How Can A Pregnant Woman Do Exercise

Exercise doesnt have to be a big scary thing for pregnant women. Adding an exercise routine to your life can make a huge difference in both your quality of life and the health of your baby. The trick is to start slowly, focus on good form, and work at an intensity that feels comfortable for both you and your baby. It’s important to get the right information on how to workout when pregnant. The answer is to seek medical advice and then make small changes over time. Workout as much as you feel comfortable but try to keep it short, simple and effective.

Exercise during pregnancy is good. It helps you to feel better and stronger instead of weaker, it helps your baby by improving blood circulation and oxygen supply, it increases energy levels, which can make you more effective at childcare, and also reduces stress. Exercising when pregnant is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you work out, your muscles use oxygen to provide energy for the movements your body needs to perform. As a result, you will be less likely to feel tired during the day and more in control of your own physical well-being.

Exercise is important for everyone, but especially so for pregnant women. However, exercise isn’t just physical — it’s an emotional boost, too. Any kind of regular activity can help lower stress and anxiety levels, which might make you feel better physically as well as emotionally. Pregnancy is a great time to start exercising. Once you’ve reached your 20-week mark, check with your doctor to make sure that it’s safe to exercise. Regardless of what type of exercise you choose, make sure that you don’t overdo it. It’s important to stay hydrated and slow down if something feels wrong — after all, exercise can wait!

Which Exercises Are Good For A Pregnant Woman

Pregnant women should do the following exercises: walking and swimming, yoga, table tennis and walking up stairs. These exercises help to remove extra weight, strengthen muscles and joints. If you’re pregnant and exercising, there are three types of exercises to avoid: high-impact workouts, anything that puts excessive pressure on the belly such as sit-ups and crunches, and any exercise that makes you feel uncomfortable. Only do what feels good.

Who Should Not Exercise During Pregnancy?

Some women should not exercise during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition such as asthmaheart disease, or diabetes, you should consult your doctor before exercising.

In addition, you may be advised to avoid exercise if you have certain pregnancy-related conditions, including bleeding or spotting, low-lying placenta, threatened or recurrent miscarriage, previous premature births or a history of early labor, or a weak cervix. Talk to your doctor before starting exercise for some guidelines on what you can and cannot do.

Make sure you drink plenty of water when you work out during pregnancy.

Wet Your Whistle

Make sure you drink plenty of water when you work out during pregnancy. Try drinking 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before you start exercise, and 8 ounces every 20-30 minutes during your workout. Also remember to hydrate following your routine. If you are concerned, you will need to use the bathroom more often because you are drinking more; work out at a gym where there is a restroom available, or if you walk or run outside, stay close to home in case you need to make a pit stop.

Consult with your doctor for an individualized exercise program that is right for you.

What Should a Pregnancy Exercise Program Consist Of?

Consult with your doctor for an individualized exercise program that is right for you. However, if you are healthy and your pregnancy is without complications there are some general guidelines for exercise that most women can follow. Begin workouts with a five-minute warm-up and five-minute stretch. Try to get about 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity and monitor your heart rate. Gradually slow down and lessen the intensity of your cardio, and finish up with some gentle stretches.

Many exercises are safe during pregnancy as long as they are practiced with caution.

What Exercises Are Safe During Pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, you can do most types of exercise. Just don’t overdo it. Activities such as swimming, walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, or low-impact aerobics classes can be very beneficial with a low risk of injury to you or your baby.

Some other types of exercise can still be continued but you may find you need to modify your movements. For example, changes in balance may affect your tennis game, and your runs may need to be slowed to accommodate your pregnancy. As you progress in your pregnancy you may want to consider exercises that do not require as much balance or coordination.

Stretch to help warm up before your workout.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching is recommended exercise to keep your muscles limber, and to warm up before other more intense workouts. The following slides review some simple stretches you can do before or after your workouts.

Stretching Exercises: Neck Rotation

Neck rotation can help relieve the tension in your neck and shoulders. Start by dropping your head forward, then slowly rotate your head toward your right shoulder, then back to the middle, and over toward the left shoulder. Do four slow rotations in each direction.

Shoulder rotations help retain range of motion.

Stretching Exercises: Shoulder Rotation

Shoulder rotations help retain range of motion. Start by bringing your shoulders forward, then rotate them up toward the ears, and back down again. Reverse directions by pulling shoulders back, up toward the ears, and then back down again. Complete four rotations in each direction.

