Pregnancy workouts are regular exercise routines you carry out or perform when you are expecting a baby.
To begin with, maintaining a consistent exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help to keep you healthy and at your best. Regularly engaging in pregnancy workouts can improve your posture and reduce some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue. Studies show that physical activities might prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and increase your stamina needed for labor and delivery.
Again, if you were physically active before pregnancy, you should be able to continue. However, you should moderately do this. Thus, don’t try to exercise at your former level. Rather, do what’s most comfortable for you presently. Instead of high impact aerobics, engage in aerobics of low impact.
Furthermore, pregnant competitive athletes should be closely monitored by an obstetrician. For people who have never exercised regularly before, safely begin pregnancy workout routines during pregnancy after consulting with your healthcare provider. Nevertheless, do not try new strenuous activities. Walking is seen as a safe exercise to begin when one is pregnant.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women need thirty minutes or more of moderate exercise daily on most if not all days of the week. However, this doesn’t apply to those with medical or pregnancy complications.
Below are pregnancy workouts you can do as an expectant mother. They are:
1. Tai Chi
Surprised? First on our list of pregnancy workouts is Tai Chi.
This ancient form of meditation involves slow movements that allow even the least flexible person to strengthen their bodies without any injury risk. So, if you’re comfortable with it and already have the experience, it’s okay to add this to your pregnancy workouts. Make sure you look for pregnancy-specific classes or stick to exercises you know well. Again, be very careful with those Tai Chi exercises that involve balance.
2. Hip Flexor Stretch
First on our list of pregnancy workouts is the hip flexor stretch workout.
The first thing to do to carry out this pregnancy workout is kneeling. Next, take a big step forward with your left foot such that your left knee is directly over your left ankle and you feel a stretch in your right hip. Then, raise your right arm and squeeze right glute to increase the stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat this on the opposite side. This helps take the pressure off your lower back, especially if you usually sit for long periods of time either at work or in the car.
Another ideal workout for moms-to-be is Prenatal yoga. This pregnancy workout encourages relaxation, flexibility, focus and deep breathing. All these are great for the marathon of childbirth. Search for classes specifically tailored to pregnant women, or ask your regular yoga instructor to change the poses so they’re safe for you. Thus, you would be avoiding deep backbends as well as full inversions like handstands and headstands due to potential blood pressure issues. Stay away from Bikram (hot) yoga, because you need to avoid exercises that heat you up too much.
4. Legs Up The Wall
6. Standing Leg Swim
Pilates can also be a part of your pregnancy workouts. A pregnancy-appropriate Pilates routine has the strengthening of your core and lengthening your muscles with little to no impact as the main focus. This will help ease backaches and improve your posture as well as your flexibility. And, all these come in handy during labor.
Also, look for a class tailored specifically to pregnant women or let your instructor know you’re expecting. This will help you avoid moves that overstretch or otherwise aren’t compatible with pregnancy.
8. Hip Stretch
9. Weight Lifting
Lifting weights are pregnancy workouts that can increase your muscle tone when you’re expecting. However, just opt for more reps like between 12 to 15 in a set using a lower weight than usual. Also, you might want to switch to machines, which reduce your range of motion to lessen any chance of injury. Try to avoid isometric movements because they’re exercises where you hold still in a particular position. This is because if you accidentally forget to breathe which is common, you could easily become lightheaded. Rather, use light weights with multiple repetitions and don’t forget to stretch when you’re done!
Again, make sure you ask your practitioner if you need to make modifications to your TRX routine. Also, skip the Crossfit unless you’ve been at it for years and get the okay from your doctor.
Biking is also part of pregnancy workouts.
Firstly, as an avid outdoor cycler, talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe to continue biking outside after getting pregnant and if, at some point, you should stop. The extra weight of your baby belly can affect your balance, and you don’t want to risk falling over when your baby is on board. Thus, wear a helmet, avoid bumpy surfaces, and stay away from wet pavement and roads with tight curves.
11. Child’s Pose
12. Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
13. Forearm Plank With Kick
One exercise you can do when you’re fired up for a workout is the forearm plank with kick workout. You can add it to your pregnancy workout routines at home.
To carry out this exercise, start in a forearm plank position. Engage your core and swing your right leg out to the right as far as possible. Ensure you keep your hips low and stable. Finally, return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
Continue this for one minute.
If you must add hiking to your pregnancy workouts, you must do it with caution. Ensure that you avoid uneven terrain especially later in pregnancy. This is because at this point your belly can block your view of pebbles in your path, high altitudes, and slippery conditions.
15. Cross Back Lunge
The cross back lunge is a workout you can add to your pregnancy workout routines when you are fired up.
To begin this, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then, place a slider under your right foot and slide your right foot behind your left on a diagonal as you bend your left knee to lower into a lunge position. After you have done this, swing your arms naturally. Press into your left heel to lift your back up to starting position.
Continue for one minute then repeat on the opposite side.
16. High-intensity Interval Training Workouts (HIIT)
To begin with, High-intensity interval training definitely isn’t for every expecting woman. These are workouts that involve more hardcore moves to get your heart rate up and require rest. They are simply too intense to begin for the first time when you’re expecting.
Nevertheless, if you’ve been at HIIT for a while and get the green light from your practitioner, classes can be safe with modifications from your instructor. However, avoid jumping, jarring movements and quick changes in direction, and choose lower weights than you might usually pick up. Once you’re feeling out of breath or exhausted, stop and drink lots of water. Again, be especially careful with any exercises involving balance.
17. Plank Walk-Out With Reach
Another exercise you can add to your pregnancy workout routines whenever you feel very energized is the plank walk-out with reach.
