Pregnancy alters the physiology of the body. This altered physiological state brings along with it tiredness, easy fatigue, insomnia, muscle cramps and sometimes complications like gestational diabetes mellitus and pregnancy induced hypertension. This is the time that your body has to prepare itself to face the big day – the day of labor and delivery.
Doing some regular exercises during pregnancy not only helps you to endure the changes during pregnancy but also prepares your body to face the labor by strengthening the muscles and improving your stamina. Flexibility of joints and good tone of muscles are necessary for a good labor.
The complaints of feeling tired, having a back pain, feeling low etc., could be reduced when you exercise in pregnancy. It also helps you to be healthy, build your stamina to endure labor and help you get back into shape after pregnancy.
It also prevents the occurrence of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. While exercising during pregnancy seems all beneficial, we cannot deny the fact that the pregnant woman’s body is not fit to do heavy workouts.
So let’s see what are the exercise during pregnancy that are safe to do during pregnancy. While walking, jogging, swimming, dancing etc. are commonly suggested exercises, here’s a list of interesting and easy to do exercises that you can do during pregnancy.
Exercise for Pregnant Women
Below are some awesome and effective exercise during pregnancy for normal delivery. Working out while pregnant will make you feel more relaxed because your muscles, which get cramped during pregnancy, will release. Exercising while pregnant also helps you in delivering without any complications.
1. Butterfly Flap
Performing a butterfly flap (Titli Asana in Hindi) strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor, thigh and abdomen. It can be done easily. You can use a pillow and lean on to a wall initially for the erect posture.
- Sit erect with your back straight and legs crossed.
- Bring your feet together so that their sole meet.
- Hold your toes with your fingers by extending your arm.
- Now, flap your knees like the wings of a butterfly. Gentle up and down motion.
- Do this for 10-20 times a day. It helps to loosen up your pelvis for an easier labor.
2. Flap like a Fish
Flapping of a fish is different from that of a butterfly. Similarly, this is a different work out that would help you with relaxing the nerves of the legs and also with digestion.
- Lie on your side with fingers under your head.
- Bend your left leg in such a way that the left knee reaches up to the ribs. Don’t overdo it, just up to the level which is comfortable to you.
- Now, move the arms towards the left knee trying to touch your left knee with your left elbow.
- Relax your head on your right arm and relax.
- Do the same with the opposite side.
Here is the pregnancy workout video to show how to perform Flap Like a Fish exercise.
This posture, apart from serving as a work out to relieve you from constipation and muscle cramps, serves as an ideal way to relax and sleep better during the later months of pregnancy. Because when you lie on your back, the gravid uterus falls back and compresses the major blood vessels causing blockage of circulation.
3. Broken Winged Butterfly Flap
This exercise is similar to the Butterfly flap, with the only difference that you have to do it with a single leg. This exercise loosens up your hip and knee joints and this in turn helps you with labor.
- Sit with outstretched legs.
- Bend your right foot on your left thigh (as far up as possible for you, without feeling any discomfort).
- Place your right hand on your right knee and use your left hand to hold the right foot in position.
- Flap your right knee with the help of your right hand.
- Do this for about 10 times a day for each leg.
Make sure you do not strain yourself.
4. Rock your Baby
This is an interesting workout, fun to do and at the same time strengthens the muscles of your thigh, legs and arms.
- Sit erect with legs outstretched or cross-legged as per your comfort.
- Now take your right leg in both your hands.
- Hold it like you would hold a baby.
- Imagine that your knee is the baby’s head and your foot is its feet.
- Rock your leg like you rock the baby, with gentle to and fro movements.
- Do this for 10-20 times and shift the leg to do the same.
This exercise during pregnancy will help you get your muscles strengthened along with learning a lesson about how to rock your baby to sleep!
Squatting is a very easy and an age-old exercise popular for working out while pregnant. It will help you reduce lower back pain, hip pain and strengthens your uterine muscles, thigh and back muscles and the muscles supporting your ankles. Follow the below steps to do the same:
- Stand erect with legs wide and toes facing away from each other. Hold a support if you feel you’re unstable, otherwise interlock your fingers and hang them down loosely.
- Now bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you would use the Indian water closet and slowly return to the upright position.
You can also follow this video to understand how to go about this exercise for pregnant women.
6. Stretching on your Toes
Also known as Palm tree pose, it is one of the easiest types of exercise for pregnant women.
- Stand erect with your feet together. Make sure there’s something to hold on to if you happen to lose your balance, or ask someone to be by your side to hold you if required.
- Raise your arms over your head and lock your fingers for better pull.
- Stretch your body to the fullest and slowly raise your body so that you are standing on your toes.
- Relax slowly and rest your hands on your head. Repeat this for 5-10 times.
