Exercise during pregnancy is an important element of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Many women are faced with outdated and vague information concerning exercise during pregnancy. The lack of information can be frustrating and also fear mongering if a mommy-to-be fears she may be hurting her child. In reality, women who are having a normal pregnancy can continue to exercise at almost the same level she was before pregnancy, with only a few modifications.
Here are a few of the best exercises for pregnant women.

1Prenatal yoga

Yoga is an ideal exercise for pregnant women. When practiced mindfully, yoga promotes increased balance, flexibility, strength and circulation. Yoga can also offer the added benefit of yoga breathing or Pranayama, a deep, meditative breath that can ease labour pains and calm anxiety.

Prenatal yoga differs from regular yoga in pacing and modified poses. All teachers in prenatal yoga are trained with correct posture modifications to help pregnant women get the most of out of their practice without over-exerting themselves or injuring themselves or their child.

2Swimming

Swimming is a particularly good exercise for pregnant women, especially those coming into their third trimester, as it is very gentle of the joints. The buoyancy of the water will help support any extra weight you have put on while helping you stay cool during your exercise.

Unlike many strenuous exercises, swimming is safe to take up during pregnancy even if you have not swum in the past. Doctors suggest that pregnant women trying swimming for the first time should start out slow and build their way up to 30 minutes of continuous moderate activity.

Choose a stroke that you enjoy and feel comfortable with and hop on in!

3Pilates

Pilates strengthens your abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and back muscles, which are all greatly important for a healthy pregnancy. Pilates involves a series of movements that help to improve strength and coordination and deep breathing and focused relaxation are important parts of a solid Pilates practice.

Doing Pilates will help take the strain off your back and pelvis and may even help get your baby into right position for birth. The strength you will notice in your muscles will also help your body cope with the strain of your unusually pliable ligaments, a common side effect of pregnancy that unfortunately puts you more at risk for injury.

Before jumping in, check that your Pilates instructor is trained in teaching pregnant women.

4Biking or stationary bikes

Biking is a great exercise but should be discussed with your doctor before continuing with your regime or starting a new one.

Biking allows for increased stamina and keeps your circulation up and your heart rate healthy. It alleviates fatigue and fights anxiety and depression. While you are pregnant, some women may choose to switch to a stationary bike to prevent the risk of a fall and injury to themselves and their growing baby.

When biking, common sense is key. If you’re feeling exhausted or woozy during your workout, take that as a sign to cut back on the intensity.

5Running

Running was often seen as a big no-no while pregnant, but this is entirely false! It’s safe to run throughout your three trimesters, as long as your ob-gyn gives you the OK.

Running offers the same benefit to pregnant women as it does to anyone—lower blood pressure, stress reduction, weight maintenance—and women who ran while pregnant were also found to have lower rates of diabetes and preeclampsia.

As always, listen to your body when running. If you feel your heart racing out of control or you begin to overheat, slow down and recoup and start again at a more controlled pace.

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