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We get it. Getting out of bed in the morning when you're pregnant is hard enough, and now you're supposed to add exercise into the mix? But what if we told you that some of the worst symptoms of being pregnant could be prevented through exercise. You'll get better sleep, have fewer aches and pains, and your swelling will go down. Plus, how about the fact that it offers a ton of health benefits for your baby, like a fitter heart, lower BMI, and improved brain function? Marci Peralto, MD, FACOG, Physician Lead and Ob-Gyn at SCL Health Medical Group - Superior, adds, "There are even studies that have shown decreased rates of mood and learning disorders in children of women who exercise during pregnancy."
Now that we have your attention, here are the best exercises to do while pregnant.
Swimming is potentially the best low-impact activity that can get your heart pumping. And while you might feel like the size of the Titanic, swimming will be easier than you think. Aim to work your way up to 30 minutes of swimming three to four days a week and then evaluate how much better you feel. A couple of tips: ease your way into the pool, so your baby doesn't have to deal with pressure changes. Also, be careful walking on wet surfaces.
As long as your ankles and joints are in good shape, it's a good idea to get those legs moving. While you may not beat your PR, you'll be doing an excellent service to your body. If you're the competitive type, consider leaving the Fitbit at home. This isn't the time to push yourself too hard. It would help if you focused on running confidently and listening to your body for any aches and pains. If you can keep with it, you'll be surprised at how much faster you are after weight training.
Yoga is an excellent exercise throughout pregnancy. Not only for the physical benefits but also for improving your ability to breathe, relax, and focus. They're great tools to have in your toolbox for when the big day comes. Note: You'll want to adhere to a yoga routine that's tailored specifically for pregnant women. Some of the bends and inversions could be potentially harmful to you or the baby.
Now that you have a little extra training weight, bodyweight exercises are even better for you. Doing squats under your weight is a great way to strengthen your leg muscles and prepare your body for day-to-day activities post-baby. More muscular legs and quads will help you support your back better and alleviate some potential pain.
We know what you're thinking. Your arms aren't exactly the part of your body you're wanting to be targeting at the moment. But the fact is, bicep curls are a great way to prepare yourself for what's to come. Your baby may start light but will eventually grow and grow. And lifting and putting down a 30 lb child is going to be quite taxing on your arms. So get ahead of the game and pay some attention to those pythons.
These are just a few examples of exercises that you can do while pregnant. Ask a physical trainer specializing in pregnancy exercise for more ideas of keeping yourself in shape while your body is in a new condition. "The best exercises are the ones you ENJOY," says Dr. Peralta. "Be mindful of activities and sports that put you at risk for falling or abdominal trauma. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Always be mindful and listen to your body." And as always, ask your doctor before starting a new exercise routine or if you have any questions.