You might think that you will have to give up on your exercises during pregnancy, but most experts recommend that pregnant women should engage in some sort of physical activity for an easier childbirth.
In fact, in a study involving 384 obstetricians, researchers for a 2010 publication of the Journal of Women’s Health found that 99.5 percent of them felt that light exercise was beneficial during pregnancy, with 74 percent reporting that moderate exercise was advantageous.
To reap the benefits of exercise, you might need to alter your former routine or try new exercises altogether to accommodate the changes in your body. Here are three of the best exercises for pregnant women:
A low-impact exercise comprised of poses that improve strength and flexibility, yoga is ideal for pregnant women. With yoga, you can stay active without putting excessive strain on your body. The research has also found benefits associated with performing yoga during pregnancy. In a 2008 study in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, one group of women completed six one-hour yoga sessions during pregnancy, while another group served as a control. Results showed that, compared to the control group, those in the yoga group experienced more comfort and less pain during labor. Those who did yoga also spent less time in labor than did control-group participants. To experience these benefits yourself, sign up for a weekly class at a local yoga studio, or pick up few yoga videos to use at home throughout your pregnancy.
With a pair of supportive, comfortable shoes, you can safely walk throughout your pregnancy. You will probably find that a walking routine is easy to maintain, even as you grow larger. It appears that walking is beneficial for your health, no matter how fast you go. In fact, in a study in a 2012 edition of the International Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that both vigorous and light-intensity walking improved aerobic fitness in pregnant women, and women in both groups birthed healthy babies, indicating that walking programs are safe during pregnancy. To reap the health benefits of walking during pregnancy, researchers for a 2013 edition of Nutrition Reviews have recommended that you aim for 10,000 steps per day. A brisk pace of at least 3 miles per hour is ideal, as a 2003 study in the journal Hypertension found that walking at such a speed reduced the risk of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition involving elevated blood pressure during pregnancy, by about 33 percent.
Working out on a stationary bike is an ideal exercise option during pregnancy, as it is safer than riding outdoors, where you risk falling or being struck by a vehicle. You can also ride a stationary bike in the comfort of your own home, making it perfect for those days when you simply don’t have the time or energy to make the trek to the gym. The American Pregnancy Association has recommended bicycling as a safe exercise during pregnancy, noting that a bike supports your weight and takes stress off of your body. This organization has also recommended stationary biking because of the decreased risk of falling.
Stationary biking is a safe way to engage in physical activity during pregnancy. Whether you choose this form of exercise or other beneficial exercises, such as walking or yoga, it is important to talk with your obstetrician or healthcare provider to come up with a routine that meets your specific needs. Together, you can devise a safe and effective exercise program that benefits both you and your baby.