Studies have shown that remaining fit and active whilst pregnant can have very real benefits for both mother and baby. Some mothers, however, are reluctant to exercise once they discover they are expecting and worry that by working out they are choosing their own well-being over that of their child. Fortunately, this is not the case and it is not only possible to keep active when pregnant, it’s also incredibly easy. You just need to know which exercises to do.
One of the best things about cycling is that you get to enjoy various views and vistas while getting in some good cardio. Unfortunately, road-cycling is best avoided when pregnant, especially as you enter into the final few months. It may not be as exciting, but using an indoor bicycle places less strain on the feet, ankles and legs, and allows the user to set their own pace and level of resistance.
Lastly, the chance of falling off an indoor cycle is considerably lower than while riding a road bike, and the possibility of being involved in a road-traffic collision is zero (unless you live on a main road but even then the likelihood is remote).
The ideal exercise for women at any stage of pregnancy, swimming provides a full-body workout and can be carried out solo or with a friend. One of the best things about swimming is that it can be done at any pace or intensity. If you want to wear yourself out then you can, however, if you just want a leisurely paddle then you can do that too. Either way, your whole body is active.
What’s more, the human body weighs roughly 1/10th of its usual weight when in water, making a pool the best friend of women who are nearing their due date.
Weightlifting whilst pregnant is perfectly safe so long as you do not put your body under too much strain. Rather than developing strength with a low reps-high weight approach, you will want to opt for high reps-low weight and thereby focus on toning. Adopting this approach shall help to burn calories and keep your muscles active without taxing yourself too much.
Though not entirely necessary, we’d recommend working out on machines rather than free-weights when pregnant. This is because weight machines tend to isolate muscle groups and limit their range of motion, effectively reducing the chances of sustaining an injury.
While perhaps not the most exciting activity, walking does not require a gym membership and is one of the safest and effective exercises you can do. It is possible to set your own pace while walking, making it ideal for any trimester, and you can easily map out different routes to help keep thing interesting day-after-day.
Pushing yourself when pregnant is never recommended, however, if you were an avid runner before becoming pregnant, walking briskly, jogging or even a light-run will not do you or your baby any harm. Just make sure you stick to level terrain and keep an eye out for tripping hazards.
A lot of women complain about stiffness and joint pain while pregnant, which are fortunately two things that yoga is especially good at helping with. Incorporating various stretches, techniques and movements, yoga helps to keep the body limber and supple while encouraging deep relaxation, meditative breathing and mental focus.
Prenatal yoga can be carried out at home, but can also be a social activity in which expectant mothers get the chance to meet and mingle. Simply hop onto Google to find a gym or fitness studio hosting prenatal yoga sessions in your area, we’re sure you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Swimming is not the only way for pregnant women to stay fit while enjoying the support provided by being submerged in water. Aqua Aerobics incorporates many exercises and activities commonly carried out in gyms, albeit adapted for being carried out in a pool. The benefit of aqua aerobics is it places less strain on the body’s joints but moving through water provides additional resistance, making exercise effective but not strenuous.
Most gyms with a swimming pool facility will offer aqua aerobic classes and some will even offer prenatal aqua aerobic sessions. If you decide to take part in the former, make sure you inform whoever is running the session that you’re pregnant. This is a good safety precaution to take as there may be some elements of the class that are unsafe for pregnant women to partake in.
Whether you’re carrying out one of the exercises listed above or are trying something different, you should be fine so long as you workout safely. For more information on how to remain fit safely as you carry your baby to term, read our 5 essential safety tips for exercising whilst pregnant.