4 Best Exercises for Pregnancy
During pregnancy, when you're dealing with all the uncomfortable things from morning sickness to an achy back, exercising is probably the last thing on your mind, but it is something you should be aware of. With low energy and a strong wish to just fall asleep, you probably think exercise is just going to make it worse, but from my experience, exercising during pregnancy makes all those uncomfortable and tiring symptoms better, not worse.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising during pregnancy has a lot of benefits from keeping your weight gain appropriate, to preparing your body for labor and delivery as well. I've also noticed, and have heard others say as well, that if you do exercise during pregnancy, your body seems to bounce back a lot faster after giving birth. It's important to talk to your doctor before you start your own exercise routine during pregnancy to make sure you've got the OK and so they can give you any safety or health tips prior to starting.
After you've got the OK from your doctor, there are some exercises that will give you more bang for your buck, and if you don't' have too much energy, you'll want to focus on those. I asked some fitness experts which exercises they recommend to their pregnant clients and here's what they had to say:
Christie Bruiner, Owner of BabyBootCamp and Certified Personal Trainer specializing in pre and post-natal fitness, says yoga is a good exercise for pregnant women. Specifically the cat/cow stretch:
“Cat/cow stretch is a wonderful way for pregnant moms to both stretch & strengthen rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis muscles as well as the muscles of the low back including erector spinae and multifidus. This is important as moms' joints are becoming loose due to an increase in the hormone, relaxin.
1: Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders & knees under hips. Back should be neutral & flat. Take a deep breath in, drop chest, lift chin, tilt hips & pelvis.
2: Exhale, tuck chin, bring crown of head pointing down to floor, push through palms, arch back, tuck hips under. Repeat for three deep breaths, 2x day.”
Connie Stetler, BS, NSCA, ACE, a certified personal trainer at The Houstonian Club in Houston, Texas suggests weight training for pregnant women as a good way to keep in shape and help with all the changes a woman's body goes through during pregnancy.
“There are many changes that take place in the body during pregnancy. With a growing belly, a woman's weight is shifted forward causing strain in her back and neck. Full body weight training helps keep the expecting mother's muscles strong and balanced in order to handle the demands of pregnancy that are being placed on her body. She will be more comfortable carrying the extra weight of pregnancy by having strong muscles throughout her entire body.”
Jennifer McCamish, certified in pre and post natal Pilates and personal training, former Rockette, and owner of Dancers Shape, says a good exercise for pregnant women is tranverse abdominals breathing.
“With workout trends such as Crossfit, Spinning and hard-core boot camps, it's easy to forget the impact that the simple act of focused breathing can have on our bodies. The tranverse abdominals (TA) are the innermost of the flat muscles of your core. Lean your back flat onto a wall with your knees slightly bent. Relax your belly as you take a big inhale, and slowly and forcefully begin to press your breath out, bringing the triangular area between the two hip bones and the pubic bone (the TA) back flat to the spine. You should be able to feel the ribcage close together. Hold this contraction for several seconds and slowly release. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Want to kick it up a notch? Try incorporating a kegel into your TA breathing. Kegels are performed by engaging the pelvic floor muscle which can be done by imagining you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Start with a kegel followed by contracting the TA. Hold for a few seconds, then release the TA and release the kegel. These exercises can be done with your back against the wall, sitting in a chair or sitting on the floor with your knees crossed.”
Jana Lowell, fitness professional and author of “Noodles For Dumbbells – Water Exercise, Weight Management & More“, recommends vertical water exercise as a great fitness plan for pregnancy.
“Not only will it relieve an aching lower back, but the hydrostatic pressure will really help to reduce swelling in the ankles. This type of exercise will be working all the core muscles of the trunk in unison, which can aid in a healthier delivery and speedier recovery. Of course, it's a big plus to feel that your body weight is up to seventy-five percent less than it would be on land while you are simultaneously burning up to thirty percent more calories than you would while doing those same activities on land. Additionally, you will be refreshed and invigorated during the hot summer months and baby is along for the joyful ride, which may predispose the child to a love for water activities.”
What are some of your favorite pregnancy exercises?Read More