The pregnant woman’s body undergoes dramatic changes as she carries a child to term.
While it’s true that you may be in a more delicate condition than in your normal state, pregnancy must not be a deterrent for you to seek a stronger body. In fact, exercising during pregnancy has a lot of benefits, which include returning to your pre-baby weight, keeping healthy and having a lot more energy – things you all need after giving birth!
Things to Keep in Mind
Before undertaking any type of exercise routine, you must first check with your gynecologist. Your doctor will give you a list of options that are best for you and your baby. Your doctor will also advise you to avoid exercises that involve jumping, leaping, sudden movements or those with risk of abdominal injury. You will probably need an exercise instructor and a strict diet if you have a history of:
- Cardiac or respiratory disease
- Pre-existing diabetes condition or diabetes developed during pregnancy
- Have a history of premature labor
- High blood pressure, either before pregnancy or during pregnancy
- Placenta previa, or the condition where the baby’s placenta is placed over or near your cervix
- Physical disabilities or skeletal and muscular impairments
- You should also use a good sports bra to provide support for your expanding chest area. Proper rubber shoes should also be use to provide support and lessen the impact of the exercise on your feet and legs, which is very important since you are carrying extra weight. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Exercise during mornings, when it is cooler.
Exercising while pregnant should make you feel refreshed and invigorated, not tired. If you feel discomfort, breathlessness or pain in any way, stop exercising altogether. Check again with your doctor which exercise are most suitable for you.
Once you’ve taken the necessary precautions, it’s time to exercise.
Warm-Up. Don’t take your body by surprise by going into heavy exercise suddenly. Do these warm-up exercises for five to ten minutes.
Calf Stretch. Face a solid wall and place your palms flat against it, arms shoulder-width apart. Put one foot a step in front of the other, hip-width apart. The leg behind must be fully extended. Bend your forward leg gradually, counting to ten until you feel the leg behind fully stretched. Hold this pose for ten counts and repeat with the other leg.
Arm Stretch. Stretch one arm completely over your chest, and lock it with your other arm by crossing over it vertically. Hold this pose for ten counts before repeating with the other arm.
Head and Shoulder Rotation. For head rotation, drop your head in front and slowly rotate it backwards and forwards again. Do this clockwise for five counts and counterclockwise for another five. For shoulder rotation, roll your shoulders backward repeatedly for five counts, and forwards for another five. Do not arch your back while doing this exercise.
Aerobic and Strength Exercises. These exercises aim to make you stronger in your pregnant state and increase your stamina. You may do these exercises in 20 to 30 minutes, and even to an hour, depending on what your doctor prescribes.
Brisk Walking. Walk around the block at a brisk pace, or the most comfortable pace your body needs to break out into a light sweat.
Inner Thigh Lifts. Lie down on one side, supporting your head with one arm or a pillow. Bend the leg resting directly on the ground for balance, and then slowly lift the other leg up as far as you can. Hold for five counts before returning to place. Repeat for another ten counts before doing the same with the opposite leg.
Swimming. Swim in the comfort of your own home by standing with your feet hip-width apart, one foot in front of the other by two steps. “Swim” through the water by raising one arm up fully and diving to the opposite side of your body, your body twisting to follow through, like a crawl stroke. Do this for ten counts, shift feet and repeat on the other side.
Wall Push Ups. Find a solid wall where it can support your weight. Put your palms flat against the wall, shoulder-width apart, with bent elbows. From your feet to your palms, angle yourself so that you will be slightly over 90 degrees leaning into the wall from the floor. Slowly push yourself off the wall and return to the original position for ten counts.
Cool Down. Cooling down is necessary to bring your body back to its normal pace. Here are a few exercises you can do:
Plies. Stand straight with your toes pointing out and your heels slightly pointing to each other, feet hip-width apart. Your arms should be held overhead. Slowly bend your knees with your back straight, and stop before your knees get further than your toes. As you bend, your arms should slowly go down, and end in a rounded position, as if you are releasing a fish into water. Slowly come up and as you do, bring your arms overhead like a ballerina. Hold this position and repeat.
Leg Stretch. Support yourself against a solid wall, bend a leg backward and hold the bent leg’s foot for a few counts. Do the same for the other.
Do these exercises every other day. You may also want to enroll in water aerobics or pregnancy yoga, which have specific routines for pregnant women.