Women undergo a number of physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. They put on weight, grow aversion to food, and get mood swings. Also her digestion becomes a problem and walking becomes sloth. She may also develop a low back pain. Her physical difficulties and discomforts continue to increase as her uterus increases in girth and culminates in the intense labour pain at the final stage. You cannot escape these problems as these are very much associated with pregnancy and growth of child. However, you can certainly try to cope better with these symptoms with the help of exercises. Exercises help to tone up and strengthen muscles and enhance muscle endurance.
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Benefits of Exercise During pregnancy
- Exercise during pregnancy may help you to-
- Carry the weight you gain during pregnancy
- Prepare your body for the painful labour
- Improve mood and gives energy
- Have a good nights’ sleep
- Get back into shape after delivery
Exercises You Must Do During Pregnancy
You should take extreme care while selecting and performing exercises during pregnancy. None of the exercises should be stressful for you. Moreover, you should not lie on your back for long time during the exercise. If you do so, the fetus may put pressure on the main blood vessel thereby making you vulnerable to fainting. Let us go through some of the beneficial exercises.
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Brisk walking is perhaps the only exercise that anybody in any physical condition can do and derive benefits. It also exercises your heart, but you need to walk a total of at least 30 minutes a day.
Swimming is mostly considered to be safe during pregnancy. It also exercises your arms and legs and works on your heart and lungs. The bump will also help you feel weightless in water; the bigger the bump the more weightless you are.
3} Exercise to control urine leakage
It is normal to leak urine with coughing and sneezing during pregnancy. To prevent this you can perform an exercise to control the relevant muscles. Sleep on your back and try to close the anal opening while at the same time trying to close the walls of your vagina as if it is trying to hold on to something. Try to maintain the contraction for few seconds and then relax the muscles. This will help you gain some control over the relevant muscles.
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This exercise strengthens the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. This exercise helps in strengthening the core muscles that may get weakened during pregnancy. However, you should practice it under the guidance of a good teacher.
Aerobics is good for you even if you are pregnant. It helps the heart pump more blood and therefore enhance your vitality. Take care of your joints, do light aerobics and just don’t fall over.
Dance is like aerobics only, but it has the additional element of rhythm and music. Switch on your favourite music and dance to its rhythm as long as you can do it without any stress. But the music must be light and the rhythm should not be very fast, otherwise you may injure yourself.
7} Pelvic stretch
Pelvic exercises are the most essential of all exercises since it is the pelvic muscles that are stretched to the maximum during pregnancy. If you can make these muscles strong and supple, you can withstand labor pain better. Sit on a chair with the feet firmly on the floor. Now stretch the legs apart to a comfortable distance and drag them to initial position. All the while keep the back straight.
8} Lifted pelvic stretch
Lie on your back and keep your ankles just on the edges of a table. Now tighten you buttock on one side and extend the corresponding leg upwards. Release the buttock and do the same with the other buttock and leg. All the while you should maintain the spine in a neutral position.
9} Get on all fours
This exercise strengthens the back muscles which are under increasing stress with your increasing bump. Get on all fours on a yoga mat with your hands and legs placed parallel to each other. Now pull the abdominal muscles inside and try to get the hip in line with the abdomen. Hold it for some time and then relax. Repeat until you are feeling stressed.
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Squats are a great way to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and reduce labor pain and discomfort. Take a deep breath before doing a squat position, stay in the position for few seconds and then come up. However, it is better to avoid these exercises at advanced levels of pregnancy.
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11} Kegels exercise
This involves simple contraction and release of pelvic muscles. Lie on your back, contract the pelvic muscles, hold the contraction for few seconds and then release. Repeat this as many times as you feel comfortable with. You can do it any time of the day and two to three times a day.