The excitement (or outright panic) you felt once you saw those two blue or pink lines appear is probably something you will always remember. And now that she is pregnant, you may be wondering what needs to change and what can remain equivalent.
The good news? Staying active tops the list of things to stay on for the next 9 months.
And whether you’re looking to continue your current exercise routine or start a replacement routine, we’ve got you covered. From cardio and strength exercises to stretching and core exercises, here’s everything you would like to know about staying fit during pregnancy.
Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant
If you just think of exercise as a way to get into a smaller pair of jeans, you’ll need to shift your mindset (and priorities) now that you’re expecting.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), exercising during pregnancy can cause a lower incidence of:
- Premature labor
- Cesarean birth
- Excessive weight gain
- Hypertensive diseases such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are examples.
- A lower birth weight
It is also a great way to:
- Keeping fit
- Reduce low back pain (hello, growing tummy!)
- Manage symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Improve postpartum recovery
Brooke Cates, a prenatal and postpartum fitness expert and owner of Studio Bloom, says a few exercises are often implemented each trimester to support the body through its physical changes as it prepares for a more orderly return to postpartum exercise.
She emphasizes a shift of specialization in awareness of the core and pelvic floor, which can help you build a deeper core-based connection before major changes begin to require its place.
Safety Tips for Exercises While Pregnant
When it comes to pregnant workouts, Cates says there aren’t many that require you to break from your routine.
While most activities are often done throughout each trimester, she notes that adjusting and decreasing them as needed will help you gain strength, stability, and physical flexibility as your body changes.
With that in mind, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has compiled a list of general safety precautions to consider when exercising while pregnant.
- If you’re exercising for the first time, get permission from your doctor; otherwise, you may have a health issue that prevents you from doing so.
- Drink lots of water before, during, and after your workout.
- Wear supportive clothing such as a supportive sports bra or a tummy band.
- Don’t overheat, especially during the first trimester.
- Avoid lying on your back for a long time, especially during the trimester.
- Avoid contact sports and hot yoga.
Cardio for All Three Trimesters
Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, and riding a stationary bike are the best options for all three quarters.
Unless your doctor has told you to change physical activity, follow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per route. hebodic.
If you tend to do vigorous-intensity exercise like running or if your fitness level is high, ACOG says you will continue these activities during pregnancy, along with your doctor’s permission, of course.
Exercises to Do in the First Trimester of Pregnancy
The first three months of pregnancy are often a wild ride of emotions. From the euphoria and pure joy to worry, worry, and even fear, as you begin to understand that you are responsible for nurturing, growing, and maintaining this soon-to-be safe and healthy little person.
Physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, said she will continue with her usual workout regimen during the third trimester as long as it is not classified as a high-risk pregnancy.
The foundation of a complete prenatal exercise routine should include a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio-thoracic activity and a couple to three days of strength-training exercises that target major muscle groups.
You should also specialize in specific exercises that help ease pregnancy and prepare you for labor and delivery. (It may seem far away, but it will be here before you recognize it!)
One area of importance, Jeffcoat says, is calculating body awareness to organize changes in your posture. Doing an exercise like the pelvic curl can be a good way to start improving spinal mobility and strengthening the abdominal muscles that will support the abdomen as it grows, she says.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the bottom, about hip level.
- Take a deep breath to get organized, then exhale as you tuck your pelvis (your “hips”) in so that you impact your spine on the floor.
- Hold that bent position as you continue the exhale and twist through the movement so that you lift your spine from that impression, one vertebra at a time.
- Stop once you reach the shoulder blades.
- Breathe in in the highest movement, then breathe out as you bend your body back, placing one vertebra at a time on the floor until you come to your starting position at the back of your pelvis (your “hips,” as many of us will ask how).
- Do 12 to 15 repetitions. For another challenge, bring your legs all the way together.
Do this during pregnancy as long as you don’t have pelvic floor symptoms, such as pain during intercourse or urinary urgency.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the bottom, about hip level.
