Exercise during pregnancy: How to exercise safely through each trimester
Exercising during pregnancy is safe and beneficial to both mother and baby.
A healthy mom births a healthy baby. Keep fit to make yourself and your baby strong.
Exercise holds great benefits for pregnant women. Exercise keeps you in shape for childbirth by regulating weight gain and prepare you for more weight bearing.
Late pregnancy exercise helps prepare mother and child for a smooth delivery.
First trimester exercises
Exercise for expectant mothers doesn’t have to be rigorous. First trimester exercises can help overcome the backaches and leg pains that come with early pregnancy.
Take a walk
Walking is a superb exercise for expectant mothers. Take a walk for 20-30 minutes every day. Don’t overdo it, you can start by walking for 10minutes. To make it more fun, you can walk with a gist partner and you will be surprised at how enjoyable it is.
Swimming is a great exercise for pregnant women in their first trimester. It is quite enjoyable and has a great benefit on the mother’s cardiovascular system as it strengthens the heart.
It helps to relax and prevent aches and pains by supporting body weight. It is advisable for expectant mothers to swim for about 20 minutes at least three times a week. Enjoy swimming!
Engage in prenatal yoga in your first trimester to help keep relaxation and practice breathing that will be necessary during delivery.
Restorative poses in yoga may help reduce early morning sickness. Avoid backbends, hot yoga, and poses that twist the abdomen.
Kegel exercise targets the pelvic floor muscles and it tones and strengthens these important muscles.
To do your Kegel exercise, pull your muscles to contract as though you are stopping mid-way through urinating.
Now, hold that contraction for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax your muscles. Repeat this set 5 times and aim to do it 2 to 3 times throughout the day.
These exercises are safe to be done in the second trimester;
Stand with your hands stretched out in front, keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Then squat down pulling in your abdominal muscles and feet firmly on the ground. Breathe out as you go down and in as you lift from the ground.
Stand upright keeping your legs in front of you with slightly bent knees. Lower your upper body to your left knee slowly supporting your left hand on your knee.
Put your right arm straight down, keep your elbow close to your body lifting your arm up to the ceiling. Repeat 20 times for each arm.
Low impact exercises are best during the third trimester.
The third trimester is not the best time to be doing rigorous exercises like jogging, skipping and all other exercises done with high intensity.
Expectant mothers at this stage are advised to perform low impact exercises like yoga, barre, pilates, and aqua exercises.
Lie on the floor with your back almost flat, don’t arch your back or tilt your pelvis too forward. Bend your knees. Breath in.
While breathing out, contract your pelvic floor muscles lifting your belly button up towards your spine. Make the contraction gentle and maintain it for 10 seconds.
Never hold your breath through this exercise (or any other exercise for that matter) and relax gently. Repeat 10 times.
Pilates basically gives you a stable core by strengthening your deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles. While doing Pilates, be careful not to twist your midsection.
Aqua sports and gentle aerobics
Aqua exercises are excellent for mothers in their third trimester to build aerobic capacity and a strong core.
You could do lap swimming which effectively works against pains and aches by reducing the pressure on your leg and back.
You can also get an instructor to help you develop a routine.
The key here is to stay fit and healthy throughout your entire pregnancy and to keep moving.
Make sure not to overdo any of these exercises. While nothing can guarantee an easy labor and delivery, these exercises should help you a long way in getting close to an easier and smoother labor.