Pregnancy exercises are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. The recommendations for exercise in pregnancy tell us that pregnant women need to be exercising 30 minutes a day most, if not all, days of the week. The benefits of exercise are many in pregnancy including:
- Fewer physical complaints
- Decreased pregnancy weight gain
- Decreased time in average labor
- Fewer labor complications
- Faster postpartum recovery
- Faster postpartum weight loss
With these benefits in mind, many pregnant women are eager to do pregnancy exercises. Their problem is that they are not sure where to start. Here are some great exercises that work well for many women.
Walking is a great form of exercise and can be modified for many fitness levels, including beginners. Other than a decent pair of walking shoes you don't need fancy equipment and it is a great workout for muscles and aerobic fitness. Many pregnant moms like to walk because the intensity is controlled by them and not someone else. Walking can also be maintained postpartum.
In pregnancy the combined exercise and relaxation that yoga brings is a welcomed addition to your exercise routines. Many of the mothers that I have worked with have used yoga poses in their childbirth classes and then enjoyed it so much that they continued doing it. You may take pregnancy specific classes or modify certain poses in pregnancy, as lead by your instructor. There are also DVDs available with pregnancy specific yoga poses available. I really liked using yoga to help me stretch and focus in pregnancy.
Pilates is a very popular form of exercise. Women who were doing pilates prior to pregnancy are asking if they can continue to do Pilates now that they are pregnant and the answer is yes. Pilates can be modified for anyone and is also great postpartum. Since the core muscles are prime in Pilates and very used in pregnancy be sure to find an instructor who is qualified to work with pregnant women.
Many mothers enjoy swimming in pregnancy. Not only does it help you stay cool in the warm months but it also provides near immediate relief of many aches and pains in pregnancy. The water is a known comfort in pregnancy because it helps relieve stress and strain on muscles that are being stretched and challenged in pregnancy. It also helps mom deal with the added weight her body is carrying by lightening her load while she is in the water.