Prenatal Exercise

Friday, February 02, 2007

Posted by Susi

Exercising during pregnancy has so many benefits: it helps you manage the daily aches and pains of your ever changing body, it helps prepare you for the big day when you finally get to meet your baby, and it gets you ready for the rest of your life as a mom. There is also the added bonus of social time with other expectant moms if you take a prenatal exercise class. It is just wonderful to hang out with other pregnant women. The mom's group, I am thankfully a part of, started when we all met one another at a prenatal water aerobics class. It has since morphed into a babysitting co-op, which is really a god send when I want a cheap date with my husband.

Back to exercise: First things first, you should check with your mid-wife or doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have never exercised before, don't wait to start until after the baby is born - try walking. Walking is one of the best forms or exercise you can do when you are expecting. Plus it is free and easy.

In my opinion, the most important parts of your body to strengthen while you're prego are your legs and arms. Having strong legs can help you in labor and after the baby comes you will be using your arms more than ever before. For the legs I recommend practicing the yoga pose wide squat daily to strengthen the legs, stretch the low back and the pelvic floor (the more flexible this area is the less likely it is to tear in labor). For the arms, bicep curls are wonderful. You can do them: with weights or with an exercise band, standing or seated on an exercise ball, at home or the gym.

A few things to remember:

  • Since your body is full of the hormone relaxin which makes your ligaments extra loose, AVOID stretching further than you normally do, you don't want to pull a muscle or over stress a joint.
  • You shouldn't lie on your back for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time once you past 20 weeks.
  • When doing cardio, keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute.
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise because the water make you buoyant and sometimes you just need to feel a little lighter. Plus swimming can help with swelling, especially if the water is fairly cool.
  • Gentle forms of yoga are wonderful ways to prepare for labor and motherhood.

If you have any questions, send them my way: email FitSugar. I love talking about exercise and pregnancy, especially together.

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This Post was written by Susi May from FitSugar


Thanks for the great tips!

Pamela said...
February 2, 2007 at 1:33:00 PM GMT+1  

Wondeful tips Susi, especially to drive away the misconception that exercise during pregnancy may not be safe. Since I do workout everyday, I don't think I'll be able to do without it, even when I get pregnant...Shall surely remember your tips for later :)


Anonymous said...
February 3, 2007 at 5:29:00 AM GMT+1  

Susi, This is so great. I did yoga till my 7th month with Soeren. We especially loved the breathing exercises. After these, Soeren would pound full of life inside my tummy. It was a great experience. I think it really helped me have a brilliant and stress free pregnancy.

Meeta said...
February 4, 2007 at 9:10:00 PM GMT+1  

i did yoga in pregnancy with my youngest two... loved every second and it really helped with the delivery i think. will take up podtnatal pilates now, just found out that there are special pre-natal pilates classes as well. my best friend did belly dancing for pregnant women in vienna, this trend hasn't reached the uk yet!

February 8, 2007 at 5:20:00 PM GMT+1  

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