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Exercises That Are So Easy You Won’t Believe It

Maintaining a regular exercise regimen throughout pregnancy is important. Pregnant women who exercise regularly are generally healthier, both mentally and physically than pregnant women who do not engage in any form of prenatal exercise. Prenatal exercise will also keep you strong, improving your posture as well as decrease common irritations associated with pregnancy such as backaches and exhaustion. In fact, there is even evidence that suggests physical activity prevents gestational diabetes, relieves stress, and builds more stamina needed for childbirth.

Not only does exercising in pregnancy benefit the mother, but it can benefit the baby as well. Developing babies of women who perform prenatal exercises have healthier hearts than those of non-prenatal exercisers. Prenatal exercise could also increase your child’s athletic abilities. One study found that 20-year-olds who were exposed to exercise while in the mother’s uterus performed better at sports than peers of the same age whose mothers did not engage in any type of prenatal exercise.

As mentioned, there are many benefits of prenatal exercise and it is encouraged to stay fit during your pregnancy. It is important however to first consult with your physician before engaging in any form of physical activity. Why? Pregnant women are at greater risk for joint sprains and strains because their ligaments are looser.

Additionally, vigorous exercise can divert blood to the muscles, resulting in decreased blood flow to the uterus. Though this has not been proven to have a long-term impact on the baby, a pregnant woman should always take caution when working out.

Being fit doesn’t have to mean a big time commitment or a gym membership. The following exercises can be done at home, and are so easy you won’t believe it.

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7 The Plié Squat

During pregnancy, your breasts will grow larger, transforming the abdomen from flat to very convex. This will shift your center of gravity forward and could lead to changes in your overall balance. To help strengthen your balance, you can perform plié squats.

How do I perform this exercise?

Stand parallel against a sturdy chair with the hand closest to the chair resting on it. From there, spread your feet parallel and hip-distance apart. Make sure not to spread the feet too narrow or too wide as this could throw off your balance. The next step is to turn your toes and knees out at 45 degrees and gently strengthen your core. Bend your knees, lowering your torso as low as possible while keeping your back straight. Straighten your legs to return to your starting position. Repeat this exercise for 3-4 sets of 12 reps, or however much you can handle.

Tip: Slow and controlled plié squats are more effective than faster reps.

Other benefits

Not only does the plié squat help to strengthen your balance, it also provides some other benefits, such as:

  • Strengthening your quadriceps
  • Strengthening your inner thighs
  • Strengthening your hamstrings
  • Strengthening your gluteus muscle
  • Helping the tendons stay flexible and elastic
  • Improving your mood

6 Side Leg Raises

Side leg raises use your body's own weight to tone your inner thigh muscle. Your legs do important work during pregnancy, which is why they should be strong. Exercising your legs will not only make them stronger, taking pressure off your back, but it can also increase circulation.

How do I perform this exercise?

Lie on your right side and support your head with your forearm. Place your opposite arm on the floor for even stability. With the right leg bent at a 45-degree angle, slowly lift the left leg straight up in the air to approximately hip height. Repeat this exercise for 3-4 sets of 12 reps (on each leg), or however much you can handle.

Tip: Place a pillow under your side for extra comfort and support.

Other benefits

Notonly do side leg raises strengthen your inner thigh, they also provides other benefits, such as:

  • Strengthening your core
  • Strengthening your balance and stability
  • Strengthening your hip socket
  • Improving your mood

5 Bicep Curls

If you’re pregnant, you may not feel sexy. Toning certain body parts such as your arms could actually help you feel more comfortable, boosting your self-esteem. Moreover, building strong arms during pregnancy will prepare you carry your baby once you’ve delivered. To help strengthen and tone your arms during pregnancy, you can perform bicep curls.

How do I perform this exercise?

Sit on the edge of a durable chair with your back straight, feet on the floor, and arms at your sides. Hold a 5 to 8-pound weight (beginners may want to hold a 3-pound weight) in each hand with your palms facing up. Next, you’ll want to bend your elbows so your arms form a 90-degree angle. Lift the weights to shoulder height. Lower your arms back down and repeat. Repeat this exercise for 3-4 sets of 12 reps (on each arm), or however much you can handle.

Tip: Keep your elbows locked at your side to engage your core and to prevent swinging of the arms.

