Scientists claim that moderate training during pregnancy decreases different risks, like lower back pain, depression, cesarean delivery, urinary incontinence and many others. But if a woman has any health complications or she has never trained before, she should do it very carefully to avoid harming herself or the baby. So where is the golden mean?
At Bright Side, we have collected some exercises every pregnant woman should be able to perform, even if she’s new to all this sports stuff. And there’s a little bonus waiting for you at the end of the article, so be sure to read until the end!
1. Don’t feel heavy – be like a butterfly.
The butterfly exercise is one of the easiest key exercises to do for a healthy delivery. It eases tired legs, opens up the pelvic muscles, improves flexibility, decreases the risk of water retention and helps with enduring pain and initiating faster delivery during labor.
All you should do is sit in the lotus pose or cross-legged on the floor. Bend your knees outward. Straighten your spine. Place your hands on your knees. Breathe out and move your folded knees up and down trying to touch the ground with your knees. Breathe in and bring your knees up to the chest level. Repeat the same process 15 to 20 times.
2. Keep your baby in the right place by doing a cat-camel stretch.
This exercise is one of the best for moving the baby into a favorable position for giving birth or for everyday comfort. It also releases back tension, increases spine flexibility and strength.
The starting position is on your hands and knees, putting them directly under your shoulders and hips. As you inhale, raise your head gently and look up between your eyebrows. As you exhale, make your back round and try to bring your chin toward your chest. Press your hands into the floor and push the center of your back up to the ceiling. This position can be done daily.
3. Hold your guts together by doing Kegel exercises.
This exercise will help you strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. This can develop your ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth. Also, it is recommended to do Kegels after giving birth to help your muscles return to a healthy state and increase urinary control.
The difficult part is to find the muscles you should train. To do that, you should try to stop urination midstream. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor which is what Kegels are all about. Often, it’s done while doing a deep squat, but you can also do it sitting on a chair or standing in a supermarket line.
4. Keep your strength by doing standing crunches.
Doing this exercise will make your abdominal muscles stronger and might help you a little to push this baby out. It can be performed during all stages of pregnancy.
You should stand on your feet about hip-width apart and your hands behind your head. Inhale and open your elbows out to the side lifting your chest. Then exhale and gently curl in toward your belly button. Your back should be rounded, but avoid straining your neck. Try to imagine that your belly button is coming in toward your spine. Inhale again to return to the starting position. Do it 12-15 times in a row.
5. Not hard, but effective side-lying leg lifts
You should do this exercise to strengthen both your hips and core and to lose the stuffiness of your muscles. Also, it can cure a heel disorder during pregnancy.
Lie on the carpet and turn left placing the right hand below your head and press one to the floor with the other hand close to your breast. Take a deep breath and slowly raise your left leg. Keep it up for 10 breath counts and then repeat the same thing up to 5 rounds. You can do it for one side or alternate legs.
6. Hip exercises for a healthy stomach
This exercise makes your muscles around the hips more flexible, reduces back and hip pain and protects you from digestive problems during pregnancy. Also, it can give you an amazing benefit during delivery.
You just have to sit straight up while expanding your legs in a “V” shape, twining your fingers and pressing the palms to the floor. Then you should raise the palms above the head and slowly bend your hips to the right. Remain that way for 10 counts with normal breathing and then change sides. Practice this for 5 rounds for both sides.
7. Improve your blood circulation by swimming.
Swimming is one of the safest forms of physical activity during pregnancy. It improves your blood circulation, increases your immunity and helps you to control your weight. You can start learning to swim even if you’re not a regular swimmer and your belly is already pretty big. Swimming in the second part of pregnancy is good for your baby too. It’s best to swim in natural salted water, but rivers, lakes, and pools will do too. Just avoid swimming in cold water.
8. Don’t stop moving and walk!
Walking is one of the best ways to exercise during pregnancy. It can really help you control your weight gain. Also, it may help you to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy, prevent pregnancy-related complications like gestational diabetes and reduce swelling. Among the physical benefits, walking can help you clear your mind and relieve stress. The only reasons you should stop walking are if you have high blood pressure, early contractions or abnormal bleeding.
BONUS: Don’t be upset if your abdominal muscles have changed a bit – it’s something you can fight right after giving birth.
Having a baby changes your body in many ways. One of the most significant changes that may occur is that the two sides of your main abdominal muscles push away from each other. This phenomenon is called diastasis recti and it often leaves a visible bulge. Right after delivery, you can’t exercise much. But there is still something light you could do to bring those muscles back together.
1. Abdominal drawing in
Pull in your stomach and hold it this way for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Do it as much as possible.
2. Belly breathing
Lie flat on your mat or stand and breath with your belly slowly and forcefully.
3. Quadruped abdominal
Get on all fours with your back flat. Get a slow deep inhale then exhale drawing your abdominal muscles up. Just remember to keep your back flat.
Did you come back fast to your previous form after delivery or maybe you’ve stayed fit during the whole pregnancy? What did you do to achieve that? Share it with us in the comments below.