Having a baby inside you is a big responsibility. While you need to get exercise to stay healthy for you and your unborn child, you may be apprehensive about trying it while pregnant. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to ensure that you and baby are safe while getting the workout your body needs.
The Benefits of a Pregnancy Workout
Working out can have many benefits for you as an expectant mother. First, you will sleep better. Second, your stress levels will decrease as your feel-good hormones increase. Lastly, everyone in the house can benefit when you are getting the workout you need. Here are some other benefits of a pregnancy workout:
- Lessens Lower Back Pain
- Reduce the Chance of Gestational Diabetes by 30 Percent
- Keep C-Sections at Bay
- Reduce the Chance of Developing Depression
- Reduce Weight Gain
- Help with Urinary Incontinence
- Keep Constipation Away
- Increase Your Stamina
- Have Reduce Labor Times
While these are the benefits to you as an expectant mother, the baby also has many benefits when you do a pregnancy workout. Some of the advantages include:
- Healthy Heart
- Proper Neurological Development
- Keep Respiratory Distress at Bay
- Healthy Birth Weight
When you have less stress, it has an impact on the baby’s immune system development.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Pregnancy Workout
Before you begin any exercise regimen, you must check with your midwife or doctor. Since each pregnancy is unique, you need to make sure that everything is okay. Some women cannot have the vigorous activity that exercise allows, so you need to make sure that no complications arise from these maneuvers.
One of the most popular exercises is crunches. However, it’s not advisable to lay flat on your back as it can put unnecessary pressure on your body. You will notice after about four months into your pregnancy that you have a hard time lying comfortably on your back.
As you hit the 16-week mark, the weight of your baby bump will press on the blood vessels in the region, making you feel dizzy and affecting your blood flow. So, while you need pelvic and core muscle strengthening, you need to save stomach crunches until the baby is born.
If you’re someone who turns the treadmill up to 10 and doesn’t break a sweat, you may want to tone it down while you have a baby on board. It would help if you took it down from a 10 to a 7, at least. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold a conversation without panting.
Another important thing is that you don’t want to raise your core body temperature by more than 2°F. While it may not seem like much of a temperature change to you, your unborn child can feel the difference. Additionally, these higher temperatures can cause congenital disabilities to the spine or brain.
Due to the risk of hyperthermia, or having a body temperature that’s too warm, you should also avoid hot tubs. Exercises like hot yoga that involve heat to sweat out impurities should be averted.
Lastly, on the things to consider during your pregnancy workout, you don’t want to involve any contact sports. While it may be fun to toss the football around with your other kids, it can be hazardous for the fetus. Other activities to avoid include scuba diving, horseback riding, gymnastics, cycling, and kickboxing.
7 Safe Workouts for Expectant Mothers + Tips
If you’re going to work with a personal trainer, which is advisable, you should let them know that you’re expecting upfront. They need to tailor your workout to your specific needs. Since you’re getting ready to bring a child into the world, you need some muscle strength in your pelvic floor.
1. Strengthen Core Muscles
During your workout, learning to breathe and control your core correctly will help you have reduced back pain during labor and delivery. As your baby grows, the fetus is putting pressure on the pelvic floor and your lungs. When you can learn to breathe correctly and keep core integrity, it will help you during labor and afterward.
2. Utilize Holistic Core Restore®
Have you ever heard of Holistic Core Restore®? Since you can’t do traditional abdominal crunches, you can work with a coach who will use your pelvic floor and core muscles throughout the workout. Using a unique series of movements, you can learn how to do modified abdominal exercises.
3. Engage in a Pre & Post Natal Class
You must learn ways to boost your health and recovery time before and after birth. A pre & post-natal class may be just what you need. Connecting with other women who are going through the same thing-provides a support group that is beneficial during this time in your life.
Additionally, you will have experts all around to advise you on the types of exercises that are safe for an expectant mother.
4. Work on the Glute Muscles
Your expanding bump causes an anterior tilt to your body. Thankfully, when you focus on strengthening the glute muscles, it can counteract this problem.
The goal is to keep the core active, which will help your tummy bounce back to its pre-pregnancy days. Some of the best exercises for this is using a Kettlebell or doing Romanian deadlifts.
5. Take a Few Laps
There’s nothing better than a nice soak in a refreshing swimming pool. By the time you reach your third trimester, you will appreciate the benefits the water gives you with your swollen feet and ankles. The weight of your stomach pulling towards the ground causes swelling as the circulation if off.
When you get into the water, your circulation improves and takes some pressure from your legs. You will especially enjoy this if it’s hot outside.
6. Primal Movements
Have you ever heard of primal movements? While you’re concerned about muscles strengthening and getting the best workout, you should learn these seven moves:
Since you need to learn how to squat for labor, it’s the perfect pregnancy workout. Mastering this move can help you work through those problematic contractions you will experience in labor. Using a kettlebell is a great way to work out those muscles in your back. Try to stick to a 12-kilogram bell as it’s better not to go too big. Try to incorporate exercises that fall within this category.
7. Make Sure Your Pregnancy Workout is Fun
When you don’t have a workout that you enjoy doing, you will find 100 excuses not to do it. Choose exercises that are fun and won’t cause you too much pain in your abdomen. If all else fails, hit the swimming pool every day. There are not too many people who don’t like to swim.
Don’t Forget to Cool Down Post-workout
While you’ve been busy building muscle strength and working your pelvic floor, your body has kicked into overdrive. It’s time to cool down and bring your systems back to a reasonable level.
The cooldown is essential because it allows the body to destress and help you get back in balance. If there were any temperature changes in the body, it would enable them to come down gradually. Remember, you don’t want any sudden temperature variations to the baby. Plus, after a good workout, it’s always good to stop and reflect as you rest.
To do a pregnancy workout that is safe for both you and your unborn child will require you to make some fitness modifications. However, it’s worth the adjustments as exercising is one of the most beneficial things you can do in pregnancy. Not only does it help you, but it also affects your baby’s health.
If you want to engage in a natural labor, then you can strengthen your core and pelvic floor. You can learn how to breathe better and control this ever-growing bump that is messing up your center of gravity. Lastly, it’s essential to talk to your midwife about your workout as there may be some things that are off-limits to you.
Since your pregnancy is unique, you don’t want to do anything that could harm you. While exercise is good, there are some things that you can’t do even if you’re in perfect health. It would help if you avoided things like high-intensity workouts, dangerous sports, and anything that requires you to lie on your back.
Lastly, try to keep your intensity at a 7 out of 10 to ensure you don’t harm the baby. The goal is to keep your core body temperature roughly the same as the variations could be devastating to your child. If you’re nervous about what you can and cannot do, just jump in the pool, take a load off, and relax.