How to Exercise Safely During Your Pregnancy

There are many questions expectant mothers have about exercising during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important that prenatal checkups are followed routinely and that your OB/ GYN is able to monitor the health of your baby and your body. These visits will allow you to get much-needed information from your doctor to keep abreast of what activities you should be avoiding to facilitate a healthy pregnancy.

Your OB/ GYN should be your primary point of contact to discuss any exercise regimen that you want to pursue or any changes in exercise habits to ensure that you are doing appropriate exercise at any particular stage of your pregnancy. That brings us to the question on top of our minds.

Does exercise actually help during pregnancy? Is it safe?

Overall, exercising during your pregnancy is not only safe but also recommended. Contrary to a popular myth, exercising does not increase the chances of miscarriage during a normal pregnancy. Most likely, your OB/GYN will advise you to keep exercising during your pregnancy if you were already physically active before it, or start you on an exercise regimen even if you were not. Exercising will improve circulation, support a healthy weight gain, and prepare your muscles for labor and birth.

If you feel discomfort or there are any warning signs regarding exercise, your doctor will advise you on the appropriate course of action.

There are many benefits and reasons to be exercising regularly during your pregnancy. Exercise:

  • Increases your ability to cope with labor and may shorten the process.
  • Decreases the chances of preterm labor and birth.
  • Increases the chances of birth without medication.
  • Reduces backaches, swelling, bloating, and constipation.
  • Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension.
  • Reduces fatigue, increases energy, and lifts your mood.
  • Helps you get good quality sleep.
  • Improves your muscle tone, posture, strength, and endurance.
  • Speeds up recovery after your delivery and may give the baby a healthier start.

Guidelines to follow for exercising safely: It is important to be aware of the changes that your body is going through to select the right kind of exercise routine during your pregnancy. Pregnancy causes your muscles to be more relaxed and makes your joints more flexible. Your centre of gravity also changes with the extra weight near the abdomen and your shifting hips. This causes your muscles to work harder than before you were pregnant and your balance is impacted as well. These factors affect how and what kind of exercises you should do. As a result, exercising is fine, but it is advisable that it be low-impact to be on the safer side.

Avoid the following kind of exercises during your pregnancy:

  • Exercises that create any risk of abdominal trauma—activities with jerking motions, rapid changes in direction, or contact sports.
  • Activities with a risk of falling.
  • Exercises that involve routinely jumping, bouncing, skipping, or hopping.
  • Over-exercising or exercising to the point of exhaustion.
  • Holding your breath for extended durations.
  • Twisting your waist while standing.
  • Exercising in hot and humid conditions.

Follow these basic tips while planning exercise during your pregnancy:

  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes with a supporting bra.
  • Exercise on a level and flat surface to avoid injury or losing your balance.
  • Get up slowly and steadily after doing floor exercises to avoid dizziness.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes with good traction for a good grip and to support your routine.
  • Eat enough healthy food and calories to support your pregnancy as well as your exercise regimen.
  • Drink adequate water before, during, and after your workout.

What are the best exercises that you could be doing while pregnant?

Exercise improves blood circulation and muscle tone and endurance to support the extra weight during your pregnancy. Some of these exercises that you should consider during your pregnancy are:

1.Walking: Walking is a safe exercise. It is easy on the joints and can be in all stages of the pregnancy. It also does not require any special equipment and is easy to fit into a schedule.

2.Yoga: Prenatal Yoga is an ideal workout for expectant mothers. It encourages relaxation, flexibility, focus, and keeps your joints healthy. These techniques can help you throughout your pregnancy and especially help you stay calm and in control during labor.

3.Swimming and water aerobics: You weigh less in water and feel more agile and lighter. Swimming or water exercises can ease nausea, puffy ankles, and sciatic pain.

4.Squatting: During labor, squatting may help open your pelvic opening to help your baby descend. It is a good idea to practise squatting during pregnancy.

5.Pelvic Tilts: These exercises can strengthen your abdominal muscles and help ease back pain during pregnancy and labor.

6.Stationary cycling: Indoor cycling lets you pedal at your own pace without putting any pressure on your ankles and knee joints. Avoid spinning, sprints, and hill climbs to avoid excessive strain.

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and these factors are to be kept in mind while choosing and performing any exercise routine. There are plenty of ways to stay fit during pregnancy—and many exercises that you should definitely avoid while pregnant. Always consult with your OB/ GYN before undertaking any exercise regimen and only begin or continue after the go-ahead from your doctor. To consult an expert to discuss your pregnancy exercise routine, book an appointment with our OB/ GYN at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sagar Hospitals.

Book an Appointment Book Tele-consultation