Amazing Benefits Of Exercise During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a crucial time to take care of your body. Since you are growing another human being inside of you, you must stay healthy. This time is the perfect period to switch to healthy habits such as having a nutritious diet, staying hydrated, maintaining a good sleeping pattern, and doing regular exercise. Most doctors recommend continuously doing exercise during pregnancy because of its benefits. Constant physical movement is a must since exercise during pregnancy benefits the mother by alleviating body pains, toning the muscles, and boosting the mood and level of energy.

Below is a list of the different types of exercise that can deliver enormous benefits during pregnancy. However, before getting into any workout, we have an important reminder. Our community, Preggy to Mommy, strongly advises you to consult your doctor before engaging in these activities. There are specific exercises that your physician may not allow you to do. Doing too strenuous activities may harm you or your baby.

Your hormones are going to be all over the place during the first trimester of your pregnancy. You will be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, elated one moment then sad the next. Do not fret. Doing exercise during pregnancy benefits the mood of an expectant mother. These mood swings are a normal occurrence because of the hormonal changes that your body is going through. 

A cardio exercise during pregnancy benefits the mother because it stabilizes your mood, especially within the first trimester. Cardio exercises for the pregnant include biking, swimming, and jogging. Cardio exercises include any activities that can get your heart rate up and running. You may tone it down a bit if you feel tired than usual. You don’t have to do it all at once if you are not used to exercising. While these activities are undoubtedly beneficial for you and your baby, make sure you warm up first and cool down.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s a good idea to aim for 150 minutes of exercise every week. That’s only about 20 minutes per day!

exercise during pregnancy

1. Aerobics

This exercise is also cardio. But it’s a bit more engaging since it includes beats from listening to music while exercising. This exercise comes in different forms. Aerobics includes Zumba classes, brisk walking, jogging, and other activities that follow upbeat songs’ rhythm. This exercise is perfect if you are the type of person who feels motivated by funky and pop beats. You will surely benefit from this exercise and is pregnant-friendly when done right. Aerobics in general can help improve flexibility, and exercise may reduce joint pain according to the ACOG.

If you are in the first trimester of your pregnancy, let the trainer know that you are pregnant. Through this, they can provide a pregnant-safe class for you. Aerobic instructors usually offer a less strenuous program for pregnant women designed to benefit your pregnancy journey. They can shorten a 30-minute routine to 15-minutes. When doing any form of workout, make sure always to bring a water bottle. It will help keep you and your baby hydrated during and after the session. Try to avoid sudden movements or changes in direction. Doing this may cause you to lose your balance and slip or fall. 

2. Cycling

Cycling is also a type of exercise that you will surely enjoy. It also has many benefits during pregnancy despite its low-impact aerobic activity. This activity usually works best in the first trimester since your stomach has not fully-grown yet. As you go along in the next months of your pregnancy, this exercise may seem harder since it requires balance. 

At one point, your tummy will grow bigger more than you can manage, and you will have to shift to another workout eventually.

Carrying another human inside your body may easily cause you fatigue. If you feel tired, you can always tone down and rest. You can also place a water bottle on your bike or beside you (if you are using a stationary bike) to make sure that you won’t get dehydrated while cycling.

For more information about the first trimester of pregnancy, check this article.

3. Pilates

Carrying a baby in your tummy might give you bad posture because of the weight of your baby. As an expecting mother, one of the perks of this exercise is improving your posture. Another beneficial thing about this exercise is it helps increase the chance of normal delivery. There were also claims that Pilates minimizes and decrease the pains and aches while you are expecting. 

Pilates helps stretch and strengthen your muscles for you to cope with the extra weight brought about by your growing baby. It will also prepare you for when your body is ready to deliver the baby and the path to recovering from it afterward.

If you prefer to do Pilates as an exercise during pregnancy, make sure that you get a trusted instructor with a specific program for expecting mothers like you. A qualified instructor will know the suitable practices for those who are pregnant. They can adjust movements accordingly, depending on the trimester you are in.

4. Running/Jogging

If you were able to run or jog even before you got pregnant, running or jogging will surely benefit your pregnancy since it’s good for your heart and lungs; two internal organs at risk before and during the delivery of your baby. However, you have to remember that the goal of running at this time is to maintain your current level of fitness.  This activity will not only be beneficial to you but to your baby as well. Make sure to continually check yourself to prevent overheating.

You may also do the “talk test” when running to ascertain if your lungs can still keep up from this activity. State a sentence without gasping for air, and if you do, you should ease up a bit. Remember to stretch a bit and warm up before going for a run, and cool down right after. It is also best to run in the mornings when the sun isn’t too high yet, or in the afternoon when the sun sets to avoid any possibility of heatstroke.

Your joints are a bit more solid when you were not pregnant yet, and they start to loosen up as time goes by until you successfully deliver your baby. It means that there is a higher risk for joint injuries, so you have to take extra care when running to reduce the risk of falling. On the other hand, you do not have to worry that your baby bump is going up and down when you run because they are very secured in the womb.

5. Strength Exercises That Benefits Pregnancy

Contrary to what most people believe, strength exercises during pregnancy benefit, expecting mothers to tone their muscles and increase their stamina, which helps during labor. One example of a strength exercise is yoga. However, you don’t necessarily need to enroll in a gym or do yoga to do this exercise. You can do necessary strength activities/exercises in the comfort of your own home, like walking up and down the stairs carefully, gardening, doing squats with small dumbbells, push-ups, etc.

A significant benefit of strength exercises is that it prepares you to be ready to push the little one outside of your womb. During pregnancy, you need all your body strength to move (for normal delivery), minimize body ache as your baby bump grows, and prepare your body for all the lifting and carrying once your little one is born.

Just remember that while these are beneficial activities to strengthen your body for you and your baby, you should take extra care in choosing what your body can only manage. Avoid exercises that require too much weight, such as CrossFit training, deadlifts, press, and the like. The NHS also recommends swimming, as the water can help support your increased weight. As aforementioned, let your trainer know if you are pregnant since they may have a particular program for you.

Maximizing the Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy 

There are many more exercises that you can do during the nine months that you are carrying that blessing inside your womb that will be beneficial for your health and your little one. Just remember to do the following:

1. Do not overexert or strain yourself during the performance of these exercises/activities;

2. Bring a water bottle with you while you are exercising to keep you hydrated;

3. Wear appropriate clothing to minimize the risk of injuring yourself and your baby. There are pregnant-friendly workout clothes that you can buy

4. Focus on how you and your baby can benefit from these exercises so you would be able to develop a sound technique than focusing on achieving a faster pace;

5. Ask your obstetrician-gynecologist if these activities are suitable for your pregnancy. Everyone has different bodies and different needs, and a move that may work out for a mom-to-be that you heard of or saw online may not work out for you.

To get the best benefits of exercise during pregnancy, make sure that you undertake appropriate workout activities. If unsure, never hesitate to ask your doctor about it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Kathy Urbanski

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