If your question is, is it safe to workout during pregnancy, you should know that it is not only safe but also recommended to add a non strenuous routine of about 2 and a half hours of exercise in your week. An active lifestyle will help you remain healthy throughout the pregnancy giving you a higher chance of a healthier baby.
Exercising during pregnancy has shown to lower risk of premature birth, need for c-section, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, weight gain and lower birth weight in the baby.
What exercises are safe while working out pregnant?
Warm ups and cool downs
In order to avoid unnecessary aches, injuries and cramps, always include a few minutes of warmup and a cool down set to your workout routine. Warm ups help to raise your body temperature slowly, preparing your body for a complete workout set. After you have finished your workout, it is equally important to help your body cool down slowly with a cool down routine. You can use the following exercises for about 30 seconds each and switch:
- Stretching of limbs, necks and hips.
- Shoulder, arms and hand rolls.
- Repetitive non jumping motion of hands and legs.
- Simple or sumo squats.
- Front and side lunges.
- Standing crunches.
Once you have warmed up your body, you are good to start including some cardio into your exercise routine. Make sure to keep it minimal and light for the first few days if you just started.
Here are some good cardio exercises:
Walking or jogging
Simply taking a walk down the park can be much healthier for both you and your baby than staying at home and doing nothing. A 25 to 30 minutes of walking is a great activity for any pregnant woman. If you are feeling a bit frisky, you can also speed up and jog to increase the intensity.
Another perfect workout for you is swimming, that is if you already know how to. While swimming you use a lot of your body muscles to keep you afloat; the water also provides you with support. Swimming can also be relaxing to get relief from joint pain and nausea. However, be careful of slippery tiles and don’t dive in.
You can take the help of certain equipment at the gym. Such as:
- Stationary cycling
- Stair climber
- Treadmills at low speeds
- Rowing machines
Make sure to adjust the tension, incline and speed before hopping on to any of these machines.
Pilates are a set of exercises that focuses on strengthening your core. Pregnancy can cause back aches and pains as your body shifts posture. One way to ease the pain is by strengthening your stomach muscles with workouts like pilates. Try to join a group of only pregnant women so that your workouts are tailored to your needs.
Pelvic floor workouts
Pelvic floor health might be one of the most overlooked things in pregnancies. These exercises help to prepare your pelvic muscles for the delivery. You can start doing them from the very start of your pregnancy. Learn how to do Kegels to help strengthen your pelvic muscles.
If you haven’t started working out yet, this might be the best place for you to start as it is the perfect choice for pregnancy workouts. Yoga helps you to focus on your breathing, maintain posture, flexibility and develop focus.
Yoga is good for both your physical as well as mental health. However, make sure to let your instructure know that you are pregnant so as to avoid certain moves that involve full inversions, backbends and hot yoga. Keep the poses simple and easy, making sure that you are able to breath properly throughout.
Tips to make your exercises safer:
- If you did not regularly workout before your pregnancy, make sure to consult your doctor if you have any pre existing condition.
- Avoid strenuous workouts that make you breathless and tired.
- Always warm up and stretch before you start your actual workout and also after you finish it.
- You will lose a lot of body water through sweat so hydrate yourself with juices and water.
- Follow a qualified instructor and let them know about your pregnancy before following their routines.
- Avoid jumps and exercises that involve risk to the baby.
- Dress comfortably with stretchy clothes. Opt for sport bras that can provide support to your breasts while you move without causing irritation or suffocation.
What exercises are unsafe while working out while pregnant?
You need to avoid the following exercises or activities in order to ensure the safety of your baby and keep it safe:
- Do not perform any workout that involves lying down as it can be unsafe for the baby.
- Contact sport
- Scuba diving
- If you don’t already live in such places, avoid high altitude exercises and activities (2500 meters above sea level).
Stop working out immediately if you have these symptoms
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain and contractions
- Fluid leaks
- Dizziness and severe weakness
- Chest pain
- Exercise in pregnancy: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/
- The Best Pregnancy Workouts and Exercises You Can Do While Expecting: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/exercises-for-pregnant-women
- Exercise During Pregnancy: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy
- Pregnancy and exercise: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-exercise
- How to do pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy / Am I doing kegel exercises right?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwYenLQkeWo