Many women nowadays are deciding that exercise and pregnancy are a good combination and they are opting to continue their exercise routines all the way through pregnancy – with their doctor’s consent, of course.
Exercising while pregnant offers many health benefits. It helps the mother to reduce the amount of weight gained during pregnancy and it also helps to get the weight off after giving birth. Exercise also increases energy levels and tones a woman’s body in preparation for the physical stress of labor and delivery.
According to the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, healthy pregnant women should engage in some kind of safe, comfortable exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week as long as their doctors say it is okay.
Best Exercises for Pregnant Women
There are a number of exercises that experts recommend for expectant mothers to maintain flexibility and muscle tone.
- Walking. Not only does walking help keep muscle tissue in tip-top shape, but it can also aid in digestion and circulation – common problems for pregnant women.
- Swimming. Swimming tones muscles by working many different muscle groups and it’s also great for the cardiovascular system.
- Yoga. Yoga relieves stress and is also beneficial for teaching pregnant women because how to control their breathing which can be helpful during labor and delivery. Many yoga classes are geared specifically toward pregnant women.
Exercises to Avoid When Pregnant
Although exercise is generally good for expectant mothers, there are some forms that should be avoided.
- Jogging. Unless you are already an avid runner, you should most likely refrain from jogging. It is a high impact exercise that can unnecessarily jar the back, breasts, knees, and pelvis.
- Horseback riding. Because a growing abdomen can affect a woman’s center of gravity and sense of balance, exercises such as riding a horse or even riding a bike can increase the likelihood of falling. It is far too risky and is discouraged by most doctors.
For most women, exercise is a safe and encouraged practice during pregnancy. Studies have shown that most women experience easier labor and delivery when they are in good physical shape. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and a supportive sports bra. Additionally, listen to your body. Exercise during pregnancy should be comfortable at all times. Be sure to check with your doctor to see that you are healthy enough for physical exercise while pregnant.