Exercises during pregnancy

Keep fit and healthy during pregnancy with these safe and fun exercises!

Exercise during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do to maintain health, and prepare your body for labour. Women who exercise tend to have easier labours, fewer aches and pains and lower risk pregnancies.

If you’re new to exercise make sure you take it slow and listen to your body’s cues. If something hurts, slow down, warm up and stretch before trying again.

Here are 5 great gentle exercises you can do while pregnant.

Walking
Walking is one of the most effective and lowest impact exercises, and you can do it right up until you give birth. A thirty-minute walk every day can help you burn off extra calories and improve muscle tension. For women who tend to be very active and are physically fit, jogging and biking are also excellent options for getting valuable aerobic exercise.

Yoga
The popularity of yoga has yielded many pregnancy yoga classes in the past ten years, and for good reason. Yoga improves flexibility, which can help prevent muscle soreness during pregnancy. It also decreases anxiety and stress, two problems pregnant women frequently face. Several studies indicate that, when maternal stress is reduced, the health of a developing baby is improved, so yoga is an especially good choice, it will help you relax during your pregnancy.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This can decrease your chances of tearing during labour, improve bladder problems both during and after pregnancy and make sex more pleasurable. A strong pelvic floor also makes the pushing stage of labour easier. To perform a kegel exercise, simply flex your pelvic muscles as if you are trying to stop urinating. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds – or for as long as you can hold it—then release and repeat ten times. You can perform these exercises anywhere throughout the day, as many times as you want to.

Aerobics Classes
Aerobics classes help you work all of your muscle groups and raise your heart rate in a supportive, fun environment. These classes are especially good choices for women who are new to exercise or who have trouble getting motivated on their own. Check out local pregnancy exercise classes, which are designed with pregnant women’s unique needs in mind.

Swimming
Swimming works virtually every muscle in your body, improves strength and can lower blood pressure. But the supportive environment of water can make movement easier, making it an ideal exercise for pregnant women, especially if you are struggling with extreme muscle fatigue. Remember that pregnancy can make swimming more challenging, so try to avoid swimming by yourself.

Exercises to Avoid

While most exercises during pregnancy are safe in moderation, there are a few that you should avoid unless told otherwise by your doctor. These include:

• Contact sports such as mixed martial arts, football and rugby
• Horseback riding
• Skiing
• Rock climbing
• Any other exercise that puts you at risk of falling or experiencing a blow to the stomach or head.

While it can be difficult to find the time to exercise during pregnancy, it’s worth the effort. You will feel more energised, your labour may be easier and it may also help you lose weight after pregnancy.

Are there any other exercises you found really helpful during your pregnancy? Please comment below to let us how you kept fit.

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Karine is the founder of Little Matrix. She is a mum, a food enthusiast and a self-confessed online shopaholic. You can see Karine in the Little Matrix videos sharing quick meal ideas and a variety of DIY tutorials to help you save time, money and make life just a little easier.