We are all aware of how beneficial physical exercise is as it maintains and improves our overall health and wellness. But is a physical activity suitable and safe for pregnant women? The uncertainty of physical activity during pregnancy is a question that moms tend to ponder throughout the different stages of pregnancy. Generally, there are lots of concerns going on in their minds when planning how to exercise during pregnancy.
In most cases, working out during pregnancy has been proven to be safe and beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Most healthcare providers recommend a pregnant woman to remain physically active unless other health conditions suggest otherwise. However, as a fitness expert from Vivotion.com explained, it can be tricky to figure out which workout routines are suitable to perform and which activities you should try to should be avoiding.
According to a celebrity yoga and Pilates trainer in New York City, Kristin McGee, it is easier for a pregnant woman to overstretch as the hormone relaxin loosens ligaments. Moreover, as the mother to be’s belly grows, changes can occur in her posture and balance. These changes can make her more prone to injury.
Therefore, this is why it is essential to know the fitness moves a pregnant woman, especially if you are expecting, should never do while pregnant. But before we head straight to five fitness moves you should avoid, let us see how highly beneficial physical activity can be for pregnant women.
Benefits from Exercising during Pregnancy
- Increases your energy
- Improves your overall mood
- Improves your posture
- Helps you sleep better
- Reduces backaches, bloating, constipation and swelling
- Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance
Basic Guidelines in Planning Exercise during Pregnancy
Before you plan to exercise during your pregnancy, it is essential to be attentive to what clothes you are wearing. Loose fitting, comfortable clothes and a supportive sports bra are advisable to wear. In this way, you will be able to complete your workout routine without feeling uneasy.
You also have to consider the shoes you’ll wear for your workout. Make sure to pick well-fitting shoes, conditioning or running shoes, preferably, that be avoidance designed for the kind of exercise you are going to perform.
If you are looking to prevent injury, it is best to carry out your workout routine on a flat level surface. After performing exercises on the floor, you have to get up slowly and moderately to prevent dizziness. Don’t forget to eat enough healthy foods with calories not only to meet the needs of your exercise program but also the demands of your pregnancy.
Of course, one of the most important tips to remember is to keep yourself hydrated. It is vital to ensure that you drink enough water before, during and after your workout.
Beneficial Exercises during Pregnancy
Keep in mind that you have to talk to your healthcare provider first before starting working out. If you don’t have enough time to perform any exercise routine, walking is the perfect exercise alternative to start with as it fits into a busy schedule.
An exercise that can help you open your pelvic outlet is a squat. You can do squats during your labour to help your baby descend. Pelvic tilts are also a great exercise to strengthen the muscles in your abdomen. This exercise will also help you prevent back pain during your different pregnancy stages as well as labour.
5 Frequent Fitness Moves You Should Never Do While Pregnant
Crunches are one of the exercises pregnant women must avoid, especially when the belly starts to expand, which usually by the end of the first semester. As stated by a fitness instructor and owner of the Dancers Shape in Austin, Texas, Jennifer McCamish, your muscles are being pulled apart when you’re pregnant, and your belly grows. Performing crunches can cause you to aggravate diastasis recti which is a non-painful, but displeasing separation of your abs.
Therefore avoid doing ab exercises as they tend to cause more strain on your muscles.
It is true that planks are one of the best ab exercises. However, during your pregnancy, especially once you hit your second trimester, doing planks are not advisable as the movements can cause too much pressure on your abdominal wall. Instead of doing planks, you can opt for the Quadruped Swimming Exercise as an alternative.
Brooke Taylor, fitness instructor and the creator of TFIGNITE PROGRAM and Taylored Fitness NY LTD, explained that the pressure and the weight of the baby are putting enough strain your abdominal wall which will cause diastasis recti.
The same reasoning as planks, doing push-ups can be burdensome to keep your abs contracted. By doing this exercise, you are unlikely to be able to prevent diastasis recti. Keep in mind that as your belly, including your baby grows, there will be lots of unnecessary pressure placed on your abdominal wall.
For those still interested in doing push-ups, you can drop your knees on the floor and do incline chest press instead of doing push-ups. Doing this will help you activate the same muscle group. Or you can try the Standing Cable Chest Fly exercise as Taylor suggested.
Did you know that lying on your back can cut off your blood flow and you’ll end up feeling dizzy? Lying on your back makes your baby press on your vena cava vein, which helps your blood to flow from your lower body to your heart. So, remember not to snooze on your back during your pregnancy, and this same goes for your workout moves.
Taylor recommends the side-lying move as an alternative to working on your glutes, hamstrings and abductors.
You must avoid great twists exercises like spinal rotation or jarring movements, especially when you are now on your second and third semester. By doing so, it can cause you diastasis recti, and the middle of your abs will split which will create an avoidable tear.
A perfect alternative for this workout is doing stabilisation exercises. Stabilisation exercises will help you to continue working on your core even without flexing and extending. Not only that, focusing on stabilisation exercises will help you to maintain your balance especially as your baby continues to grow as well as while your ligaments continue to loosen.
Again, before you plan to perform various exercises during your pregnancy, it is highly recommended to consult your healthcare provider first about the activities that are suitable for your current situation.
About The Author
Isabel Speckman is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home mother of three. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Her writing skills may be confirmed independently on vivotion.com.
Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency.