A planned pregnancy is a joyous occasion for any expectant couple. Apart from the celebrations and festivities, it also brings about a lot of lifestyle changes which are essential to nurturing the unborn child. Exercise is one such change that can significantly improve the health of the mother and the baby.
However, many people have the notion that working out during pregnancy can be risky. While it might be partially true, there are a few exercises that are absolutely safe for expectant mothers. To elaborate further, a few safety tips and 3 pregnancy-safe exercises will be explored in this blog.
Safety tips for exercises during pregnant
Before starting any kind of workout routine as a pregnant woman, it is vital to contact your OB/GYN. Your doctor would have the maximum information on your health and thus, would be the ideal person to screen you for an exercise program. Apart from regular obstetrician visits, it is also recommended to take a non-invasive prenatal test to screen for any genetic abnormalities, as it might complicate the situation further.
If the test results come back as normal and you have received the go-ahead from your doctor, only then should you begin a workout routine. Apart from consulting the doctor, it's recommended to follow common sense advice such as drinking plenty of water, avoiding overheating your body, and wearing supportive clothing such as comfortable sports bras and a belly band. Now that you’re armed with the right gear and a clean bill of health, it’s time to look at three pregnancy-safe exercises you can definitely add to your normal routine.
3 Pregnancy-Safe Exercises at Home and the Gym
1. Pelvis Articulation
A move designed to open up the hips, pelvis articulation is a perfect exercise for pregnant women, as it is moderately challenging and it not too strenuous on the body. To perform this exercise, you need to place one foot forward and one at the back. But, rather than just placing the foot back, imagine that you are frozen mid-step. Then, in this position, slowly lower the back heel to the ground. This will create much-needed tension in your core and glutes. Once the back leg is locked in position, slightly bend your front knee. Also, try to keep the toes of both your feet pointing straight ahead.
Once you have settled into this position, you need to open and close your hip flexors by rotating your pelvis and keeping your legs stationary in the position mentioned above. Remember to switch legs to get a balanced workout.
Since this is a lower body-dominant exercise, it is recommended to also include a slight resistance for your upper body. Equip yourself with some light dumbbells and move your elbows back in tandem with your rotating hips. Alternate the movement on each arm to create proper muscle balance. If you don’t have dumbbells, you can recreate this movement with water bottles as well.
2. Incline Pushups
While the first exercise is perfect for the hips and the arms, this particular movement targets the entire front portion of the upper body and is a favorite in the fitness world. There are several variations to the incline pushup, but for the sake of safety and limited mobility, consider doing an easier version, as the one explained below.
Face a ledge, railing or a raised countertop and place both your hands on top of the surface, palms facing away from your body. Make sure that the arms are parallel to each other and are spaced shoulder-width apart. Now, move your legs back without moving your arms until you are in a standing plank position. Make sure that your back is straight.
Now, slowly lower your chest towards the surface as far as you can go or until you touch the surface. Remember, the idea here is to get a good stretch and not to strain yourself too much. After reaching the final position, move back up to the starting position until your arms are once again parallel to each other. Also, remember to not arch your back throughout the movement. For an optimal workout, perform at least 10 to 12 repetitions of this exercise for two or more sets.
3. Diastasis recti correction
A condition faced by some pregnant women, diastasis recti is a phenomenon where the abdominal muscles are separated along the midline of the belly, creating a distended or bloated effect. Fortunately, it can be fixed with an exercise known as diastasis recti correction. To perform this exercise, lay down flat on the floor and bend your knees so that the sole of your feet is resting flat against the ground. Place a pillow to support your neck and shoulders while you are in this position.
Next, take a twin sheet and roll it until it is 4 inches thick and place it on your lower back. Now, take the two ends of the sheet and place them over your belly, so that they form an ‘X’ shape. Then take a deep breath and slowly raise your head and shoulders off the pillow so that your belly is hugging the sheets lightly, creating support for your abdominal muscles. Exhale as your lower your head and shoulders to the starting position.
This constitutes one rep, so perform 10 to 20 reps for a successful Diastasis recti correction workout. Don’t fret if you can’t perform many reps initially, as the movement is new and the muscles you are working on are particularly weak. Perform this exercise twice a day and you will see your reps increase steadily.
While there are practically endless ways to exercise, performing these 3 exercises will ensure a safe and balanced workout that will strengthen your musculature. Try and combine this routine with a mild form of cardio such as walking to create a perfect, pregnancy-safe exercise plan.
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works as a brand consultant and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write about healthcare, finance & home decor. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him via LinkedIn.