Happy pregnancy to you! You might have already heard, but now is not the time to be trying new things in the fitness realm. Any workouts and exercise routines you were already committed to before that awesome positive test – most doctors will recommend you continue it. Eventually, you’ll drop the intensity and frequency, limit the weight and range of motion, all based on your body’s cues and your comfort level. Even if you weren’t working out before this pregnancy, there are still safe exercises you can do for a healthy three trimesters.
Prenatal yoga: A customized workout for your evolving body and growing baby, prenatal yoga helps stretch, warm and increase flexibility within the muscles. This is so important because your body is constantly shifting to accommodate your baby. Keeping your body mobile and limber will help offset the risk of preterm labor. Yoga with assisted stretch also helps alleviate lower back pain while promoting better sleep. You’ll need as much as you can get! (via Mayo Clinic)
>> Read more: Yoga Moves for Moms-to-Be
Swimming: Take the weight off your joints by dipping into a pool. You’ll be able to do resistance exercises against the water, which will give you a nice cardio workout, too. You don’t need to do laps, but you can. Try a group water aerobics class that will keep your head above water. This workout will help strengthen the spinal muscles to improve posture that’s often compromised during pregnancy. Even though you’re in water, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Zumba/Dancing: Not only is this so much fun, but an excellent cardio workout too. When you pump up your heart rate just a little on a regular basis, you increase the blood flow, which helps the placenta grow bigger and stronger. You’re going through a lot of physical and emotional changes. A British study showed a short term mood-boosting effect in the dancers following class. Dancing also helps with balance and coordination.
Flexibility and stretch: If this is your first baby, you’re very likely to experience round ligament pain. This is your body’s first go-round to pregnancy changes and the ever-stretching tissues never get a chance to relax. Once you reach the third trimester, stretching should be a daily habit. Check out this Pilates-based stretching video with Real Mom Model, Amanda Strong, for some feel-good moves.
Weight Training: If you’re already weight training, great. You should be able to continue under the supervision of a trained instructor or coach and approval of your doc. No need to go for record-setting lifts right now. As your belly grows, you’ll have to break up with the barbell. As your musculoskeletal structure shifts, you’ll need to go lighter and work out with support. Lighter hand weights are ideal to maintain tone and don’t require much from the abdominal wall. Be mindful of where you’re putting the load. Most upper body exercises can be done in a seated position. Again, only do these under supervision of a trained pro.
Walking: Easy and so beneficial for pregnant women. Walking helps pump the blood up out of the legs to avoid clotting and swelling. It works your heart just enough to reap the benefits of cardio exercise, like upping the blood volume to the brain for better memory and cognitive abilities. Taking a walk is an ideal time to chat with your partner or take some time for yourself. Some women like to plug their headphones in for a relaxing playlist, even a hypnobirthing guide. Click here for a little more insight on the hypnobirthing route.