing water exercises, stand with water at chest level and keep your core contracted for best results. Remember to stay hydrated. You won’t realize how much you sweat while you’re in the water.

Pregnancy Exercise #3: Walking

Walking workouts are a great option for cardiovascular exercise because they allow you to raise your heart rate without putting too much pressure on your knees or ankles. Walking also allows you to enjoy different scenery while exercising. It’s best to limit your jaunts to about 30 minutes, and don’t allow yourself to reach a point of breathlessness or exhaustion. As you reach your third trimester, avoid uneven terrain that could cause you to misstep or fall. Also, consider a loop closer to your car or home in case of an emergency.

Remember, taking good care of yourself can play a key role in your breastfeeding success. So, feel free to continue this healthy lifestyle throughout your breastfeeding journey.

What type of exercise did you prefer while pregnant? Share in the comments below.

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