Preparing for the Big Day: Getting Physical
Some pregnant women are wary of overexerting themselves and would rather be idle than exercise. While rest is important, exercise also plays a significant role during pregnancy as it prepares the body for childbirth.
Proper exercise increases your strength, flexibility, and endurance. It does wonders for your mood, relieves body aches, and improves sleep. Also, maintaining a workout routine makes getting back to your pre-pregnancy body easier.
“You need to be physically active during pregnancy. It has terrific benefits that are associated with a better pregnancy outcome and even shorter labor. It’s a win-win for baby and for mom,” says high-risk pregnancy expert Laura Riley, MD, spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and author of Pregnancy: You and Your Baby. ACOG recommends pregnant moms spend at least 30 minutes doing moderate intensity exercises at least 3 times a week.
These things being said, it’s time to get physical! Here are 5 heart-pumping exercises that are safe for both you and your unborn child.
Swimming is one of the best and safest exercises for pregnant women. Aside from working out your arms and legs, swimming reduces swelling and pain in your back and joints. It also helps with posture as the buoyancy allows you to easily maintain an upright position.
This is a great way to strengthen and stretch your back, thigh, and pelvic muscles. Sit on the floor with your back straight and keep the soles of your feet pressed together. From there, slowly push your knees toward the ground using your elbows to stretch your inner thighs. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and make 10 repetitions.
This exercise keeps your pelvic joints flexible and improves blood circulation to your lower body, both of which ease delivery.
This exercise also targets your pelvic floor muscles. As these muscles support pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, and bowels), toning them can reduce late pregnancy problems like hemorrhoids.
While urinating, try to stop midstream without using your abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles. The vaginal muscle that you can feel contracting is your pelvic muscle. Contract this muscle and hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times, relaxing in between repetitions.
Squatting opens the pelvic outlet, giving you – or rather, your little one – up to an extra 1/2-inch to descend during labor.
With your feet apart, keep your back straight against a wall, and slowly slide down to a full squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly rise to your original position. Make 10 repetitions.
This exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves your back flexibility, reducing back pain during pregnancy and labor.
For this exercise, you are to go down on all fours – hands and knees, while keeping your head aligned with your back. From this position, pull in your tummy and arch your back towards the ceiling, and hold for 10 seconds. Then, relax your tummy, move back into the original position and repeat 10 times.
These exercises can benefit you with minimal effort without needing any equipment. However, while exercising helps prepare you physically for the big day, you have to be prepared mentally by getting to know your hospital and having a plan. This helps keep your mind at ease as you approach your due date.
For more information and EQ support, feel free to ask our experts here.