Years ago, doctors recommended very little activity during pregnancy as it was thought to be harmful for the baby. We now know that exercise during pregnancy is very healthy and safe for both the mother and the baby. However, that doesn’t mean that every pregnant mother is going to feel like hitting the gym everyday either! Just like when you’re not pregnant, it is important to find something that works for your body and your schedule.
Here are my recommendations on how to stay active during your pregnancy:
(Please note these recommendations are general guidelines for normal, low risk pregnancies. ALWAYS talk to your doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise program during pregnancy.)
1) Stick with what you’re use to!
If you are currently running, it is fine to continue running. If your body is use to biking, continue biking (consider an indoor stationary bike to reduce the risk of falling). If you were not doing anything before getting pregnant, now is not the time to go crazy, just be active. Doing 30 minutes of moderate cardiac activity will also take care of the water retention problem during pregnancy.
2) 3 muscle groups to focus on during pregnancy:
-upper back – This tends to be a weak area in most women anyway, but add in the fact that most women’s breast size increases during pregnancy which weakens the upper back. You’ll also need these muscles strong for holding and feeding your baby.
-abs – It is OK to do ab exercises on your back for your first trimester – after that, try to strengthen your abs by doing planks, seated ab exercises, and standing exercises. The first 20 weeks of pregnancy is the most comfortable time to work this area so take advantage of this time!
-low back – With your growing belly, your likely to experience low back pain as your center of gravity gets farther and farther away from you! It is safe to lay on your tummy for your first trimester (if it feels good to you), after that, you’ll want to strengthen your low back doing planks and standing exercises.
Keeping these 3 muscle groups strong during pregnancy will elevate many of the aches and pains you would otherwise feel. If you’re not sure what exercises to do or if they are safe for you, work with your doctor or a Certified Personal Trainer.
3) Include yoga into your routine.
Pregnancy can be a very emotional time due to the increase in hormones, the fact that your body is being “taken over” by the baby, and the overwhelming number of thoughts and concerns you may have about the arrival of your little one. Yoga incorporates the stretching you need to make your body feel better, but it also Aincludes breath work that will calm you (and prepare you for childbirth), and relaxation where you can connect with your baby and your body. Some poses that are not recommended during pregnancy so it is important to work with a certified yoga teacher.
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