Best Exercises And Workouts During Pregnancy

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If you only see exercise as a way to lose weight, you might need to adjust your goals once you find out you’re expecting. Exercise can keep you in shape during pregnancy and help you get ready for birth and delivery. The topics covered in this pregnancy fitness guide include how to get started and keep up motivation.

pregnancy exercises and workouts

The period leading up to and during pregnancy may seem ideal for unwinding. You’re probably grumpier than normal, and your back may hurt from carrying additional weight. Sitting around will not help unless you are facing issues. In fact, even if you haven’t worked out in a while, pregnancy might be a fantastic time to start.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that exercise during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of

  • preterm delivery
  • extra weight gain after a cesarean section
  • Preeclampsia or gestational diabetes or 
  •  other hypertension conditions
  • decreased birth weight

Furthermore, it’s a great approach to:

  • preserve physical fitness
  • lessen lower back discomfort 
  • control the signs of sadness and anxiety
  • lessen tension
  • enhance postnatal recovery

Specific exercises can be included in each stage to help the body adjust to its physical changes and get ready for a quicker return to activity after delivery.

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Safety Advice For Exercising While Expecting

When thinking about workouts for pregnancy, there aren’t many that need to be dropped from your current regimen.

In light of this, the ACOG offers the following basic safety advice to take into account when exercising while pregnant:

  • If you’ve never exercised before or suffer from any health complications that would make it dangerous for you to exercise, ask your doctor for clearance.
  • Water is essential to consume before, through, and after training.
  • Put on supporting apparel, such as a belly band or a supportive sports bra.
  • Avoid overheating, particularly in the first trimester.
  • When pregnant, especially in the third trimester, try to limit the amount of time you spend lying flat on your back.
  • Eliminate hot yoga and contact sports.

Pregnancy Exercises For The First-Trimester

Pregnancy’s first three months may be an emotional roller coaster. As you begin to realize that you are responsible for this tiny, soon-to-be human being’s care and well-being, you may feel a range of emotions, from ecstasy and pure delight to anxiety and even terror. 

While expecting, the ACOG advises against engaging in physically demanding activities unless you are accustomed to doing so and are in good physical condition. Violent exercise directs blood and oxygen away from the uterus and toward the muscles. 

You are allowed to continue exercising normally during the first trimester if your pregnancy is not considered high-risk.

Pregnant women ought to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day of the week, if not more often. A comprehensive prenatal fitness program should start with at least 150 minutes of weekly aerobic exercise and two to three days of muscular endurance activities that concentrate on the primary muscle regions.

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Furthermore, it must support particular exercises that can ease pregnancy and prepare you for delivery. 

For starters, walking is an excellent kind of exercise. It offers mild aerobic fitness while putting a little strain on your joints. Swimming, low-impact aerobics, and stationary cycling are other beneficial options. When using fairly light weights, weightlifting is also acceptable.

Stretching, warming up, and cooling down should not be overlooked. Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, and keep an eye out for heat exhaustion.

Working on body awareness is one area that is crucial in order to get ready for changes in posture. Exercises like the pelvic curl are a phenomenal way to start improving spinal flexibility and building the abdominal muscles that will maintain your expanding belly. Pelvic twist

  • Pelvic curl
  • a pelvic brace
  • Kneeling pushups
  • Squats 
  • Do bicep curls
  • traditional pushups

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) should be postponed because it’s an easy way to tire yourself out in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Sports involving contact or other potentially traumatic exercises should be avoided.

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Pregnancy Exercise Recommendations During The Second Trimester

You could have a sense of tranquility and perhaps a boost in energy over the following few weeks after it sinks in that you’re in this for the foreseeable future.

You should exercise slightly more cautiously now that your uterus is growing.

Avoid high-impact exercises that require leaping, sprinting, balancing, or tiredness during the second trimester. Any exercise that requires you to spend a lot of time lying on your back should also be avoided.

Consider adding some squat variants, such as single-leg squats, wide stance squats, and narrow squats, in addition to the workouts from the first trimester. The incline pushup, which tones the chest, shoulders, and triceps, is another exercise to include in this trimester.

Now that the core foundation has been established, it is much easier to train the core as the abdomen expands.

Pregnancy Exercises During The Third Trimester

You’ll undoubtedly notice a slowing, if not occasionally an abrupt stop, as your body starts preparing for labor and delivery during the third trimester. This is an excellent time to focus on cardiovascular exercises, keep your flexibility, and strengthen your core with

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exercising, swimming, and prenatal yoga, Pilates bodyweight movements for the pelvic floor

Your upper and lower body muscles will remain strong thanks to them.

Watching for warning signals of a problem is almost as vital as exercising. Stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Uterine bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • breathing becomes more difficult before exercising
  • chest pain

Other red flags to look out for are:

  • Constipation Urinary leakage or gushing fluid during restless uterine contractions
  • swelling or calf discomfort
  • Balance is impacted by muscle weakening

A Sensible Decision

Regular exercise will help you prepare for the challenges ahead by coping with the physical changes brought on by pregnancy. If you haven’t started exercising consistently yet, use your upcoming pregnancy as motivation. Maintaining a strong core, toned muscles, and a healthy cardiovascular system may be accomplished by engaging in some type of exercise most days of the week. Additionally, it can improve your mental health tremendously. 

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References 

  1. Artal R. Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 26, 2019.
  2. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/. Accessed May 26, 2019.
  3. Gregg VH, et al. Exercise during pregnancy. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2017;36:741.
  4. Madden CC, et al., eds. The female athlete In: Netter’s Sports Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 26, 2019.
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice Committee Opinion No. 650: Physical activity and exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;126:e135.
  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 
  7. Cates B. (2020). Personal interview.
  8. Exercise during pregnancy. (2020).
    acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/exercise-during-pregnancy
  9. Jeffcoat H. (2020). Personal interview.
  10. Physical activity guidelines for Americans. (2019).
    hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html
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