Swimming motions can reduce muscle tension and retain flexibility.

Stretching Exercises: Swim

Swimming motions can reduce muscle tension and retain flexibility. Start with your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up and extend your body forward while twisting to the side, as if you were swimming the crawl stroke. Repeat with the left arm, and complete this sequence 10 times.

Keeping your legs limber and flexible can help maintain balance as your pregnancy progresses.

Stretching Exercises: Thigh Shift

Keeping your legs limber and flexible can help maintain balance as your pregnancy progresses. To do a thigh shift, start by standing with one foot about two feet in front of the other, toes pointed forward. Lean forward with your body weight supported by your front thigh. Change sides and repeat. Complete four stretches on each side.

A leg shake can help maintain circulation.

Stretching Exercises: Leg Shake

A leg shake can help maintain circulation. Sit down with your legs and feet extended. Move your legs up and down in a gentle shaking motion.

A pregnant woman performing an ankle rotation exercise on an exercise ball.

Stretching Exercises: Ankle Rotation

Foot and ankle swelling during pregnancy is common and ankle rotations can help with circulation and may reduce some fluid buildup. Sit with legs extended and toes relaxed. Rotate your feet in large circles using your whole foot and ankle. Rotate four times on the right and four times on the left.

Doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy can help strengthen muscles to prepare for birth.

Kegel Exercises

It is also important to exercise the muscles supporting your bladder, uterus, and bowels. Kegel exercises target these muscle groups and strengthening them during pregnancy can help you control these muscles during labor and birth.

To do Kegel exercises that target the pelvic floor, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. Try not to move your legs, buttocks, or abdominal muscles. Kegels are so subtle no one should notice you are doing them. Contract the muscles and hold for a slow count of five, then relax. Repeat 10 times for one set. Do 3-5 sets per day. If you are unsure about how to do the exercises, ask your doctor.

Tailor Exercises

Tailor exercises can help relieve low back pain by strengthening the pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles.

To perform a tailor sit, sit on the floor with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Lean forward slightly, keeping your back relaxed and straight. You can use this position throughout the day whenever possible.

To perform a tailor press: sit on the floor with knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. Hold onto your ankles and gently pull your feet toward your body. Place your hands under your knees and inhale. Press your knees down against your hands, and at the same time press your hands up against your knees for counter-pressure. Hold for a count of five.

Yoga has many health benefits, but it may not be the right type of exercise while you are pregnant.

Yoga Exercises

Yoga has many health benefits, but it may not be the right type of exercise while you are pregnant. Only try a prenatal yoga class where the poses are specifically geared toward pregnant women. If you do attend a regular yoga class, make sure you inform the instructor beforehand that you are pregnant and ask them to modify poses for you. Avoid “hot yoga” classes while pregnant.

Some exercises are considered unsafe while pregnant.

What Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

While you can do many exercises during pregnancy, some exercises and activities should be avoided, including:

  • Holding your breath during any activity.
  • Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing or horseback riding).
  • Contact sports including soccer, football, basketball, and volleyball.
  • Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
  • Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
  • Bouncing while stretching.
  • Waist-twisting movements while standing.
  • Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather.
Exercise routines must be adjusted as the body changes throughout pregnancy.

What Pregnancy Changes May Affect Exercise?

As your pregnancy progresses extra demands will be put on your body. It is important to listen to your body and adjust your exercise as needed. Some changes you may experience include:

  • Your developing baby and other internal changes require more oxygen and energy.
  • Hormones produced during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to stretch, increasing the risk of injury.
  • The extra weight and the uneven distribution of your weight shift your center of gravity.
  • The extra weight also puts stress on joints and muscles in the lower back and pelvic area and makes it easier for you to lose your balance.
Stick with exercises that are familiar to you as your balance shifts during pregnancy.

A Balancing Act

As your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity will shift, which may cause balance problems. Activities that may increase the risk of falling, such as tennis, skating, aerobics, or gymnastics, should be avoided. Low impact exercises such as walking are ideal. You may feel clumsier than before you were pregnant because your larger abdomen pulls your weight forward. Stick to exercises you are already familiar with.

Exercise warnings for pregnant women.