- Place your pelvis and lower back in a “neutral” position. To look for this, confirm that you are resting on the back of your pelvis and creating a small space in your lower back (your back should not be pressed against the floor).
- Breathe in to get organized, then breathe out to perform a Kegel contraction gently closing the openings (the urethra, vagina, and anus). As you perform this contraction, notice how your lower abdominal muscles want to figure next.
- Lightly draw your lower abs with the Kegel. Inhale, relax your abs and pelvic floor, exhale, and repeat the contraction.
- Do 2 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of 3 to 5 seconds of retention, once or twice a day.
This move aims to strengthen your core and upper body together.
- Lie on your stomach, then push yourself onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips.
- Pull-on your abs (the pelvic brace), then slowly lower your chest toward the floor as you inhale.
- Exhale while pressing copy.
- Start with 6 to 10 and gradually train for 20 to 24 repetitions.
The first trimester is also a perfect time to urge to squat! If you have access to the gym, you will also use the leg press machine. Squats, especially bodyweight squats, are often performed throughout pregnancy.
Also, since squats strengthen all the muscles in your lower body, including your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, Jeffcoat says that keeping these muscles strong can be a good way to protect your back, so you employ your legs instead of your back when lifting.
- Place yourself in front of a couch with your back to it. Begin by spreading your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Make sure the sofa is in good condition by using it as a guide.
- Squat down as if you’re about to sit on the sofa, but get up as soon as your thighs touch it.
- Make sure to move down 3 seconds and return the duplicate in 5 seconds.
- When sitting, exhale; when standing, inhale.
- Complete two sets of 15 to 20 reps each.
Another of the finest alternatives throughout pregnancy is this simple yet effective action. Bicep curls, according to Jeffcoat, are an important move to incorporate in her workouts because she wants to prepare her arms to raise and cradle her baby frequently.
- He will grab 5-10 pound dumbbells and stand together with feet slightly wider than hips and knees slightly bent.
- Exhale as she slowly bends her elbows, bringing the dumbbells toward her shoulders.
- Inhale and slowly lower the path of the weights.
- Take 3 seconds to raise the dumbbells and 5 seconds to lower them.
- Perform two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each.
Some extra-strength training variations and movements to incorporate during the trimester, according to Brittany Robles, MD, CPT include:
- Weighted lunges
- Connections between the glutes (if you experience any pelvic pain or have a history of pelvic pain during pregnancy, you will also add ball squeezes between the thighs during glute bridges)
- Standard push-ups
When it comes to what she should avoid during the first trimester, Robles says she puts her high-intensity interval training (HIIT) training on hold, as it’s a simple thank you for burning out early in the pregnancy.
Robles also recommends avoiding any exercise in which she experiences trauma, such as contact sports.
Exercises to Do in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Once the truth is established there, during this period towards the end of the day, she will notice a sense of calm and even an increase in energy for the next several weeks. Many women say that this is usually the trimester in which they feel simplest, so it is a great time to specialize in your exercise routine.
According to Robles, because the uterus is growing bigger, you should be extra cautious about physical activity.
Any high-impact exercise that includes leaping, sprinting, balancing, or exerting oneself, according to Robles, should be avoided throughout the trimester. She should also avoid any workout that requires you to lie flat on your back for long periods of time.
In addition to exercises within the quarter, she considers adding some variations to her squat such as narrow squats, single-leg squats, as well as wide stance squats. Incline pushups, which target the chest, triceps, and shoulders, are another move to highlight during this trimester.
Now that the code base has been established, Cates says that training the core because the abdomen expands can be a much easier concept. And with things starting to change and grow even more at this point, she often recommends that expectant moms still work on stability strength with additional specialization on the inner thighs and glutes.
- She stands in front of a ledge or railing and places her hands shoulder-width apart on the surface.
- Return your body to a standing plank position along with your back during a line.
- By bending your arms, gradually lower your chest near the fence or ledge.
- Straighten your arms to get back to the original position.
- It’s necessary to do two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each.
Hip Flexor and Quadriceps Stretch
Due to postural changes, Jeffcoat says the trimester is the ideal time to develop a stretching routine that targets the hip flexors, quadriceps, lower back, glutes, and calves.
