When exercising, have you ever asked yourself “Is it okay to do this while I’m pregnant?” The American Pregnancy Association (APA) details certain exercises that are beneficial during pregnancy, and also mentions a few to avoid. It is important to remember though, regardless of your level of fitness, you should talk to a health care provider prior to exercising and always stay hydrated!
Minor modifications may need to be made to your regular routines. The APA recommends keeping your heart rate under 140 beats per minute and avoiding overheating, especially during the first trimester. Here are a few of the top recommended exercises from the APA:
Kegel exercises are a great way to strengthen the specific pelvic muscles used during labor and birthing. Another benefit is the relative ease of this exercise and the fact that you can perform Kegel exercises at the office or sitting down on the couch! These exercises are also recommended after pregnancy to enhance healing and strengthen bladder control. On EmpowHER.com we have a great video by Dr. Dugan explaining Kegel exercises and how they are performed: https://www.empowher.com/media/video/what-are-kegel-exercises-dr-dugan-video
Swimming is the next recommendation. This exercise has a ton of health benefits and does not add any stress to your joints or added weight. Swimming is a great way to keep your body toned and also get a great cardiovascular workout! Another bonus of swimming is that you can cater this exercise to your own pace and build upon your strength throughout the pregnancy. (I know… the thought of wearing a bathing suit while pregnant might be humorous/horrifying, but once you get in the pool it’s easy to forget about everything else!)
Yoga has become increasingly popular, and many pregnant women love the de-stressing and relaxing benefits of this exercise. A couple things to be conscious about is the level of heat and rigor that the class performs at and also to avoid laying flat on your back for long periods of time. Always remember to stay at your own pace to refrain from overstretching or pulling any muscles. Many studios even have specific yoga classes for pregnant women!