Studies have shown that getting a little exercise during your pregnancy can help ease fatigue, backaches, heartburn, and swollen ankles. Increasing your fitness levels can also make a lot of difference during labour, childbirth, and recovery. The Huffington Post points out that pregnancy is a very physical process and it pays to be prepared.
Get clearance from your midwife or doctor first before starting any exercise. You also need to make sure you have the right exercise clothes based on your routine. When it comes to your clothes, make sure you don’t feel restricted and the fabric is cool enough to allow your skin to breathe—after all, you wouldn’t want to overheat! Your maternity leggings need to be made from quality materials. Ideally, the design should be able to offer you full support around your baby bump so you can exercise with ease.
Now you have the right clothes here are some of the safest exercises you can try:
Fitness editor Anna Maltby believes strong tummy muscles help a lot during labour and it helps prevent diastasis, too. Sit on a fit ball with your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply, letting your chest expand. When you exhale, draw your bellybutton in as tight as you can. Then you can proceed to tilt your pelvis forward and upwards at least eight times, holding for a few seconds until you go back to the start position.
Babycentre reports that walking can keep you fit without hurting your knees and ankles. It also gives your heart a much-needed workout. If you want to maintain strength in your legs, you can do slow gentle squats in between short walks. Make sure you do this with someone who can help you up in case you find it hard to stand from the squats. Remember not to overexert yourself so don’t push yourself too hard when walking or squatting while pregnant.
Walking can also help you recover after you’ve given birth as it stimulates the blood flow back into your legs and feet. When you do finally welcome your child into the world, it is also a good opportunity to get them outside. You can take your baby with you during your daily walks so you can both get a little fresh air. If your baby is between the age of 6 and 18 months, an article by iCandy on the best prams for off-road adventures suggests that your child faces you while in the pushchair or pram. This is because babies at this age are “keen to watch its parent’s face” so that they can interact and learn to form facial expressions. Taking your baby out with you will create a stronger bond between you both and also help you get some good exercise in as well.
This is great if you want a full body workout that won’t put a strain on your joints. The water will support your body while also providing resistance. As your pregnancy progresses you can adjust the distance you swim. You don’t even need to be swimming. Simply standing in the water helps alleviate back pain and the swelling in your legs.
Stretching and strengthening
In our feature on a Pregnancy Yoga Class we mention that yoga prepares you physically, mentally, and spiritually for labour and motherhood. Doing it regularly can help you practice breathing techniques that will come in handy during childbirth. Breathing exercises can also help you get rid of fears, worries, and anxieties about entering this new chapter of your life, whether it’s about weight gain or being a good parent.
Low-impact cardio classes are great for pregnant women like you as it helps you get the stamina you will need during childbirth. Just make sure you don’t overexert yourself so you don’t harm your joints. Water aerobics is also a great choice. It strengthens your heart and lungs, not to mention helps maintain muscle tone.