Many people debate what is and is not safe for pregnant women and their unborn children, but ultimately, there really are loads of pregnancy-safe exercises available to you that can keep you healthy and fit throughout each trimester. Regular, light exercise can actually be an incredible boon for pregnancy, and as it makes you fitter, you’ll also find that it improves your disposition even when enduring the demands of caring for a newborn. Many talk about the stress of post-natal care, but going into it with a healthy and happy constitution and disposition is key.
Remember that whatever exercises you can do that get your heart to pump faster will do wonders for both you and the baby because it pumps oxygen faster to both of you, which is great since your body now supplies oxygen for two. This extra oxygen pumps along with vital nutrients and blood to carry it all at a much more efficient rate throughout the body and, most importantly in this context, to the womb. As such, unless your GP told you otherwise for some special reason, it is, in fact, recommended that you exercise in a way that you can enjoy.
Dr. Dawn Harper is one of the expert partners of Aptaclub’s Active For 2. She explains that “The exercises which are easiest or best will change throughout pregnancy,” alluding to the changes of your body, of course, but also to the different feelings and sensations that will come with that and affect what exercises you are inclined to do.
“In the first trimester (morning sickness and fatigue allowing), you will probably be able to continue your normal exercise regime but as the baby grows you may well find that swimming and yoga are easier than jogging, for example. You will probably also find that as your pregnancy progresses you may want to reduce the intensity to your workouts,” says Harper.
It’s usually just fine to proceed with your exercise routines established prior to pregnancy as you progress through your first and second trimesters. For that matter, if you are up to the task, you can begin an entirely new regiment, which behooves some pregnant women who prefer not to continue engaging in their old routine because it may have been a bit too rigorous or because they are compensating for tinges of morning sickness and fatigue.
Should you determine that it’s best to go with a whole new exercise program for yourself, be sure to broach it gently. As an example of undertaking a new exercise regiment gently, rather than deciding to go running when you’ve never run for exercise in the past, you should gradually build up to it. Start with walking—not ambling, of course, but walking briskly. You can vary the intensity of your walk on your own and control your pace as well as your gait so that you do what’s comfortable, satisfying and physically beneficial for both you and the baby.
|Pregnant Aimee Tibbetts participates in the "Hope for Cures" workout of the day. Photo by: CrossFit for Hope at Camp Mabry|
During that third trimester, though, it’s likely that you will want to decelerate whatever workout regiment you end up choosing for yourself. The usual routine may no longer suffice, or perhaps, in the case of walking, you may find that all you need to do is alter the pace of your walk as your body continues to change. If you’re uncertain as to what you should and should not feel comfortable doing, you can always consult an expert.
Dr. Dawn’s advice on the subject is fairly simple when it comes to knowing what your body needs because she chalks it all up to simply listening to your body so that you know what exercise works in your situation. Though it sounds simple, it can also be a lot easier said than done. “If it hurts, don’t do it,” says Dr. Dawn, which is a good rule of thumb to help you gauge what’s good for you if you struggle to recognize it on your own.
“When you are pregnant, it feels wrong it probably is, so stop and take advice from your midwife, doctor or if you are a member of a gym or sports group speak to the trainers. You may not need to give up all exercise but you may be advised to alter your schedule or try some different activities.”
|Keeping Yokota moms fit in Yokota Air base, Japan. Photo by: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lynsie Nichols|
Even so, though, whether you are new to the very concept of working out or you exercise all the time already, there are all sorts of pregnancy exercises worth trying, and some of them will be right for you specifically. You’ll know which exercises are meant for you quite simply by whether or not you enjoy performing and executing them.
“it’s a great time to incorporate some core stability exercises and pelvic floor exercises to help with your recovery after the baby is born,” Dr. Dawn recommends.