Most women benefit greatly from exercising throughout their pregnancies. You should discuss exercise plans with your doctor as soon as you discover you are pregnant. This is important as the level of exercise recommended will depend on your level of pre-pregnancy fitness.
Each pregnancy is different and depending on whether your pregnancy is complicated and if your health permits, the doctor will guide you the right way. There are some tips given on a basic exercise regimen month-wise you could follow through the pregnancy:
Exercise During the First Trimester (1-12 Weeks)
It is considered safe for a pregnant woman to undergo various exercises like yoga and aerobics, and other relaxation techniques during the initial stages of her pregnancy. Yoga helps in controlling breathing along with toning and stretching the body muscles.
Be sure to wear stretchy and comfortable maternity yoga wear while performing yoga. Aerobics includes exercises like brisk walking or swimming, which helps increase the heart rate and breathing intensity.
By now, indeed, there must have been some changes in the body. The second month of pregnancy is considered to be a period of fatigue. Even a small amount of exercise may make you feel tired and stressed out.
A 20-minute walk in your neighborhood will give you a better feeling along with helping you in toning your muscle, strengthening your lungs and heart. The short walk will also leave you fresh and stimulate your body. But before finalizing your workout scheme, make sure to get your doctor’s approval.
During this time of pregnancy, i.e., the 3rd month, the exercise level will be more comfortable than before the pregnancy. In case of fatigue, do exercises that are lighter and less stressful. Intake of lots of fluids is essential before you stretch and after your workout. Activities like swimming, weight lifting, and aerobics can be done now but will have to be stopped towards the end of the trimesters, so this is the time to make the most of it now.
Exercising During Second Trimester (13-28 Weeks)
During your second trimester, the size of your uterus increases, shifting the center of gravity, making you lose your balance more often. Also, standing for a long time can result in blood clotting in your legs and making you dizzy or lightheaded. Therefore it is safer to do exercise while you are sitting, especially weight lifting.
As you get bigger, your balance may get affected, and your joints may also loosen, putting you at risk of hurting yourself. Do exercises that are comfortable and prevent a lot of stretching or expanding at this stage. If you are a regular swimmer, then you must continue with it. If you are new to swimming, then be gentle and don’t put a lot of stress at one go.
As you get into the 5th month of your pregnancy, you will see that your belly has increased in size, and as a result, you’ll need to buy elegant maternity wear to stay comfortable. The uterus also increases in size resulting in pressurizing the inferior vena cava if you rest on your back.
You might be a victim of regular backaches, therefore select a comfortable position. Also, due to the loosening of the joints, you become more prone to strains and sprains. To avoid such trouble, it is advisable to avoid exercises like aerobics and running, which puts a lot of stress on the joints.
It is a well-known fact that during pregnancy, the volume of the blood increases by 40%, and the cardiac output goes up by 30 to 40%. The heartbeat gets even higher when you are doing exercise. Women who are regular with exercise don’t face any severe problems, but still, they should be a little moderate in going about their exercises.
As you are nearing the end of the second trimester, extra precautions and care have to be taken during exercises. Drink enough water to prevent dehydration. You might even require alternate support while doing standing poses. It’s advisable to avoid activities that require stretching the abdominal muscle, which can be substituted with hip bending exercises.
Exercising During Third Trimester (29 Week-Baby Birth)
As you are into the final trimester of your pregnancy, there is an increase in body fluids, which puts extra weight on the various joints. To avoid complications, it is advisable not to lift heavyweights. It is better if you opt for natural exercises like yoga, but still, if you want to do weight lifting, then use light weights but always make sure that you have a workout buddy by your side in case you lose balance.
You must continue with yoga, relaxation, and breathing exercises. One of the most important forms of activity this month is walking, but you need to be cautious since you cannot cover the same distance at the same speed in your 8th month so go slow. It is also advisable to do exercises that energize your mind and body and make you feel fresh.
While you are in the final month of your pregnancy, you can still undergo some light breathing exercises, but only as long as you are in comfort. You can do some gentle activities like swimming or walking which can help you and your muscles feel relaxed.
It is a must to drink water and keep yourself well hydrated during your last month of pregnancy. A minimum of 2 cups of water should be consumed before doing any exercise, one in the mid-way and another one after you are done.
The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Some of the reasons why you should do pregnancy-friendly exercises are:
- Helps you have an easy labor
- Boost your energy levels
- Decreases the chances of excessive weight gain
- Helps you sleep better
- Reduces chances of a Caesarean birth
- Helps minimize the risk of varicose veins
- Eliminates back pain while toning butt and thighs
- Keeps the digestive system in top shape
- Ensures speedier recovery from delivery