Pregnancy is an incredibly important time, and the health of both the mother and baby is paramount. As such, expecting moms should strive to be as healthy as possible during their pregnancy. Exercise is one of the best things a pregnant woman can do for her health in order to ensure that she and the baby have the best journey possible. However, it is important to remember that the rules for exercise while pregnant can be different than exercise without being pregnant. Here are some tips for safely and effectively exercising during pregnancy like a pro.
Listen to Your Body
The first rule of exercising while pregnant is to always listen to your body and be aware of how you’re feeling. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, your body may be feeling different than usual, fatigued, have extra aches and pains, or simply not be able to handle the same exercise it used to. It is important to take the time to understand your own body and make sure you are not over-exerting yourself. Taking breaks when needed, hydrating, and adjusting your exercise routine accordingly are all important keys to successful pregnancy exercise.
Focus on Cardio and Stretching
Most pregnant women should focus their exercise routine on stretching, low-impact cardio, pelvic floor exercises, and light weights. Low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling, elliptical training, and swimming are all great options because they are easier on the body than high-impact exercises. Stretching is important to do before and after exercise in order to prevent any injury to the muscles or joints. Pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which can lead to an easier delivery. Finally, light weights can be used to work the upper body. However, pregnant women should avoid heavy lifting and high-impact exercises such as running and jumping.
Eat Well and Stay Hydrated
Exercise is only one part of staying healthy during pregnancy; nutrition and hydration are just as important. Pregnant women need to make sure they are consuming enough calories for both themselves and the baby and following a balanced diet plan. Eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats is the best way to get the necessary nutrients. Additionally, drinking lots of water is essential to keep the body hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Doing so will help prevent injury, fatigue, and nausea during exercise, and help provide more energy for a better workout.
Get Help from a Professional
Although it can be beneficial to begin an at-home exercise routine, consulting with a professional can be even more helpful. Pre- and post-natal certified trainers know how to properly structure a workout routine and adjust it for each stage of the pregnancy. They also can provide guidance on specific exercises that may target certain muscle groups or offer advice on mitigating common problems that can arise from pregnancy. Consulting with a professional is a great way to begin or maintain an effective exercise routine during pregnancy.