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Pregnancy is a special time in a woman's life, the excitement and the thrill you felt when you saw the pregnancy test kit showing double lines is likely something you’ll never forget in your lifetime. Now that you’re expecting, you might be wondering what adjustments are necessary and what aspects can remain unchanged.
The good news? Maintaining an active lifestyle stands out as a priority for the upcoming nine months. Regardless of whether you wish to persist with your existing exercise regimen or embark on a new one, we have you covered. From cardiovascular workouts and strength training to stretching and core exercises, here's everything you need to know about staying physically fit throughout your pregnancy.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for both the mother and the baby. Exercise during pregnancy has numerous benefits, including:
It is important to note that before starting on any exercise routines during pregnancy, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that the chosen activities are safe for both you and your baby.
Walking is an amazing low-impact exercise that can be easily incorporated into one’s daily routine. Whether it’s a leisure stroll in the park or a brisk walk around the neighborhood, walking promotes cardiovascular health benefits without putting undue stress on your joints. It is also the most convenient workout as it is possible to walk almost anywhere at any time and can sometimes be in the company of friends and/or other family members.
Swimming, walking in water, and aqua aerobics are examples of an excellent full-body workout that is gentle on the joints. This is because the buoyancy of the water may offer some relief from the extra body weight as the pregnancy progresses. It is also thought to be an enjoyable way to stay fit throughout your pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga classes focus on gentle stretches, breathing exercises and relaxation. It mainly helps improve flexibility, balance and can be a powerful technique for managing stress and promoting mental well-being during pregnancy. Yoga can also help pregnant mothers to keep their joints limber, strengthening their muscles and at the same time maintain flexibility.
Safety tips: consider skipping poses that
Cycling on stationary bikes, also known as spinning, are a great option for maintaining fitness without the risk of falling or putting excessive strains on your joints, even for first-time exercisers. It essentially helps raise heart rate and at the same time also maintain a healthy body weight.
Higher handlebar at a later stage in pregnancy may be more comfortable
Low Impact Aerobics: Fun and Energizing
Low impact aerobic exercises designed for pregnant women offer a fun way to stay active. In these exercises, modified movements are normally included to ensure the safety and comfort of expectant mothers. It aims to strengthen the heart and lungs of both mothers and baby, maintain muscle tone and balance all while limiting pressure on the joints.
Kegel Exercises: Strengthening the Pelvic Floor
Kegel exercises are crucial to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as well as reduce back pain as it tones the muscle in the pelvic floor. Generally, strong pelvic muscles will aid pregnant mothers to push during delivery and at the same time contribute to a better bladder control.
To do a Kegel, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 10 seconds before releasing. Make sure that your stomach muscles are relaxed and that you’re breathing normally. It is suggested that you do 10 to 15 repetitions, three times a day.
Stretching: Enhancing Flexibility
Gentle stretching exercises can help maintain flexibility and reduce muscle tension. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to focus on areas that commonly experience tightness during pregnancy, such as the lower back and hips.
Pelvic Tilts: Aiding Back Health
Pelvic tilts are effective for strengthening abdominal muscles and reducing lower back pain once you’re in labour. It can be incorporated into your routine to help alleviate discomfort associated with changes in posture during pregnancy. You can do pelvic tilts on the floor or standing up.
During pregnancy, it's generally advisable to avoid high-impact and contact sports, as well as activities with a high risk of falling or abdominal injury. These include:
These activities may entail additional risks, such as injury and altitude sickness.
In conclusion, staying active during pregnancy contributes to a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy and can have lasting benefits for both you and your baby. Enjoy the journey to motherhood with a focus on maintaining a well-balanced and safe exercise routine.
Make sure to listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. And as always, talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about how your body is responding to an exercise program.
This article is written by Janelle Leong, Bpharm(Hons) (DOC2US),
reviewed by Dr. Muhamad Syaqir bin Shukri, MBBS (DOC2US).
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