Exercise during pregnancy has soooo many benefits it’s ridiculous. Want to get started, but have no idea how? Here are 7 of the best exercises to do while you’re pregnant.
**Disclaimer: Always consult your provider before beginning or continuing an exercise routine.**
Walking during pregnancy is a pretty ideal workout. It’s FREE (hooray!), low impact, considered safe during all three trimesters, and is a great place to start if you haven’t been working out prior to getting pregnant.
2. Pelvic Floor Work
Pelvic floor work doesn’t just mean “do your kegels.” That’s actually pretty crappy advice. The key to a healthy and prepared pelvic floor isn’t being “strong,” it’s about being in control. Of course we don’t want the weight of the baby and uterus to weaken those muscles, but if those muscles are already tight strengthening them more might make it difficult to impossible for baby to make his way out.
Unsure if you should be doing strengthening or relaxing pelvic floor exercises? See a pelvic floor physical therapist ASAP! Yes, even during pregnancy. Even if it’s only for one visit to figure out what you should be doing to prepare your body for birth and beyond.
Speaking of pelvic floor muscles, squats are great for maintaining strength and range of motion in the hips, glutes, core, and pelvic floor muscles. In a low-risk pregnancy, they can also be done throughout all three trimesters.
Squats are also an amazing tool in labor so build the strength and stamina now so you can use them when it really counts.
4. Bicep Curls
Do you know how heavy baby carriers are? Do you know how heavy an 8 lb newborn feels in a 10 lb carrier in the crook of your arm while you’re carrying said baby PLUS a diaper bag and whatever you just left the house for?
Do the bicep curls.
5. Back Rows/Flies
Heavier breasts, carrying a baby around, babywearing, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, folding all of that extra laundry can all take a toll on your poor back.
Improve your posture by sitting or standing up tall (shoulders over ribs over hips over heels), stretching your chest muscles (clasp your hands behind your back and stretch your knuckles down towards the floor), and strengthening your back with back rows and back flies.
6. Water Aerobics/Swimming
Water aerobics or swimming allows you to get a cardio workout in while being kind to your joints that may feel tired or strained from normal pregnancy weight. The water helps support your belly and takes pressure of your spine and pelvis and swimming laps can help strengthen your upper body and arms to help improve posture and prepare you for those heavy babies.
7. Prenatal Yoga
I know I’m biased in my love for prenatal yoga, but there’s science to back my love up.
Like other forms of prenatal exercise, prenatal yoga can help you to be physically conditioned for pregnancy, labor and birth. It can also increase your balance, stamina, patience and focus, create a community around like-minded simultaneously pregnant people, breathe better despite a crowded body, build confidence in and acceptance of your ever-changing body, and initiate and encourage connection with your baby .
Studies have also shown that a prenatal yoga practice can decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, risk of preterm labor and preeclampsia, AND improve sleep.
What’s your favorite way to get moving during pregnancy?
Did you favorite exercise not make the cut? Make a case and I’ll add it to my list!