Before you begin a prenatal exercise program, it’s a good idea to consult with your health care provider or midwife. They can tell you if you have any conditions that might make it unsafe for you to exercise on a regular basis. Generally speaking, however, “healthy pregnant women are encouraged to exercise regularly, 3–4 times a week, for 30 minutes”.
An “IDEAL” and effective exercise program during pregnancy should combine:
1. Pregnancy conditioning exercises: to help the body adapt to the changes it is going through and to prepare for labor
2. Low impact aerobic: to help improve heart and lung function and increase energy levels
3. Strength training: to help maintain muscle tone and strength, which can help with the many common discomforts experienced during pregnancy, like back pain and fatigue.
The best pregnancy conditioning exercises target the muscles most affected by pregnancy. These exercises can help you stay in good condition during pregnancy, help you use the muscles more effectively during birth, and speed your postpartum recovery. Some conditioning exercises include pelvic floor contractions (i.e.: kegels), squatting and pelvic tilts.
As a pregnant woman, your body is going through a lot of changes. Your tolerance for exercise might be different from it was before you were pregnant. Keep this in mind when choosing an exercise program. Your body is different now, and your exercise regime should reflect these changes.
Choosing safe activities or exercises during pregnancy is crucial due to hormonal changes, softening of connective tissues, and changes in center of gravity. The heart has to work harder to pump blood when pregnant, so it is easy to overheat.
As your pregnancy progresses, you will need to take certain precautions with your exercise program to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Preference should be given to exercises that do not involve jumping, bouncing, or leaving the ground. It’s important to avoid strenuous physical activity during pregnancy, especially those that may cause trauma to your abdomen or increase the risk of falling. This is because a fall during pregnancy can be life-threatening for both the mother and baby.
There are certain activities that should be excluded altogether until you have had your baby, such as:
Aerobic dance classes, kickboxing aerobics, rollerblading, and amusement park rides are all great examples of ways to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Sports like skiing, gymnastics, horseback riding, scuba diving, and contact sports require deep abdominal breathing and spinal rotation. To achieve this, it’s essential to breathe using your rib cage and your back muscles. This type of breathing can enhance your posture and overall health. Snowboarding, surfing, and waterskiing are all excellent examples of ways to enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise.
Kelly Mcbride is an expert in postpartum weight loss for new and expecting mothers, as well as mommy and me classes. She is also a master Pilates instructor for pregnant and postpartum women, and a pelvic floor Pilates rehabilitation specialist. In addition, she specializes in healthy pregnancy exercises and safe pregnancy exercise classes.