Exercise doesn’t have to stop when you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s generally safe to continue workouts at the same level of intensity that you had before pregnancy! As a safety precaution, it’s always good to get an all-clear from your gynaecologist before embarking on exercise since your doctor would know your pregnancy journey best.
Exercising during pregnancy gives you more energy, reduces back pain and aids in a smoother delivery process as more oxygen-rich blood courses through your body.
Here are some simple exercises that you can do at home throughout your pregnancy!
Breathing exercises help pregnant mums remain calm and relaxed during labour.
We breathe all the time, but often shallowly. Deep breathing provides your body with ample oxygen which in turn gives relief from aching joints and muscles.
One breathing exercise you can try is counting breaths. Lie down on the floor, back facing down. Place one hand on your belly and breathe in deeply, counting to five. Hold your breath for 8 seconds and breathe out slowly, counting to 9 seconds. As you breathe out, push all the air out of your lungs whilst relaxing your body.
- Standing Push Ups
Standing push ups strengthen your upper body strength. Stand at an arm’s length from a wall and extend your arms so your hands are flat at shoulder height with your thumbs touching. Breathe in and press your body towards the wall to replicate a push-up.
- Triceps Dip
Sit on the floor with bent legs and your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms behind you and point your fingers towards your toes. Engage your core and pull your shoulders back and down while pushing your hips up through your hands. Bend your elbows back while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Push through the heel of your hand back to starting position. Try to do three sets of 10 triceps dips, resting 30 seconds in between.
- Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga can be practised throughout pregnancy. However, should you have prior health concerns, always inform your yoga practitioner.
If you are a veteran at yoga, you’ll be glad to know that you can practise it in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. If you’re a beginner, it’s ideal to go for a prenatal yoga class at a studio where an instructor can correct your poses.
Prenatal yoga is beneficial as you’ll learn how to breathe deeply and consciously relax. There is very little impact on your joints and your muscles will be more toned and your balance will be improved.
Try the Cobbler’s Pose – sit straight against a wall, touching the soles of your feet together. Press your knees down slowly and stay in this position for as long as you’re comfortable. This is a basic pose which helps to open up your pelvis.
Another is the Wide Knee Child’s Pose, where you kneel on the ground with your buttocks on your heels and top of feet against the floor. Touch your big toes together and spread your knees wider than your hip. Lower your chest to the mat and extend your arms overhead until your forehead touches the mat. You can also choose to lay your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up.
Kegel exercises can be done anywhere and anytime during pregnancy or even after delivery. It’s so discrete, others would be none the wiser!
Pregnancy and childbirth are factors which may cause weakened pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles become loose, you may experience urinary incontinence. To prevent this, start by doing Kegel exercises.
To start, identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your urine midstream. Once you’ve done so, you can start the exercise by tightening and holding the muscles for five seconds and relaxing for five seconds. Attempt five sets and gradually increase the duration to 10 seconds. Breathe normally during the exercises and aim for at least 30 repetitions in a day.
As with all types of activities, don’t stress out your body and know your limits. Stop if you feel any discomfort and avoid overexerting yourself. Before embarking on the above exercises, you may like to inform you gynaecologists – these simple exercises can be safely attempted in the comfort of your own home throughout pregnancy! If you have other simple exercises that pregnant women can try out, let us know in the comments!