Exercising in Pregnancy

Exercising in Pregnancy

June 7, 2021  |  birth, exercise, pregnancy
pregnant woman hiking

Your pregnancy and birth is unique to your body. Your body is constantly changing while pregnant. That's why you need to make sure your mind and body is ready for these. One way to look at it is by thinking you are an athlete. They train for game day and so should you. When you have your mind and body in a good place. Will make things easier during labor. Celebrate in understanding and appreciate what your body can do. Having healthy habits and being mindful what's best for you.

 

Check with your doctor or midwife before doing any exercise. Early on in pregnancy you may feel tired or nausea. It's ok because daily exercise may help. Make it part of your routine. Exercise may also help with strength, cardio, flexibility, coordination, balance, posture, stress and sleep. Even just doing gentle movement can ease pain, help digestion and even give you more energy. Which can help prepare you for labor and postpartum.

 

Walking and Pregnancy

 

Walking is a good way to get some exercise in. It's a good cardio and improves blood flow. Walking is a great way to get outside or have others tag along. Walking is a low impact and doesn't make you feel like you are working so hard. Walking everyday can help burn energy that may help you sleep better and release stress. It can also help some aches and pains from not being as active.

 

Make sure you stretch your arms, legs and ankles before and after walking. Your walk can be brisk, but you should be able to talk and not gasp for breath. Listen to your body. If you feel pain, bleeding, dizziness, faintness, sudden swelling, not feeling baby move like normal or heart beating fast. STOP, lay down drink water and call your provider. If you don't normally exercise you should do it in stages. Start by walking 10-15 minutes a day 3 days a week. Take at least a day off between walks. When you feel like you can add another day and an extra 5 minutes. Try to make your goal to be walking 10-20 minutes a day 5 days week. If you were fitter before pregnancy you can go up to 6 days a week walking. At first you should walk 20 minutes a day for 4 days a week. Be the end you should be walking 20-40 minutes a day 6 days a week. If you're a faithful exerciser going to low-impact might be best. Walk 20-30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Add the 6th day and length when you feel up to it. 


Forward Leaning Inversions

 

Forward leaning inversion should help the ligaments supporting the bottom part of the uterine segment and cervix. The main goal is to untwist them, so they become relax once you come up. Doing this stretch is suppose to help relief pain spasm or alignment. That way baby's head can fit easier during labor. As long as you have no risk during your pregnancy you should be fine doing this stretch. Need to make sure you have sturdy structure. For example a couch, bed or stairs. You come to the edge with your knees together. Make sure you have a spotter especially if you have a hard time keeping your balance. Making sure you are keeping hydrated during pregnancy. Woman should be drinking around 2-3 liters of fuid per day. You can include 3-4 glasses of milk or calcium fortified soy. You can also include 1-2 glasses of fruit or veggie juice, herbal tea, soup, rice drink. The best way to stay hydrated is drinking water. However when you exercise or there's hot weather. You need to drink even more. 

 

Exercise Ball

 

When sitting on an exercise ball making sure you are using your adomen like a hammock for the baby. If you work at a job were you are stuck at a computer or desk all day. Make sure you get up and move around at least ever hour. You can also sit on something firm like a ball to help you hips. When driving especially long distance or being in traffic. Sit on a 9 inch ball between your sitz bones, so they can still be on the seat. The ball should be mostly empty. When getting in and out of the car you need to swivel your hips. You also need to keep your knees and ankles together. 

Stretching

 

You need to make sure you are stretching everyday. It helps keep your muscles loose and it's great for circulation. Stretching may also help you sleep. I mean who doesn't need more sleep. Plus, stretching might help carrying that extra cargo. Pregnancy makes it so women are not aligned like they were before they got pregnant. So get stretching! 

 

With a growing uterus having effect on a Mama's center of gravity. Plus, the relaxin hormone produced by the placenta. Makes it hard for ligaments and tissue to support joints. Your relaxin hormone can have your joints and ligaments increasingly loose while pregnant. You may feel flexible, but don't over stretch. You can injury yourself. Make your movements slow me in control. If you experience any of the following stop and talk to your provider:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • muscle cramps
  • uterine contractions
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • pain
  • chest pain
  • rapid heartbeat
  • leaking from the vagina

 

Now work to your shoulders by doing the Windmill. When doing the Windmill stretch your back should stay straight. To make sure it stays straight when you bend over use the floor, yoga block, an ottoman, chair or stool. Once you have the surface in front of you. As you lift your right hand up and over your head inhale. Then as you bring your hand down, exhale. Follow your hand with your eyes as you move up and down. If you need to move your hips you can as long as they are straight after you exhale. Now switch to your left hand. You want to start with 5 on each side. Work your way up to 10 for each side. Doing the Windmill will help your lower back and buttock muscles. Best to do these daily.

 

Lower Back and Leg Pain

 

Having pains in your lower back and legs. A great daily exercise that can help strengthen them would be lunges. I know I don't like them that much either. You can do these a couple different ways for support. One way is with a partner. They can just help hold your hands for support. Another way is using a chair for support. Lunges are also great keeping the hips flexible. Which makes it easier to spread the legs during birth. When doing the lunges keep your back straight and your knees aligned with your ankles. Lunges will also help there not be tension in the pelvis.

 

Calf Stretches

 

Doing daily calf stretches help with those leg cramp. Plus, when you are in the squatting position when pushing baby out. Calf stretches lengthens your hamstring. Here is how you go about stretching your calf. You can roll a towel or use a foam tube. Your heel should be on the ground and the rest of your foot on the towel. Straighten and bend your knee a little 5 times each. Gradually work up to 10 times each. 

 

Squats

 

After doing lunges you can follow it up with squats; not really my favorite either. When first starting out you can use the wall to help support you. Your feet should be flat on the ground. When going down your toes are pointed forward and your heels down. As you get stronger you can use a chair. You can also use a partner for support and they can do it with you. Both of you have your arms stretch out forward holding each other hands. Go down slowly together for a minute and slowly back up. It's not a matter of how far you can go down. You need to look to make sure your knees are over your ankles and your calves are straight. As you go down have your buttocks go out. Squats help lenghten and strength motion in your hips, core, pelvic muscles and glutes. During labor and birth may open the pelvis and help baby come down.