6 Ways to Stay Physically Active While Pregnant
It can be difficult to tell what to do and not to do in terms of fitness when you’re expecting. (Step one is to always ask your doctor first.) But the important thing to remember is that you should stay physically active during your pregnancy to keep you and your baby healthy.
Here are a few methods by which you can get some fitness while expectant.
If keeping your lower body in shape is a priority for you, there are light stretches and squats that are typically still perfectly safe during your pregnancy. Some ballet-like moves like pliés can be a good substitution for regular squats, particularly if you use a solid piece of furniture to grasp for balance.
If the strain of carrying extra weight is at all a detriment to your exercise routine, swimming or activities in the water are a great way to reduce that strain, particularly later in your pregnancy. As your baby grows, you may find that lap-swimming isn’t as easy, so alter your regimen the closer you get to your due date—even walking laps in the shallow end can give multiple muscle groups a workout.
While you shouldn’t go after heavy weights like you may do when you’re not expecting, you can still do moderated versions of your lifting regimen. Try doing exercises from a seated position with minimally weighted dumbbells (we’re talking five-pounders) to work your arms and shoulders.
Though you will likely have to alter your regular routine a bit, if you’ve got an affinity for yoga, it has many purported benefits for expectant moms. Stretches from yoga can strengthen your muscles for delivery. Many yoga studios have specialized classes for expectant mothers, so talk to your doctor about what positions and breathing exercises to avoid and try out a session.
If you’re after a less strenuous exercise later in your pregnancy that is nonetheless effective, make walking a habit. It benefits not only your muscles, but also your blood-flow and airflow. Walking several blocks daily (with a supportive pair of shoes) can have lasting benefits beyond your child’s birth.
Another technique that often has specialized, local classes in many communities, dancing and aerobics are great ways to stay fit and help stave off the potential for gestational diabetes. And if you’re trying at home or using an instructional video, just make sure to avoid moves that may cause bouncing or spinning.