Warning for Pregnant Women

Always listen to your body when you are working out. Stop exercising and consult your doctor if you:

  • Feel chest pain.
  • Have abdominal painpelvic pain, or contractions.
  • Have a headache.
  • Notice an absence or decrease in fetal movement.
  • Feel faint, dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.
  • Feel cold or clammy.
  • Have vaginal bleeding.
  • Have a sudden gush of fluid from the vagina or a trickle of fluid that leaks steadily.
  • Notice an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
  • Have sudden swelling in your ankles, hands, face, or calf pain.
  • Are short of breath.
  • Have difficulty walking.
  • Have muscle weakness.
Talk to your health care provider about when it is safe to exercise after giving birth.

How Soon Can I Exercise After Delivery?

Ask your doctor when you can begin your exercise routine after delivery. Most women can start doing low-impact activities one to two weeks after a vaginal birth, and three to four weeks following a cesarean birth. Continue to do your pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) but do about half the amount you did while pregnant. Don’t overdo it. Your body needs time to heal so use this post-delivery time to enjoy your baby!

exercise, especially core strength training and stretching, is really helpful for pregnant women. These are ideal because they help develop your muscles and prepare them for childbirth, which means less recovery time. Stretching helps you stay flexible, and it will be easier for you to move around as your body grows. It’s also important that you can maintain a neutral pelvis position, which will help prevent back pain and allow your baby to settle properly in the birth canal.

Exercising during pregnancy is essential to maintaining your body shape, to prepare your body for labor and delivery, as well as strengthening the muscles and ligaments in your growing baby’s body. All forms of exercise can be safe during pregnancy as long as you take some precautions and listen to your body. Pregnancy is not an automatic excuse to avoid exercise, and the benefits of staying active during pregnancy extend far beyond what you might expect. What’s more, getting a workout with your newborn afterwards is the perfect way to bond with your little one.

How Does Exercise Help A Pregnant Woman

Exercise is great for a pregnant woman. Regular exercise can help make delivery easier, improve mood and reduce swelling in the legs and feet. It also helps you stay fit during pregnancy, so that you’re back to your pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible after the birth. Exercise can help pregnant women have easier and healthier deliveries, improve their mood and sense of well-being, and promote healthy weight gain and maintenance during pregnancy. Research has shown that women who participated in aerobic exercise and toning activities during their pregnancies had a shorter labor and delivery, more rapid recovery from childbirth, less hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, less postpartum depression, increased birth spacing between pregnancies, and fewer complications with their next child. Exercise also helps moms get back into shape faster after pregnancy.

Exercise during pregnancy offers many physical and emotional benefits. Physical activity may also help manage some symptoms of pregnancy and make you feel better, knowing you’re doing something good for yourself and your baby.

Some of the benefits of regular exercise throughout your pregnancy include:

  • enjoyment
  • increased energy
  • improved fitness
  • reduced back and pelvic pain
  • decreased risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • preparation for the physical demands of labour
  • fewer complications in delivery
  • faster recuperation after labour
  • prevention and management of urinary incontinence
  • improved posture
  • improved circulation
  • weight control
  • stress relief
  • reduced risk of anxiety and depression
  • improved sleep and management of insomnia
  • increased ability to cope with the physical demands of motherhood.

Exercising and changes associated with pregnancy

Your body will undergo many changes during pregnancy. Some will affect your ability to exercise, or require you to modify your exercise routine, including:

  • Hormones such as relaxin loosen ligaments, which could increase your risk of joint injuries (such as sprains).
  • As pregnancy progresses, your weight will increase and you will experience changes in weight distribution and body shape. This results in the body’s centre of gravity moving forward, which can alter your balance and coordination.
  • Pregnancy increases your resting heart rate, so don’t use your target heart rate to work out the intensity of your exercise. In healthy pregnant women, exercise intensity can be monitored using a method known as Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. This measures how hard you feel (perceive) your body is working.
  • Your blood pressure drops in the second trimester, so it is important to avoid rapid changes of position – from lying to standing and vice versa – so as not to experience dizzy spells.  

Exercise suggestions during pregnancy

Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. 

Read through the pre-exercise self-screening tool before embarking on a new physical activity or exercise program.

