5 Great Pregnancy Exercises
Oh the joy of being pregnant. The miracle of life, the anticipation of sweet little smiles, and the inevitable “glow” that comes with all that joy. And while pregnancy is indeed an exciting and wonderful season to enjoy, there are also some big adjustments that come with it. As your body changes to accommodate this growing human, so must many of your lifestyle choices (ahem…red wine and sushi temporarily put on hold). But your commitment to fitness doesn’t have to be one of those sacrifices. In fact, a big part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy is maintaining a safe and healthy level of activity. The key word here is safe. And while you should always consult your physician about your specific needs, it is reassuring to know that there are so many ways to continue your fitness journey safely and reap all the amazing benefits for you and baby too! So, here’s a quick guide to pregnancy safe workouts and guidelines for each trimester:
Unless your doctor has advised bed rest due to complications, not much really needs to change in these first 3 months. There are two factors to keep in mind. 1) This is not the time to begin a new challenge. That marathon training or personal best in weightlifting may need to wait until postpartum. 2) Your energy is zapped. The first trimester is notorious for hormone driven fatigue. So when you feel like you need a rest day, take it!
At this point, you’re likely starting to develop a bit of a bump. Ligaments are stretching, which can cause abdominal pain, and the hormone relaxing is amping up, which can lead to muscle injury. Listen to your body and take rest and/or modifications when needed (this is no time to be a showoff in that HIIT class). Also note that many doctors recommend nixing back lying exercises and traditional crunches and sit-ups at this point. But for the most part, you can continue with your pre-pregnancy routines so long as you still feel comfortable.
Okay, this is where you need to start to take a few precautions and get a little creative with your workout routine. The good news is that many women feel a surge in energy in this last trimester and medical professionals believe that maintaining a healthy level of physical activity through these last few months may even help make labor and delivery a little easier. Push baby, push!
So, what are the safest and most effective exercises for pregnancy? We’ve rounded up the top five for you:
- Cycle/Spin – Indoor cycling is such a great form of cardio for pregnant women because it is low impact and high reward. If you love the intensity of a high energy, sweaty workout, this is a great choice for you.
- Yoga – Centering your body and mind through yoga practice is so essential when you’re expecting. The deep breathing, light stretching, and mindfulness aspects of this format are perfect for pregnancy. Be sure to let your instructor know that you’re pregnant so that they can offer modifications and props such as yoga blocks or extra padding when needed.
- Swimming – Gliding through the cool waters, enjoying the weightlessness of your ever-growing body, and giving those overworked joints and ligaments a rest make swimming a must try activity for expecting moms. Super low impact cardio that’s also relaxing–win, win.
- Weight Training – Don’t ditch those weights! Building and maintaining lean muscle is an integral part of any healthy lifestyle. You may have to lower the bar, or weight thereof, but stick with those weight reps for a fitter pregnancy and quicker postpartum recovery.
- Planks – Remember sit-ups…yeah those are pretty much impossible now. But the good news is that you can still get a great core workout with simple plank work. If a full plank is a little much, try going down to your forearms and/or taking your knees to the ground for more support.
The bottom line is this: whether you’re a fitness pro or just embarking on your fitness journey, exercise is good for body and mind, mommy and baby. So don’t be afraid to hit the gym in those maternity leggings and get your exercise game on!
Facebook: Chelsea Hoopaugh
About the Author: Chelsea Hoopaugh is a mother, wife, copywriter, FITNESS PROJECT GROUP exercise instructor, and lover of all things health and fitness.