Now that you’re expecting, you’re ready to put your feet up and rest for the next nine months, right? Not so fast.
“Regular exercise while you’re pregnant can improve your heart health, give you energy, and pump up your self-image,” says Ritah Babirye, a physiotherapist at Alpha Clinic in Seeta.
Maintaining a healthy body can also reduce common pregnancy complaints like lower back pain, and it may even shorten your labor time.
Babirye advises checking with your doctor before you start any workout routine to make sure the activities you choose are safe.
If the doctor Okays, try to get at least 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise three to four days a week.
Remember that your goal is to keep up your pre-pregnancy fitness, not to train for Dancing with the Stars. Start with one of these doctor-approved activities.
Yoga strengthens core muscles, eases back pain, and helps you relax. And research shows that it may make labor shorter and more comfortable.
James Oketch, the manager and chief instructor at The City Gym recommends trying a prenatal class, which is gentler and focuses on relaxation.
Avoid “hot yoga,” and after your first trimester, don’t lie on your back.
If something doesn’t feel right, check with a fitness expert.
Light strength training, Oketch says, can help you stay toned before and after delivery. If you were lifting weights before you got pregnant, chances are you can keep going as long as you go easy.
Avoid heavy weights or routines where you have to lie flat on your back. If you weren’t strength training before you got pregnant, find another exercise for now.
Aerobics keep your heart and lungs strong, tone your body all over, and give you a burst of endorphins, a feel-good brain chemical.
If you’re a beginner, look for a low-impact aerobics class taught by a certified aerobics teacher.
The beauty of Kegel exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, without anyone knowing.
Kegels strengthen the muscles that help hold up the uterus, bladder, and bowels, which helps labor and delivery.
To do them, squeeze the pelvic muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating or passing gas. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times, five times a day.
Exercises for your abs can ease an aching back and help fight a “sway back” posture that may develop as the uterus gets heavier. Two safe options are:
Kneeling Pelvic Tilt: On all fours with a flat back, tighten the abs and gently arch your back to the ceiling. Don’t let your belly sag down.
Standing Pelvic Tilt: Back up to a wall, with your feet three inches out. Tighten your stomach and buttocks and press your low back to touch the wall.