If you have been cleared to exercise, and you participated in physical activity before you were pregnant, it is recommended that you:

  • Do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good exercise intensity when you can talk normally (but cannot sing) and do not become exhausted too quickly. 
  • If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, continue this level of activity throughout pregnancy, or until it becomes uncomfortable for you to do so.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

If you have been cleared to exercise, but you were inactive before your pregnancy:

  • Start with low-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming, and build up to moderate intensity activity.
  • Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can start with separate sessions of 15 minutes each, and build up to longer durations.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good exercise intensity when you can talk normally (but cannot sing) and do not become exhausted too quickly. 
  • If you are healthy and you are not experiencing complications in your pregnancy, continue this level of activity throughout pregnancy, or until it becomes uncomfortable for you to do so.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

Suggested exercise activities during pregnancy

Activities that are generally safe during pregnancy, even for beginners, include:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • cycling – outdoors or on a stationary bicycle
  • jogging
  • muscle strengthening exercises, including pelvic floor exercises
  • exercise in water (aquarobics)
  • yoga, stretching and other floor exercises
  • Pilates
  • pregnancy exercise classes.

Cautions for pregnancy exercise

While most forms of exercise are safe, there are some exercises that involve positions and movements that may be uncomfortable or harmful for pregnant women. Be guided by your doctor or physiotherapist, but general cautions include:

  • Avoid raising your body temperature too high – for example, don’t soak in hot spas or exercise to the point of heavy sweating. Reduce your level of exercise on hot or humid days. Stay well hydrated.
  • Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion.
  • If weight training, choose low weights and medium to high repetitions – avoid lifting heavy weights altogether.
  • Perform controlled stretching and avoid over-extending.
  • Avoid exercise if you are ill or feverish.
  • If you don’t feel like exercising on a particular day, don’t! It is important to listen to your body to avoid unnecessarily depleting your energy reserves.
  • Don’t increase the intensity of your sporting program while you are pregnant, and always work at less than 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate.
  • In addition, if you develop an illness or a complication of pregnancy, talk with your doctor or midwife before continuing or restarting your exercise program.

Exercises to avoid while pregnant

During pregnancy, avoid sports and activities with increased risk of, or characterised by:

  • abdominal trauma or pressure – such as weightlifting
  • contact or collision– such as martial arts, soccer, basketball and other competition sports
  • hard projectile objects or striking implements – such as hockey, cricket or softball
  • falling – such as downhill skiing, horse riding and skating
  • extreme balance, co-ordination and agility – such as gymnastics
  • significant changes in pressure – such as SCUBA diving
  • heavy lifting
  • high-altitude training at over 2000 m
  • supine exercise position (lying on your back) – the weight of the baby can slow the return of blood to the heart; some of these exercises can be modified by lying on your side
  • wide squats or lunges.

If you’re not sure whether a particular activity is safe during pregnancy, check with your healthcare professional. 

Pelvic floor exercises and pregnancy

Your pelvic floor muscles are weakened during pregnancy and during birth (vaginal delivery), so it is extremely important to begin conditioning the pelvic floor muscles from the start of your pregnancy. 

Appropriate exercises can be prescribed by a physiotherapist. It is important to continue with these throughout your pregnancy and resume as soon as is comfortable after the birth.

Abdominal exercises and pregnancy

Strong abdominal muscles support your spine. The internal core and pelvic floor abdominal muscles act as a natural ‘corset’ to protect the pelvis and lumbar spine. 

During pregnancy, it is common for women to experience the condition known as diastasis recti abdominis – a painless splitting of the abdominal muscle at the midline, also known as abdominal separation. Traditional sit-ups or crunches may worsen this condition, and can be ineffective during pregnancy.

Appropriate core stability exercises are recommended during pregnancy to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen. For example:

  • Concentrate on drawing your belly button towards your spine.
  • Breathe out while pulling in your belly.
  • Hold the position and count to 10. Relax and breathe in.
  • Repeat 10 times, as many times a day as you are able.
  • You can perform this exercise sitting, standing or on your hands and knees.

