If you’re newly pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, you’re probably wondering what kind of exercise you can safely perform throughout your pregnancy. What are appropriate exercises during each trimester? When should I stop exercising? These questions and more will be answered below. So keep reading.
A lot of times women are told not to exercise at all during their pregnancy, but this is not always the case as there are tons of great ways to exercise without disrupting you or your baby!
What movement is good movement for me and baby?
Prenatal yoga and pilates have been shown to be super beneficial for soon-to-be moms as you progress throughout your pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and looking for ways to relax and stay fit, prenatal yoga or pilates may be a great option.
Before participating in a prenatal yoga or pilates class, knowing safety tips and what typical classes may entail will be important. It is important to note prenatal classes are specifically designed for pregnant women, focusing on safe techniques and poses for all stages of pregnancy.
Remember, it is important to talk to your physician and meet with a pelvic floor physical therapist prior to participating in yoga and pilates classes if you did not participate in these before your pregnancy.
Benefits of Yoga & Pilates During Pregnancy
1.Reduces Stress & Anxiety is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnanacy
Combining movement with breathing patterns has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety by blocking the nervous system from creating more cortisol, which in high amounts causes more depression and anxiety.
2.Improves Sleep is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnancy
Regular yoga practices help with improving and regulating our sleep rhythm, which makes it easier to fall asleep each night. Yoga and pilates are designed to strengthen, stretch, and relax the muscles, which aids with staying asleep at night.
3.Improves Blood Flow is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnancy
Yoga and pilates are designed to increase blood flow throughout your body with movement. If you’re experiencing increased blood flow, then your baby will also be receiving more oxygen-rich blood, which will keep them on track for normal, healthy development.
4.Improves the labor experience is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnancy
Yoga and pilates focus on breathing patterns during movement, which helps coordinate the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to improve the delivery process. Improving breathing techniques can help reduce and manage shortness of breath during contractions and delivery. Yoga focuses on meditation principles, which can help you relax and stay positive throughout the delivery process.
5.Support system is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnancy
Name a better way for creating a social network during your pregnancy than a class filled with other expecting moms. Having a support network of other moms assists with reducing anxiety associated with the delivery process and postpartum stresses. Having the network to discuss experiences and hear others’ stories can be comforting.
6.Assists with Postpartum Recovery is a Benefit to Exercising During Pregnancy
Since yoga and pilates focus on diaphragmatic breathing and abdominal strengthening, risk of having an unplanned C-section or abdominal separation reduces with participation. These prenatal classes will also improve body awareness needed for preparing to push during delivery. A smooth delivery assists with having a smooth recovery.
There are certain things to keep in mind during each trimester to ensure you and your baby stay safe.
A general rule is the further along in your pregnancy, the less intense your workouts should be to ensure you and baby are staying safe. Also remember to meet with your physician and pelvic floor physical therapist before participating in exercise.
1.The first trimester. At the start of your pregnancy, you may feel tired and sick. It is important to not push yourself too hard during this phase to prevent feeling worse. Performing yoga poses and pilates slowly and carefully can assist with preventing increased nausea. Yoga during this phase of pregnancy is great for reducing back aches.
2.The second trimester. As your belly begins to grow during this phase, you are going to want to avoid poses on your belly and sharp twists. This is the time when you also want to avoid lying on your back for extended time because this can compress one of the most important veins in your body, which prevents baby from getting good blood too.
3.The third trimester. Once you get into your third trimester, you may start to notice your balance begins to get a bit off-centered due to your belly growing more. TOTALLY NORMAL. Focusing on hip opening exercises will assist with stretching the pelvic floor muscles to allow for improved delivery. Remember, it is important to avoid completely lying on your back during this phase, to using props like pillows and bolsters can help with achieving safe, comfortable positions. This is a great time to work on gently strengthening the front of your body to reduce tension in the low back.
Signs to Stop Exercising
Even though you are being careful and attending prenatal classes, your body is doing a lot of work for you and baby during your pregnancy. Keep in mind that this is not the time to push or advance your practice. Instead, listen to your body and have it direct your exercise routine.
Stop exercising and contact your healthcare profession if you experience any of the following:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Regular, painful contractions
- Chest pain
- Amniotic fluid leakage
- Calf pain or swelling
- Decreased fetal movement
The Bottom Line to Exercising while Pregnant
Yoga and Pilates during pregnancy have been shown to reduce rates of unplanned C-sections, birth interventions, and episiotomies, as well as helping manage regular aches and stress associated with pregnancy. It is important to find instructors that have a background in prenatal classes and know appropriate modifications for you to perform while participating in their classes.
How do I know if I should participate in physical activity during my pregnancy?
Once you find out you’re expecting and want to begin exercising, it’s a great time to meet with your healthcare professional and a pelvic floor physical therapist. The pelvic floor specialists at mPower Physical Therapy will perform a comprehensive evaluation including postural, spinal, and neuromuscular assessments to determine which movements will be appropriate for you to perform during your pregnancy.
The pelvic floor specialists at mPower are an incredible resource for helping you feel comfortable and confident about participating in yoga and pilates during your pregnancy.