The abdomen sags forward when its center of gravity shifts, resulting in shortened hip flexor muscles. This workout will help you to stretch comfortably while pregnant.
- Get into a half-kneeling position on the floor. Place your right knee on the ground and your left foot in front of you, your left foot flat on the ground.
- Maintaining a nice, tall posture, roll into your left foot until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds, relieve, and then repeat 2 more times.
- Change sides and repeat.
Side-lying Leg Lifts
To prepare for your changing center of gravity, it is important to push stronger muscles that aid balance and aid pelvic stabilization.
- Lie on your right side with both knees bent and stacked on top of each other.
- Raise the right side of the floor slightly to leave a small gap between the waist and therefore the floor. This also levels the pelvis.
- Straighten your left leg and lean it slightly forward. Rotate your hips so your toes point toward the ground.
- Exhale while it takes about 3 seconds to lift your leg; inhale for 3 seconds and back off. As you lift your leg, confirm that you don’t lose that little space you created between your waist and therefore the floor.
- Do 2 sets of 8 to 15 reps on all sides.
As your baby grows, it may begin to put pressure on the diaphragm and ribs, which will be painful.
- Sit on the bottom with both knees bent (or bent) and your feet facing to the right.
- Raise your left arm toward the ceiling as you inhale, then exhale and bend your torso to the right. The stretch should be felt on the left side during this example. Hold for 4 slow, deep breaths. This may be the direction to stretch if you feel discomfort on your left side.
- Reverse directions to detect nuisance on the correct side. To reduce the danger of this happening, begin stretching in both directions during the trimester.
Exercises to Do in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
You will definitely notice a slowdown, if not an abrupt halt at times, during the trimester, as your body begins to organize for labor and delivery. This is often an excellent time to specialize in cardiovascular activities and continue your abdominal mobility and strength with:
- Prenatal yoga
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Bodyweight movements
These help keep your upper and lower body muscles strong.
For safety reasons, Jeffcoat recommends avoiding any exercise that puts you at risk for falls. “Because your center of gravity changes every day, it’s smart to avoid exercises that could cause a loss of balance, leading to a fall and possible abdominal impact that would harm your baby,” she says.
It is also not uncommon to experience pain in the pubic symphysis, which is a pain in the frontal pubis. Because of this, Jeffcoat recommends avoiding exercises in which the legs are too far apart, which can further aggravate this pain.
Diastasis Recti Correction
Diastasis recti [separation of the rectus abdominis] can be a concern for women at this point, and will show up as a lump running down the midline of your abdomen, Jeffcoat says. To combat it, she recommends performing a rectus diastasis correction exercise.
- Place a cushion beneath your head and shoulders and lie on your back. The feet are level on the ground and the knees are bent.
- Use a crib or double sheet and roll it up so that it is 3-4 inches wide and tuck it low on your back (above your pelvis and below your ribs).
- Grasp the sheet and cross it over your stomach once. Then, while pulling all of the sides, grip the edges of the sheet, which should create an X.
- Take a deep breath to get organized, then press your back against the floor as you lift your head and shoulders off the pillow. During this movement, you are gently “hugging” the sheet around your abdomen to support your abs.
- Inhale lower and repeat 10 to 20 times. If your neck or shoulders hurt, start at 10 and increase your level.
- Do this 2 times a day.
Other low-weight or body-weight-only strength training exercises to focus on during the trimester include:
- Bodyweight squats or sumo squats with a wider stance for a greater base of support (if you are not experiencing pelvic pain)
- Standing shoulder press with light weights
- Bicep curls with light weights
- Push-ups against a wall
- Modified planks
- Lightweight tricep kickback
Staying physically active during pregnancy is helpful for both mother and baby.
Including some form of exercise most days of the week can help keep your core strong, your muscles in shape, and your circulatory system in tip-top shape. Plus, it can do wonders for your psychological state (hooray for the endorphins!).
Make sure to focus on your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. And, as always, talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about how your body is responding to an exercise program.
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