According to the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is recommended that expecting moms get at least 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day. Exercising frequently will increase blood circulation, improve muscle tone and increase your endurance. All 3 of these benefits you’ll be thankful for come delivery day! When you’re expecting, it is very important to keep moving. Pregnant women who exercise have also found to have less back pain, more energy, and a better body image. They also may have quicker deliveries and experience a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape.
Keeping up an exercise routine while you’re pregnant doesn’t require a fancy gym or yoga membership (although you can do that if you’d like!). Some of the workouts suggested can be done at home or on breaks at work. It all comes down to being disciplined and making sure you’re getting enough activity to keep yourself and baby healthy!
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to fit into your fitness routine and busy schedule. Taking a walk in the morning, in the evening or breaking up your day into three 10 minute walks easily gets you to the daily recommended exercise amount! This is a great workout that is easy on your joints and is something you can continue right up until your delivery date. You don’t need any gym membership or special equipment, just a good pair of sneakers! Be sure to listen to your body and don’t overdo it. If things are feeling weird, take a break or head back home. Make sure you’re walking at a decent pace to get your heart rate up and the blood really flowing to get even more of the benefits of a brisk walk.
Yoga is great during pregnancy as it keeps you flexible, helps to open up your pelvis, strengthens your core and can help with muscle endurance as you’re holding poses. Specifically, prenatal yoga will help with a shifted center of gravity and lower back pain. The breathing and centering components of yoga can also add to your overall well being. There are certain yoga poses that expectant moms should avoid, so be sure to do your research or ask your instructor before class begins. A few poses that are safe for expecting moms are supported triangle pose, cat-cow pose, child’s pose, mountain pose, downward dog and warrior 2 pose. Our favorite thing to do is go on YouTube and search ‘prenatal yoga’ and follow the sequences. Easy peasy!
Swimming might be one of the most favored workouts by a pregnant woman due to the weightless feeling of being in the water. In the water, you weigh less than you do on land, so you’ll feel lighter and your joints will feel less pressure. Since baby will be floating with you, swimming is gentle on your loosening joints and ligaments. A dip in the pool can also relieve nausea, sciatic pain, and puffy, swollen ankles.
If you’re looking for a good workout, try doing a few laps in the pool. Just be sure if you’re experiencing diastasis recti that you don’t do any exercises that cause your abdomen to ‘cone’ and increase the splitting of the abs. We don’t recommend diving or jumping in, as your baby isn’t equipped to handle the changes in altitude of diving into a pool’s deep in. Just ease your way in, mama!
Lifting weights is safe during pregnancy, given that you keep the weights very light and listen to your body. Strength training is safe and a great way to maintain muscle tone during pregnancy. Weight machines are ideal because they control your range of motion. During pregnancy, your joints are looser thanks to relaxin, and it is easy to move outside of your normal range. However, if you’re accustomed to doing free weight exercises, you can continue doing them. Steer away from any machine with a pad that presses against your belly, or doing any exercises where you’re laying on your back after the 2nd trimester. Also, be sure to avoid any exercise that includes an overhead lift since this motion increases the curve in your spine.
Your best bet might be to mix up a few of these different workout options to keep your joints loose and flexible (yoga) while building muscle (weight lifting) and keeping your endurance up (walking!). You’ll never regret exercising, but you’ll definitely regret not exercising when it comes time to deliver your baby!