Warning signs when exercising during pregnancy

If you experience any of the following during or after physical activity, stop exercising immediately and see your doctor:

  • headache
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • heart palpitations
  • chest pain
  • swelling of the face, hands or feet
  • calf pain or swelling
  • vaginal bleeding
  • contractions
  • deep back, pubic or pelvic pain
  • cramping in the lower abdomen
  • walking difficulties
  • an unusual change in your baby’s movements 
  • amniotic fluid leakage
  • unusual shortness of breath
  • excessive fatigue
  • muscle weakness.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Midwife
  • Physiotherapist

Exercise helps with a myriad of things during pregnancy. It helps with preventing preterm labor, maintains your weight to maintain a healthy pregnancy, and improves energy levels, mood and balance. Exercise can help prevent common complaints such as backaches and constipation. Exercise is a great way to help manage stress, reduce nausea and fatigue, stay healthy, prevent back pain and strengthen your body. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and low-birth weight babies. You may be concerned that exercise will make you uncomfortable or even increase labor pains. But in fact, research suggests that women who exercise regularly during pregnancy have shorter labors than those who don’t exercise. And because exercising keeps your heart strong before delivery (when it will be working overtime), it can reduce postpartum health problems such as hemorrhage after delivery

Exercising during pregnancy can reduce your risk of complications and make your physical recovery easier. Regular exercise will help you avoid gestational diabetes, lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, and improve your cardiovascular health. It can also help you lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily. And working out may give you more energy – many women find that they have more energy during pregnancy when they exercise regularly.

How A Pregnant Woman Should Exercise

How a Pregnant Woman Should Exercise. Pregnancy is a great time to exercise, but only if you follow some basic rules. There’s nowhere else to start than with your doctor’s advice; she’ll tell you which activities are safe and healthy for you and your growing baby.

Exercise has multiple health benefits, even for pregnant women like:

  • Increases strength and endurance
  • Increases the energy levels of the body
  • Keeps weight gain in check
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Help reduce swelling, bloating, constipation, etc. which are common during pregnancy

However, not all types of exercises are recommended for pregnant women, as certain exercises can do more harm than good. Though simple exercises like walking, gentle stretching, etc. are recommended, exercises that put excess stress on the body (like lifting heavy weights) or are jerky in nature are usually forbidden.

Risks of jumping during pregnancy:

As already mentioned, experts recommend refraining from doing activities that put the body in excessive stress or result in jerks to the body. Jumping is one such activity as it gives sudden jerks to the body and can result in complications like:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Preterm labor
  • Jumping can also trigger contractions
  • Injury to ligaments and joints, leading to severe complications
  • Uterus putting excessive pressure on the cervix, leading to various pregnancy complications

Looking at the severe consequences that jumping can have on pregnant women, experts do not recommend jumping, skipping, and other such activities during pregnancy.

Staying safe:

Though each and every pregnancy is unique in its own way, there are some general safety points one should keep in mind while exercising during pregnancy. Consult a maternity doctor before doing any type of exercise as some women are at a higher risk than others. Make sure you exercise under proper guidance and care of an expert, as accidents or falls can be highly damaging to your health or the health of the baby. Stay hydrated and avoid over-exertion and extreme workouts. Do light and gentle exercises, as they do not pose any health risks and are beneficial for the pregnancy and overall health and wellbeing.

Cloudnine is one of the leading maternity and childcare hospitals in the country. We provide holistic treatment and care for pregnancy, fertility, and other associated conditions. Our team of experts comprises of highly qualified and experienced specialists who are dedicated to providing you with the best quality of treatment.

Pregnant women who exercise regularly and keep their weight gain within recommended guidelines have less back pain, kidney infections and blood pressure problems than women who don’t exercise during pregnancy. They also have less stress and fatigue, which can make them happier (and help them cope with the challenges of being pregnant), and improve their self-esteem. Some studies have shown that pregnant women who are physically active may have slightly smaller babies but that may be because the active women had healthier weights before they got pregnant. Pregnant women are encouraged to follow the same principles as people who aren’t pregnant, but they should also take into account their comfort level and any potential stress on an unborn child. A variety of physical activities can be both fun and healthy for the mother-to-be, with many options carrying benefits for both unborn babies and mothers.

Pregnancy is a time of both physical and emotional transformation, and it’s important to take care of both. Staying healthy can help you enjoy pregnancy and make your experience as a new parent easier. From managing muscle pain to exercising for stress relief, it’s good to know what to as a pregnant woman. Check out these tips on how to exercise during pregnancy! Exercise during pregnancy can be one of the best things you do for both you and your baby. But it’s important to follow some basic safety tips before, during and after exercise to lower the risk of injury and complications. Determining what type of exercise is most suited for you will also help ensure an easier pregnancy and delivery.

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