You huff as you walk up the stairs, cradling your large belly. Pregnancy can make any woman feel out of breath a few months in.
After all, when pregnant, your body goes through enormous changes. For instance, your blood volume increases up to nearly 50%, giving your body a lot more blood to pump. Not to mention the baby bump that grows heavier with each passing day of pregnancy.
Despite these changes, you can avoid getting out of breath and enjoy a healthier pregnancy and easier delivery if you exercise while pregnant. There are many benefits to incorporating fitness into your pregnancy. Plus, with the right types of exercise, it can be easy to get fit even while you’re pregnant. Read on to learn everything you need to know about incorporating fitness into your pregnancy:
Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant
Do you want to avoid the aches and pains of pregnancy? Then exercise! According to WebMD, exercise can strengthen muscles that support the uterus. As a result, women who exercise are less likely to complain about backaches, swelling of the ankles, and general tiredness.
Furthermore, women often suffer from negative body image during pregnancy. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat these negative feelings. Get that pregnancy glow and feel it too, by exercising!
So, now you know why you should exercise while pregnant. The next question is how you can exercise while pregnant. Here are some ideas for how to exercise while pregnant:
1. Daily Walks
Walking is a great way to get exercise when you’re pregnant. This form of exercise is low impact on the joints, but can still get your heart rate up. Try walking in your neighborhood, in a nearby mall, or in a park. You can make a routine out of your walk by walking at the same time every day.
If you have other children, try bringing them into your routine. Have your kids walk with you and make it a family event. You could also try walking nearby a playground so that your children can play while you walk in slow circles around the playground.
Your daily walk should be about 20 to 30 minutes long. You can walk at a brisk pace. Some women even jog or run during pregnancy. However, you should only try jogging or running if you have already been doing that type of exercise before getting pregnant and after consulting your physician first. For most women, brisk walking is enough to get some good exercise while pregnant.
Looking for something you can do at home or in a group? Try yoga! There are plenty of prenatal yoga videos available online to try. In addition, most cities have yoga studios and many of these offer prenatal classes.
Yoga involves slower movements and focuses on strength and the connection between your mind and body. Through slow, controlled movements, you can build your strength and flexibility, even while you’re pregnant!
3. Fitness Classes for Mommies to Be
Join a gym or check your local YMCA for fitness classes for mommies to be. From water aerobics to yoga to general workouts, there are plenty of options for pregnant women to get fit.
If you have trouble finding the motivation to exercise on your own, a group class might be a good fit for you. That way, you’ll meet friends and feel accountability to show up to your class. Depending on your schedule, you can find a morning or an evening class that will help you form an exercise routine.
4. Try Swimming
Sore joints? Heavy belly? If you’re tired of feeling so heavy, why not try swimming? When you’re in the water, you may feel up to 90% lighter. So, you can get some relief from carrying the extra weight around and exercise all in one go. If you don’t like swimming itself, you can try other activities like walking in the water or water aerobics.
5. Take the Stairs
Make fitness a general part of your pregnancy by fitting exercise into your general routines. Park far away from the grocery store and walk inside. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to places that are nearby your house instead of driving. On your lunch break, take a short walk before or after eating.
These may seem like small steps toward fitness. Yet, they add up. Especially if you weren’t active before pregnancy, these small changes can help you build up strength and endurance without overtaxing yourself. These strategies are also best combined with one of the above fitness options. When you put it all together, you will be amazed at what your body can do!
Stay Safe While Exercising
Before you begin an exercise routine, talk to your doctor about any potential risks, and to make sure you’re approved for physical activity. While exercise during pregnancy is generally beneficial, in some high-risk pregnancies, it may not be recommended.
Another way to stay safe is to listen to your body. Instead of aiming for a certain heart rate or other fitness goals, listen to your body and slow down when you need to. Remember, overexertion can also affect the baby in negative ways such as by diminishing blood flow. So, if you are having a hard time breathing to the point that you can’t talk, slow down.
Avoid contact sports or sports with balls. For example, it’s best not to play soccer or frisbee while pregnant. You want to avoid falls and blows to your belly. So, save these sports for after the baby is born.
The Bottom Line on Exercising While Pregnant
Exercising while pregnant can be beneficial for you and your baby. After an active pregnancy, you’ll find that it’s much easier to continue your fitness routine and lose the baby weight after your baby is born. Plus, you’ll enjoy an easier, healthier pregnancy.
Do you have a plan for how to incorporate fitness into your pregnancy? We’d love to hear all about it. Tell us about your fit pregnancy plans on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.