Being pregnant can feel a bit like an alien invader has taken over your body. Yes, it’s a beautiful, wondrous miracle, but it’s also incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes even a little scary. That’s why in addition to prepping your house with diaper bags and a baby nursery, exercise should be a part of your pregnancy process! Regular exercise can not only help you deal with all the changes in your body physically but keep you balanced and calm emotionally as well. Everyone has to release negative energy somehow, and exercise is a great way to do it. Luckily, we have a list of safe pregnancy workouts perfect for pregnant women in any trimester. Just make sure you clear any plans with your doctor before going all in.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
There are many benefits to committing to a regular exercise routine, not the least of which is your health and wellness. And, many of these workouts can act as postpartum exercises to help you feel like you again after birth. But exercising while pregnant has other benefits too, like:
- Prevent excessive baby weight gain. It’s easy to slip into poor habits and justify it as “eating for two” but the reality is it is dangerous for your health to put on too much weight during pregnancy.
- Prevent your baby from growing too large before delivery. A larger baby can cause more complications, so while you definitely don’t want your baby to be underweight or arrive prematurely, you also don’t want him to be too large before going into labor.
- Reduce the risks of gestational diabetes. This diagnosis is no joke, but a regular exercise regimen can help in reducing your risks.
- Reduce pregnancy edema and preeclampsia, which only serves to make pregnancy comfier to for you. Both can lead to major fluid retention and swelling, and preeclampsia can trigger dangerously high blood pressure.
- Reduce the need for a c-section. Some women are adamant about a natural birth and regular physical activity can help you successfully achieve it.
- Help you bounce back to your pre-baby bod easier and help your stamina as you’re in labor.
Really, are there any downsides? There’s no denying that a regular exercise regimen, even if it’s super basic, is beneficial to both you and your baby’s health. Why wouldn’t you want to make it a regular habit?
If there’s one aerobic exercise any mother-to-be can engage in, regardless of fitness levels, it’s swimming. Not only is swimming safe, but the buoyancy of the water helps to eliminate the stress you may be feeling on your ligaments, joints, and muscles as your body adjusts and shifts to accommodate your growing baby. Since all the hormones make your joints and ligaments a little more loose than normal, the risk of injury is easy in pregnancy.
With swimming, there’s very little risk of injury and the best part is you can get a total body workout without breaking a sweat! It allows you to workout while also taking some of the pain off of your knees and ankles. You can try a water aerobics class or go old school and swim laps. Either way, there are not many downsides unless you absolutely hate water.
Low-intensity floor exercises like pregnancy yoga is where it’s at when it comes to keeping your body strong and limber throughout your pregnancy. What’s more, it prepares you for labor and may even make labor easier. It can also possibly prevent preterm labor, which is extremely comforting for nervous new moms. Of course, there are tons of other benefits to prenatal yoga, like calming your mind, soothing your spirit, and helping to connect you with gratitude for your baby and your body.
If you struggle with any mental health issues, like depression or anxiety, yoga can help you manage it and possibly help prevent postpartum depression. However, always practice safety first and remember that as that bump grows, your balance can be thrown off. Stick with poses that don’t require you to lie flat on your back or challenge your balance and be careful not to overdo anything. You can even try a yoga ball to help get into a particular yoga pose. Just be careful if you’re in your later term not to lose your balance during pregnancy exercises with a ball for risk of falling and accidentally hurting yourself.
We know, walking seems so… tame. But, can you run while pregnant? Running while pregnant can be difficult for many women, so walking is an excellent form of physical activity no matter your situation. Pregnant women, in particular, find it helpful because it’s easily adjustable to your fitness levels. You can try brisk walking, simply walk slower or decrease your distance if you’re feeling fatigued or like the walk is too intense. Just be sure to invest in a great pair of walking shoes with plenty of support. Your toots will thank you!
When attempting these safe pregnancy workouts, remember to stay hydrated and stop if you're experiencing pain of any kind. Whatever pregnancy exercises you choose to engage in, remember to keep them simple, consult your doctor and not freak out if you can’t handle your normal intensity levels. All women are different in each trimester of pregnancy so if physical activity is difficult for you, that's okay. That just means it’s time to take it easy and allow nature to take its course.