When you have a baby on the way, it’s important to stay as healthy as you can. One aspect of this is exercising regularly. However, some moms-to-be worry that the motion of a good run or the intensity of lifting weights may be too much for the little one growing inside.
These concerns can be pushed aside for the most part; generally speaking, working out while pregnant is not only acceptable but encouraged. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy workouts can benefit soon-to-be mothers by:
- Reducing back aches and swelling.
- Preventing gestational diabetes.
- Increasing energy and improving mood.
- Encouraging better sleep.
Exercising while pregnant may also tone the muscles needed during delivery, promoting an easier labor, though not every mom’s experience is the same.
While the benefits of working out sound great, for the woman going through pregnancy during the winter, it can be hard to know what you can do. With the bitter cold and icy sidewalks, walking or jogging outside may not sound all that appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to maintain fitness indoors.
There may have never been a better reason to strengthen your core muscles than pregnancy. These will support your baby throughout the term and are key to labor and delivery. Additionally, engaging your core muscles in your pregnancy workout plan can help avoid diastasis recti – a condition many mothers experience, which pulls the ab muscles to the sides so that even when their abs are toned, there’s still a bulge over their belly, BabyCenter pointed out.
When doing ab exercises (in general, and especially while pregnant), it’s important to make sure you’re engaging your core muscles correctly. In the case of a diastasis, doing traditional crunches and improper core workouts can actually worsen the problem.
Here are a few exercises that Fit Pregnancy reports will strengthen your core and are appropriate for the pregnant body:
Lie on your side with your head supported by your forearm. Bend your bottom leg to a 45-degree angle and straighten your top leg. Stabilize yourself with your other arm. Lift your top leg to about hip height, then slowly lower it. Repeat for the number of reps you’re comfortable with, then switch to the other side.
First, get into position: put your hands and knees on the floor, your back straight. Lift your knees so you’re supported by your forearms and toes. Don’t let your butt lift or your belly sag; hold for one to two breaths. Work up to being able to hold the pose for up to five breaths.
Improve your balance
As your body changes, you may start to notice your balance is a little off. This is normal; your body is growing in size and weight every day! A few indoor exercises incorporated into your pregnancy workout routine can help you regain a sound awareness of your center of gravity.
Anyone who has taken a dance class remembers this one. Using a chair, table or barre for support, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Turn your toes and knees out 45 degrees. Slowly bend your knees, lowering yourself as much as you comfortably and safely can, then slowly rise back to standing position. Keep your core engaged and your back straight during the entire plié. Repeat for the number of reps you feel comfortable with.
Dignity Health pointed out that balancing on one leg can help you become balanced in your changing body. With a table or chair for support just in case you waver, lift one foot off the ground and hold your balance for any length of time you prefer. Repeat on the other leg.
During pregnancy, your body will be in constant change. Your little one is growing and developing inside, and within nine months’ time, he or she will be ready to greet the world. Until then, your body is your baby’s sanctuary. Staying fit is one way to encourage a healthy pregnancy and delivery.