This exercise helps you to get a better hold of yourself i.e., better physical and mental balance. It also clears away all the congestion because the entire body is stretched.
The muscles of the anterior abdominal wall is also toned. This helps you to get back into shape quicker than usual post pregnancy.
7. Recoil your ankle
If you are one the women suffering from stiff feet as a part of your pregnancy, this exercise would help you to revive your ankle.
- Sit on a chair or stool.
- Bend the right leg up and place the foot overhanging the left knee.
- Hold this position with your right hand over the ankle and rotate the foot with your free hand in a large circular movement.
- Do 10 rotations each in the clockwise and anticlockwise direction.
- Repeat it with the other leg.
Blood rushes back to your feet and it would feel as good as new. Swelling , cramps and numbness will all vanish.
8. Cat Stretch Pose
This awesome exercise for pregnant women will help in relaxing your spinal cord since the weight of your baby will shift from spine and give you much-needed relief. It will help you get rid of back pain during pregnancy and can be performed any time you feel the pain.
- Sit with your buttocks on heals.
- Slowly elevate your buttocks and stand on your knees.
- Lean forward gently and place your hands on floor. (Just like a 4 legged animal)
- Start inhaling, raise your head slowly while your raise your spine upward. Stay here for 5 seconds.
- Start exhaling and pull in the buttons while your abdomen gets contracted.
- Repeat this exercise 5-10 times. Do not strain yourself.
Watch this workout video for better help in understanding:
9. Kneel and sit
This exercise is not simply kneeling down like you do for prayer. It involves a step by step procedure. It helps in enhancing your digestion and providing a relief to your acidity problems.
It helps you deal with labor by preparing your pelvis and making it ready to expand and make room for the baby to pass through. If you are a woman suffering from acidic symptoms after every meal (like many other pregnant women), you can practice this exercise directly after meals.
- Kneel on the floor in such a way that your big toes are together and heels are wide apart.
- Now sit on your feet by lowering your buttocks onto the inside surface of the feet.
- Place your hands on your knees with the palm facing downwards.
- Make sure your back and head are erect.
- Sit in this position for 5-10 minutes or until you feel uncomfortable.
This exercise provides immense strength.
10. Pelvic Floor Exercises
During labor, the birth canal expands to as much as the greatest diameter as the child’s head and the child passes through. But it’s not as simple as this sounds.
When the birth canal expands, there is every possible chance to suffer a tear or become lax. But this doesn’t usually happen because of the support of the pelvic floor muscles.
So, it’s important to do exercises that keeps these muscles strong both during pregnancy and after child-birth. Ever tried to hold back your urine? You would feel certain muscles contract for this, these are the pelvic floor muscles we are talking about.
You have to try to contract these muscles voluntarily for ten to fifteen times in a row.
- Make sure you are sitting or lying down comfortably and are not trying to hold your breath.
- Avoid tightening abdominal and thigh muscles at the same time.
- Slowly contract it (Like you would if you had to hold your urine back) and keep it for a few seconds.
- Note that you should NOT do this while you are actually peeing.
These exercises provide the strength for the muscles to withstand the workload during labor. This also makes sure you don’t have a urinary leak following pregnancy. Additionally the strength of these muscles is what helps you get back the integrity of your vagina suitable for better sexual experience after delivery.
We know you are already very happy with the gift that is going to come to your home in a few weeks. We want to add on to that and give you an extra bonus exercise you will love!
Yoga for Pregnant Women
Yoga is probably the remedy to each and every body problem and pregnancy is no exception. Yoga helps in improving flexibility and endurance of body. This way you will not need to lift weights, which can sometimes be dangerous for baby.
The video below comprises of 8 minutes of awesome Yoga poses for pregnant women which you should follow in your daily routine after waking up in morning.
Tips for Pregnant Women
- Take 15 minutes of brisk walking early in the morning with fresh air.
- Avoid rigorous workouts and running.
- Swim in shallow water with someone around, although it is safe for pregnant women.
- Practise Yoga whenever you feel stressed.
- Have a healthy diet which includes all the important nutrients required by body and baby.
- Follow all the above exercise during pregnancy.
- Drinks lots and lots of water.
- Keep breathing all the time, no matter what.
- Working out while pregnant is very important.
- Do not take stress in any other matters or events happening around you.
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What will YOU do?
So, if you’re an expectant mother, this article would make you ready to start exercising during pregnancy. Just a word of caution before that, make sure you don’t have any illness complicating pregnancy (like asthma, heart disease etc.) and any complications due to pregnancy (like threatened abortion, bleeding, spotting, abnormal placenta etc.).
Consult your doctor and talk about what exercises you’re planning to do and if your body is capable of doing it. Exercise and make sure you’re fit and healthy to receive the young one to a joyful climax. Have a happy pregnancy and don’t forget to share this article with your pregnant friends and relatives!