Just about every pregnant mother has heard about the importance of exercising when you’re pregnant, but how many mothers truly commit to it over nine months? Pregnancy and childbirth is just like a marathon, and while you can never guarantee the outcome, you have the best chance of finishing well if you train well. Like any other athlete, this means proper nutrition and solid exercise. Check with your midwife or ob/gyn if you have any conditions outside a normal pregnancy, like hypertension, etc.; they can give you suggestions for starting exercise safely. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re five months along and have yet to get started; it’s never too late to start. Here are three easy pregnancy exercises you can start right now.
- Stretching. Yes, this counts! Stretching regularly throughout your pregnancy is a great way to enhance your flexibility in preparation for the Big Event, and is a proven way to loosen up and relax anytime, anywhere. Try shoulder circles for a tense back, or slow waist twists to ease middle-back tension. Stretch slowly and frequently, but be careful not to overdo it – increased amounts of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy are already at work to loosen up your joints.
- Walking. I know, I know you’ve heard this one before, too, right? Well, that’s because walking is great cardio for a pregnant body, low impact on those loosening joints, and absolutely free. If you’re in the market for new walking shoes, search out your local running shoe store; they’ll likely have someone qualified to watch you
waddlewalk and fit the best shoes for your changing body. But if you’re on a budget, or can’t find a running store, don’t let that stop you — lace up your most comfortable walking shoes and get walking! Start small, with 5-10 minutes a day, and work your way up. Also remember that speed isn’t important, but watch your form, keep your back straight and mind you footing. Walking is not only something you should do throughout your pregnancy, but is a MUST in labor, so get started now.
- Yoga. Not just for hippies anymore, prenatal yoga is a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy. Try to find a local yoga studio that offers prenatal yoga and feels right to you. Not only are the movements tailored to your new form, but often good prenatal instructors will start a class by asking how everyone’s feeling and what areas they’d like to work on. This is where you would raise your and complain lightly about how awful your lower back is feeling. More than likely, other mothers are feeling your pain (literally), and there are all kinds of pregnancy-safe exercises that can give you relief. Plus, it’s an amazing way to meet other mothers on the same journey. And in a pinch, don’t forget to look up online prenatal yoga routines or YouTube prenatal yoga exercises you can do at home.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to drag yourself out of bed, or off the couch when you’re feeling tired and blah, but if you can just get over the hump of the first few times, you’ll start to feel better and set the groundwork for a great healthy pregnancy.