Between morning sickness, an aching back, and inability to get a good night’s sleep, exercise might be one of the last things on your mind when you’re pregnant. Maybe you didn’t even know that exercise was safe for you right now, but regular daily physical activity is actually key to a healthy pregnancy. Not only can it help to decrease your pain and improve your sleep quality, but staying active can also help avoid complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and depression.
Before you start a new workout routine (or even maintain an existing one if you’re already a gym rat), remember to check in with your doctor or midwife to find out what’s safe based on your condition and medical history. Once you’ve got the green light, these are some of the best pregnancy workouts to help you stay fit throughout each trimester:
Yoga: Want to improve your flexibility for childbirth and calm some of your prenatal anxieties at the same time? Many pregnant mamas find yoga to be the perfect blend of physical and mental exercise throughout all three trimesters. If you’re already an experienced yogi, you’ll probably feel comfortable sticking to your regular classes for at least the first trimester and likelyinto the second, as well. Just let your instructor know in advance that you’re pregnant and that you may need to make some modifications to make room for your bump. Prenatal-specific yoga classes are also a great way to make some new mom friends!
Swimming or water aerobics classes: Tired of lugging around all that extra baby weight, especially in your third trimester? Many moms-to-be love working out in the pool because the weightlessness of the water makes it easier to do movements that would’ve been much harder to do on land. Spending time in water can also help to relieve sore joints and work away water retention in your body.
Pilates: Expecting moms in all stages of pregnancy can really work to increase their stamina for birth through pilates workouts. These strength and stability exercises will help you build up your core so that you can push more effectively when the big day comes. Just like with yoga, if you already hit the mat regularly, you’re okay to stick to your regular classes for the first trimester or two – just be sure to give your instructor a heads up.
Cardio: Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a newbie, there’s a perfect cardio activity for you. If you’re already active and you have a low-risk pregnancy, your care provider will likely give you the go-ahead to continue with your running routine or aerobics classes – possibly with some modifications. If you’re newly beginning a cardio practice, start with walking and build your fitness level up slowly.
Strength training: Love weight lifting? Experts say that strength exercises during pregnancy can be great for helping you build muscle and feel more stable, but you should opt for lighter weights with more reps to avoid any unnecessary strain.
Now that you’e got some new workout ideas to try, it’s time to get moving! Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, at least five days per week.