Types of Workouts to do During Pregnancy
7 Different Types of Exercise to do While Pregnant
I’m now entering my 9th month of pregnancy and still feeling great! I’ve continued my yoga and Pilates practice throughout the entire time. I also do some strength training and resistance band work, as well as talk lots of walks. General rule of thumb is, you can continue to do the types of exercise you’ve always done, as long as you feel ok doing it and you dial down the intensity.
I had a client tell me she played the best tennis of her life while pregnant. I also have colleagues who continue spinning or running up until the mid to end of their last trimester. I’ve had yogi’s in my classes, or as clients, who could still do a majority of the poses; and I’ve seen pregnant women at the gym lifting weights.
Most important thing to remember is to always listen to your body. You’re pumping more blood through your system, your body is working extra hard to support the growing life inside of you, and you may often feel out of breath because of the pressure the growing baby puts on your lungs. You also have more relaxin in your body, so you have to be careful not to overstretch or over do it.
Here’s a list of my top favorite types of exercise to do while pregnant. All of these are safe to do (of course after you have your doctor’s Ok) and will help give you the strength, stamina and support you will need when it comes time for labor and delivery.
*SWIMMING—swimming a wonderful low impact sport that feels great for moms to be. Pregnant women can still get great cardio benefits from swimming, and being in the water helps expectant moms to feel weightless even though they are carrying extra pregnancy pounds. Swimming also poses a very low risk of injury.
*WALKING—walking is also a great low impact exercise for expectant moms. If possible, it’s best to walk outdoors to get some fresh air. Treadmill walking is also beneficial but I’ve found getting outside and taking deep full breaths on my power walks has helped me with nausea, fatigue and low energy.
*PILATES—Pilates is awesome for moms to be. Pilates focuses on strengthening and toning the pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominals. These muscles not only help with labor and recovery, they are also key in helping to reduce back pain caused by poor posture as women adapt to their growing shape. Towards the end of the 2nd trimester and throughout the 3rd trimester, there will be many modifications of certain exercises; but there are still plenty of Pilates movements moms to be can benefit from. Pilates helps moms get a sense of hugging their baby and keeping their core strong.
*THERABANDS—I love using therabands while pregnant. I think they are especially great for women who aren’t as used to lifting weights; but still want to stay toned and strong. There are so many exercises, such as seated rows with the band attached around the feet, biceps curls, triceps extensions, etc. that can be done with a band. The band is also great to use at home and takes up no space when stored.
*STRENGTH TRAINING—traditional strength training is also a great way for moms to be to stay in shape and prepare for the birthing process. Squats, lunges, triceps dips and modified push-ups are all doable throughout pregnancy. Lifting hand weights will keep arms strong for when the time comes to lift and carry baby.
*PRENATAL DVDS—there are numerous prenatal DVDS for moms to be to choose from. Everything from prenatal cardio type workouts to prenatal yoga to strength and toning is available on DVD. DVDS also are convenient and can be done in the comfort of your home. I like to do a DVD when I’m short on time or not feeling super energized. Once I put it on, I am motivated to keep going and I get a great workout in. Prenatal DVDs are specifically made for expecting moms so they are safe and made with specific modifications, yet still effective workouts. If you have a variety of different types of prenatal DVDs, you can choose which one is best depending on your mood and how your body is feeling for that day. Every day is different when pregnant! (My Prenatal Yoga and Pilates DVD will be available soon!!!)
*YOGA—I saved the best for last! Actually, any exercise that makes pregnant women feel good is the best; but I have to say that yoga is one of the greatest things for moms to be. Yoga postures open up the hips and pelvis and help prepare the body for labor. Yoga also helps with pain relief and swelling, sleep and relaxation; as well as energy, stamina and strength. I don’t know what I would do without my yoga practice. In my first trimester, it helped me with my nausea and fatigue. In my second trimester, I felt like a rock star and my yoga practice helped me stay energized and enjoy the journey my mind and body was going through. In my third trimester, yoga has helped me really connect with my body and my baby; and it’s preparing me physically and mentally for labor and delivery. It’s also helped reduce the swelling in my ankles and the tightness in my back and shoulders.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!