Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women

July 22nd, 2017

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests that pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, most days of the week. However, as each women’s pregnancy is different, you can be flexible with your workout regimen and adjust to how your body is feeling and reacting to exercise instead of sticking to a rigid daily schedule. Here are some workout recommendations tailored for each trimester.

First trimester (week 1 to week 12)

safe exercises

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Pilates and yoga will improve strength, balance, and lower back pain during pregnancy. Pilates builds core muscles while yoga keeps muscles limber, reduces blood pressure, and improves breathing, which will be especially useful during delivery. In addition, yoga has proven to ease the anxiety and depression which often accompanies pregnancy.

Kegel exercises are also beneficial during your first trimester. Focusing on strengthening the pelvic floor can help during vaginal delivery and also to prevent urinary incontinence during and after birth.

It is good to avoid exercises or poses which have you lying on your back, and twisting your midsection. Don’t exert yourself and limit your exercise time to thirty minutes a day.

Second trimester (week 13 to week 27)

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After battling nausea and fatigue during the first trimester, most women feel a surge of energy.

Swimming and water aerobics is great during your second trimester because there is no danger of falling. The motion is low-impact, and you can build and strengthen core muscles and aerobic capacity at the same time.

At this point you should completely avoid lying flat on your back for extended periods of time because it can reduce blood flow to your brain and uterus. Moreover, steer clear of contact sports and anything where you’re likely to fall or get hurt.

Third trimester (week 28 to birth)

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Low-impact exercises, such as yoga, Pilates, and barre are great third trimester workouts because they target all the major muscle groups, which ultimately prepares you for birth. It is recommended that you sign up for classes specifically designed for pregnant women because the poses are modified for the final weeks of pregnancy.

Heavy weights can prove dangerous in the third trimester. Try body weight workouts instead, like squats, planks, and wall push-ups. Be sure to avoid crunches and ab exercises which have you flat on your back.

Featured image credit: parents.com

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