Stand with your feet just wider than your hip width. Reach your hands straight up and then fold over and drop your hands to the mat. Engage your core and walk your hands to the top of the mat to plank position. Lift your right arm straight out, then left arm straight out, then walk your hands back to your feet to return to starting position.
Repeat for one minute.
You probably didn’t see this one coming, right? Kickboxing can be added to your pregnancy workouts. With the OK from a practitioner, a lot of experienced expecting kickboxers can continue to get their kicks in the ring. However, be sure to start slow because you may find you aren’t quite as graceful or quick as you were pre-pregnancy. Furthermore, to avoid an accidental jab in the belly, leave two lengths of space between you and other kickboxers. Also, you can let everyone in the class know you’re pregnant or find a class specifically for pregnant moms.
20. Indoor Cycling
If you’ve been spinning for at least six months before you got pregnant, you should be able to continue. You would need to tone down the workout and have your practitioner’s OK. Indoor cycling lets you pedal at your own pace without the risk of falling or putting pressure on your ankle and knee joints. Thus, it is a good exercise to engage in.
Furthermore, make sure your instructor is aware you’re expecting, and sit out sprints if you feel overheated or exhausted at any point. Also, modify the handlebars so you’re more upright and not leaning forward to avoid adding pressure on your lower back. Try to stay seated during hill climbs, since standing is too intense for moms-to-be. However, if spinning seems exhausting, take a break until after the baby is born.
21. Lateral Lunge
Swimming and water aerobics might just be the ideal exercise to add to your pregnancy workouts. Why? You weigh less than you do on land in the water and so you’ll feel lighter and more agile. Also, a dip in the pool may also help relieve nausea, sciatic pain, and puffy ankles. And because your baby’s floating along with you, it’s gentle on your loosening joints and ligaments. This is your body’s natural response to pregnancy hormones.
However, just be careful walking on slippery poolsides, and step or slide into the water instead of diving or jumping in. Your growing baby isn’t strong enough to handle the bubbles that form inside the body when you quickly change altitudes under the pressure of the water. This is why scuba diving is a big no-no.
Furthermore, as your pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity will likely be off too. Thus, the impact of diving isn’t worth the potential risk.
23. Dip With Leg Reach
First on the list of pregnancy workout routines at home for this section is the Dip with leg reach workout. Sit on your mat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lean back, place your hands behind your butt and lift your hips off ground. Make sure your wrists are over your shoulders, knees over your ankles, and your fingertips facing your butt.
Next, using just your arms, bend your elbows to dip hips down to the mat. Then, press back up to starting position and extend your right leg straight up while reaching left fingers to right toes. After doing these, return back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Continue this for one minute.
This is the easiest exercise you can fit into your busy schedule during pregnancy. It’s a workout you can continue right up until your delivery date and even on D-day if you’re anxious to help along with the contractions.
What’s more, you don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership to engage in this exercise. All you need for this is just some good sneakers.
25. Hip Bridge With Stretch
Adding the Hip Bridge with Stretch workout to your pregnancy workout routines at home is a good idea.
The first thing to do is to lie faceup bending your knees, feet on the mat, arms at your sides. After you’ve done this, cross your right ankle over your left knee. As you press heels into the floor to lift your hips up, exhale. The next thing to do is to lift just high enough so that you don’t arch your low back. Finally, inhale as you lower your back down to the starting position.
Repeat this process for one minute and then switch to your other leg.
26. Group Dance or Aerobics Classes
Low-impact aerobics and dance workout classes like Zumba are ideal ways to increase your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing if you’re new to exercise.
Furthermore, as your abdomen expands, stay away from activities that require careful balance. Again, if you’re an experienced athlete, listen to your body, avoid jumping or high-impact movements, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion. Also, if you’re new to exercise, go for the water version of aerobics, which is ideal for expectant women.
Squats can be a great addition for anyone looking to add to their pregnancy workout routines at home.
Begin by standing with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, send your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Simultaneously bring your arms up in front of your chest for balance as you carry out the last step. Ensure that your shoulders and chest stay in an upright position. Finally, lift your back to standing and repeat for one minute.
Running can also be part of your pregnancy workouts. If you are an experienced runner, you should be able to stay on track during pregnancy with a doctor’s permission. Stick to terrains that are level (or a treadmill) and never overdo it. this is because loose ligaments and joints during pregnancy can make jogging harder on your knees and you more prone to injury.
29. Side Push-Up
Side push-ups can form part of your pregnancy workout routines at home. They’re a good addition!
Performing a push-up on your side rather than in the plank position is more comfortable for your back and belly.
The first thing to do is lay on your right side, bend your left leg in a 90-degree angle position, and rest your right leg on top. Then, place your right hand on your left side to keep your arm out of the way. After this, place your left hand on the mat in front of you between your right shoulder and elbow. Engage your core and press your left hand into the mat to lift your shoulders and torso off the mat. Gradually lower your back down to starting position.
Continue this for one minute and then repeat on the opposite side.
30. Ellipticals and Stair Climbers
Both ellipticals and stair climbers are good exercises during pregnancy. Adjust your speed, incline, and tension to a level that you feel comfortable with.
Also, bear in mind that as your pregnancy progresses, you might have a harder time with resistance (or not; listen to your body). Again, you need to pay closer attention to where you step to avoid stumbles.
31. Windshield Wipers
The Windshield Wipers workout is another pregnancy workout you can do.
For this exercise, start in a forearm plank position with your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core and then step your right foot to just outside of the right side of the mat. After you have done this, step your left foot to meet it. Then, step your left foot to just outside the left side of the mat. Finally, step your right foot to meet it.
Continue to alternate for one minute.
When you’re pregnant is not the time to take on a new sport. However, if you’re an experienced athlete, you should be able to continue with certain sports. Make sure you get your doctor’s approval and a few modifications from your trainer.