Most medical experts recommend that women exercise during pregnancy. While it is necessary to seek the permission of a doctor before taking part in any type of exercise, most women find that they are able to continue with activities that they normally take part in. That being said, there are some exercises for pregnant women which are considered to be more beneficial than others.
During pregnancy, women need to take special care of themselves. You may already know about the importance of eating well and taking your prenatal vitamins, but have you thought about your exercise routine while pregnant? Many women feel uncomfortable with the idea of working out during pregnancy. However, there are many exercises that pregnant women can safely do. By being in good shape during pregnancy, you’re likely to have an easier labor and get back into shape more quickly after giving birth.
Stretching Exercises for Pregnancy
Stretching exercise make the muscles limber and warm which can be especially helpful when you’re pregnant. Here are some simple stretches you can perform before or after exercise.
Relax your neck and shoulders. Drop your head forward. Slowly rotate your head to your right shoulder, back to the middle, and over the left shoulder. Complete four, slow rotations in each direction.
Bring your shoulders forward and then rotate them up toward your ears and then back down. Do four rotations in each direction.
Place your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up and extend your body forward and twist to the side, as if swimming the crawl stroke. Follow with left arm. Do the sequence ten times.
Stand with one foot about two feet in front of the other, toes pointed in the same direction. Lean forward, supporting your weight on the forward thigh. Change sides and repeat. Do four on each side.
Sit with your legs and feet extended. Move the legs up and down in a gentle shaking motion.
Sit with your legs extended and keep your toes relaxed. Rotate your feet, making large circles. Use your whole foot and ankle. Rotate four times on the right and four times on the left.
Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles during your pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth. Kegel exercises are also highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and help these muscles return to a healthy state, and also increase urinary control.
To do Kegels, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor and are practicing Kegel exercises. While doing Kegel exercises, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises. So you can do them anywhere!
We recommend doing five sets of Kegel exercises a day. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five and then relax. Repeat this ten times for one set of Kegels.
Tailor Exercises for Pregnancy
Tailor exercises strengthen the pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles and can help relieve low back pain.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Lean slightly forward, and keep your back straight but relaxed. Use this position whenever possible throughout the day.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet together. Grasp your ankles and pull your feet gently toward your body. Place your hands under your knees. Inhale. While pressing your knees down against your hands, press your hands up against your knees (counter-pressure). Hold for a count of five.