Other benefits

  • Strengthening your shoulders
  • Strengthening your core
  • Strengthening your grip
  • Improving your mood

4 Pelvic Tilts

Every pregnant woman could use a little help with posture. Performing pelvic tilts not only help with perfecting posture, but it can also help tone the abdominal muscles and prepare you for labor. (Those with stronger muscles generally have an easier labor and delivery.)

How do I perform this exercise?

To perform a pelvic tilt, stand with your back against the wall, completely relaxing your spine. Begin to inhale and lightly press the top of your back into the wall. Exhale, then continue for 5-7 minutes and repeat several times throughout the day.

Tip: You can also perform pelvic tilts kneeling on all fours.

Other Benefits

Notonly do pelvic tilts help to strengthen your posture, it also provides some other benefits, such as:

  • Strengthening your abdomen
  • Strengthening your lower back
  • Relieving lower back pain
  • Relieving stressed or tense muscles

3 The Plank

Maintaining a strong center of gravity is important during pregnancy, and a strong core will help to offset increased arching of the back – also known as a lumbar curve – all pregnant women experience. To strengthen your core, you can perform the plank exercise.

How do I perform this exercise?

Get down on your hands and knees and place your wrists and forearms directly under your shoulders. Next, you’ll want to lift your knees and straighten your legs behind your body to form a straight line. Make sure not to arch your back or let your hips drop. Hold the plank for 30 seconds to one minute.

If you’re a beginner, hold the plank position for only a few seconds. Proper form is very important when performing planks, especially when pregnant, and overdoing it could lead to serious injury.

Avoid these common plank mistakes:

  • Letting your hips, head, or shoulders drop
  • Placing your hands too close together, which leads to instability
  • Holding your breath
  • Holding the position too long; it’s better to maintain proper form for a shorter period of time than to hold improper form for a long time

Tip: You can also modify the plank by widening your feet. The wider your feet, the easier the plank becomes.

Other benefits

Notonly does the plank help to strengthen your core, it also provides some other benefits, such as:

  • Strengthening your arms
  • Strengthening your back
  • Strengthening your posture
  • Strengthening your balance
  • Reducing back pain
  • Enhancing your flexibility
  • Improving your mood

2 Kegels

It has been noted that pregnant women who perform Kegel exercises have easier births. Why? Kegel exercises help strengthen the vaginal muscles, which will likely give you better muscle control during childbirth. In fact, toning these muscles could also minimize two common problems that many pregnant women experience: decreased bladder control and hemorrhoids.

How do I perform this exercise?

To perform a Kegel exercise, contract your vaginal opening (as if you are holding in your pee) and hold for about 5-10 seconds. Relax, and repeat 10-20 times, at least, three times per day.

Tip: Try not to move your buttocks or abdominal muscles, and breathe normally during this exercise.

Kegel exercises are also encouraged after pregnancy to promote vaginal healing, regain bladder control and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You can perform a Kegel exercise just about anywhere, at any time, and nobody will even know they are being done.

Other Benefits

Notonly do Kegel exercises help to strengthen your vaginal muscles, it also provides some other benefits, such as:

  • Strengthening the muscles that support the uterus
  • Strengthening the muscles that support the bladder
  • Strengthening the muscles that support the bowels 

1 Swimming

Swimming is one of the best exercises a pregnant woman can perform. It can be done at home if you have a pool or at a local community center. Swimming allows the water to support your extra weight, which can be a huge relief, especially in the third trimester. Swimming also allows the body temperature to be evenly dispersed, which can be a huge advantage for women who experience hot flashes, or for those who happen to be pregnant during the summer months.

How do I perform this exercise?

The best thing about swimming is that it’s very easy to perform. All you have to do is put on your swimsuit and get in the water. For those who fear swimming, there are always adult swimming classes available, which are set out to teach you basic swimming techniques.

Tip: Pregnant women should never swim in a pool that is more than 32 degrees Celsius.

Other Benefits

Notonly does swimming allow for an evenly dispersed body temperature, it also provides some other benefits, such as:

  • Improving circulation
  • Boosting heart and lung function
  • Increasing muscle tone and strength
  • Building endurance
  • Reducing swelling and fluid retention
  • Promoting good sleep
  • Easing back and joint pain

Keep in mind that there are plenty of ways to squeeze in exercise during pregnancy. No matter the type of prenatal exercises you perform, it will have long-term benefits for both you and your baby. If you’re unsure as to which exercises are safe and which ones are not, always confirm with your physician first. When it comes to physical activity during pregnancy, practicing safety should be your number one priority.

Happy exercising!

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