Scared about labor? Does the fear of post-pregnancy weight bother you? Are you anxious about back pain related issues during pregnancy? We have got you covered with our complete guide on Pregnancy Exercises.

Pregnancy is all about 9 months of preparing to fall in love for a lifetime. Giving birth to a child is the most profound initiation of spirituality a woman can have. But along with that, it is a very stressful, annoying and challenging time for a mom to be. Firstly, as the baby grows, the muscles of your abdomen tend to lose strength. The weakening of the core, which is one of the most important parts of your body that holds the weight of the baby, gives rise to multiple problems like back pain, urinary leakage, pelvic pain and post-pregnancy sagging of the tummy. At the same time, pregnancy is the time to cradle all the structural, hormonal, emotional and behavioral changes in your body. As it is said that it’s not just the baby that grows, a lady grows into a mother as well. Making a few alterations in your daily routine can help you to have a smooth pregnancy.

Some people say that exercising during pregnancy especially abdominal strengthening is not safe for the baby. But there is no such proven theory which justifies the same. In fact, keeping up with the daily exercise routine is very beneficial and healthy for the mother as well as the baby. It has several advantages.

Advantages Of Abdominal Strengthening During Pregnancy

  • It helps to alleviate low back and pelvic pain
  • Improves blood circulation. Thus, prevents leg cramps and swelling
  • Avoid diastasis recti
  • Get back to the pre-pregnancy shape quicker

Secondly, breathing is something we barely notice. But it holds a very extensive role while you are expecting your little bundle of joy. Lungs always have a certain amount of air inside them known as the residual volume.

Advantages Of Breathing Exercises During Pregnancy

  • Helps you to stay calm with a feeling of refreshment.
  • During normal delivery or labor pain, deep breathing can amazingly lower anxiety and diminish tension during contractions.
  • Enhanced blood circulation and oxygen supply to the little one.

Now, that you know how important it is to exercise and practice effective breathing techniques in order to achieve desired results. You must be thinking how to get started and what all should be done. If you were engaged into some physical activity or any exercise routine before conceiving then you should definitely continue it but in moderation. High-intensity workouts should be avoided. Low impact aerobic activity combined with meditation and core strengthening is the best plan to follow.

Basic Core Strengthening Exercises During Pregnancy

Abdominal Bracing

Lie down straight on your back and tuck your tummy in engaging your core. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and relax.

Wood Chop – Combined Movement Strengthening

  • Engage the core.
  • Stand with shoulder-width apart with feet gripping the ground firmly.
  • Hold onto the ball with both hands. Squat down with weight equally distributed on both feet and make sure that the spine is kept neutral.
  • Stand up holding the ball and rotate your body towards the opposite side taking your arm diagonally upwards.
  • And repeat.

Bird Dog Exercise

  • Start with a quadruped position i.e. all four limbs in contact with the ground. Brace the core.
  • Raise one arm and give an extension to the opposite leg. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat on both sides
  • If you feel that you are not able to balance yourself properly while performing both the movements simultaneously, you can isolate both of them.

Plank

  • This is the safest and the most important exercise to be performed during pregnancy. It will help you to strengthen your core like no other exercise.
  • Start with the quadruped position. Keep your shoulders and elbows in alignment with hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your hips and knees in order to bring your body in the plank position. Don’t hold your breath. Take deep breaths and try to hold this position according to your comfort but increase the hold time slowly and gradually.

Standing Crunches

  • Stand with feet wide and hands clasped at the back of your head.
  • Lift your leg and bring down your elbow diagonally making an attempt to touch your elbow with your knee
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Perform it for 10 – 15 times each side

Now, that you know the basic abdominal strengthening exercises to be performed during pregnancy. You should definitely take an expert opinion from a physiotherapist as pregnancy is different for everyone. A position that is safe and the best for one lady may be a complete ‘no-no‘ for the other.

Also, you should combine these exercises with normal walking or swimming along with deep breathing exercises.

Breathing exercises to be performed during pregnancy

Slow Deep Breathing

  • Relax. Concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath and relax.
  • Inhale(from the nose) and exhale (from your mouth). Make sure that the exhalation time is more than the inhalation time.
  • You should practice it in a way that if you are taking in air for 5 seconds your exhalation time should be more than 15 seconds.
  • It will not only help you to relax but also improve blood circulation and manage contractions during labor.

Breathing From Your Stomach

  • You can perform this exercise while lying down or sitting.
  • While you breathe in an attempt to enlarge your stomach with air and exhale.
  • You can also keep some light object over the tummy in order to make sure that you are doing the exercise properly. While you take in air the object should raise up and while you exhale the object should go down.

Breathing From The Chest

  • After a few minutes of breathing from the belly, you can start breathing with the chest. Instead of blowing your tummy, you need to concentrate more on expanding your chest, side to side and front and back.
  • You can perform this for a few minutes depending upon your comfort and it should be alternated with stomach breathing

All these exercises will help you to have a comparatively smooth and happy pregnancy. Once you have delivered and as soon as your little gem is handed over to you all the pains vanish away as the happiness of embracing your baby in your arms is above all the difficulties you faced.

But the ground reality strikes upon you after a few days or weeks, when you observe your sagging tummy and stretch marks. As I have already mentioned, that pregnancy is all about embracing all the changes as they are the footprints of your baby. You can deal with the post-pregnancy weight with a few exercises. You can start these exercises once the stitches have been removed in case of C – section and a few days after a normal vaginal birth.

Exercises To Be Performed After Pregnancy

Kegel’s Exercises

  • This exercise mainly focuses on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Attempt to squeeze your anal muscles in a way that you are trying to avoid passing stool.
  • Hold it for 5-10 seconds and relax. Don’t hold your breath while performing this exercise.
  • You can do it while sitting or lying down.

Bridging

  • Lie down straight on your back
  • Bend your knees with arms along the body and palms facing down
  • Lift your back up and hold for 5 – 10 seconds
  • Repeat it 5- 10 times
  • You can progress this exercise by lifting one leg while maintaining the same position.

 

Planks

As described above

Push-Ups

  • Gaining upper body strength and tone is very important after pregnancy as babies can actually be very heavy.
  • Start with baby push-ups or modified push-ups and later you can accomplish complete full-fledged push-ups.

Exercises can really help tremendously to recoup after childbirth. Whenever you feel that your body is ready to start exercising, it should be kept in mind not to overdo it. It is good if you feel great after pregnancy but doesn’t neglect the fact that your body has undergone multiple changes and it is definitely not as strong as it used to be.

Go slow and achieve your targets patiently. Get back into shape the physio way.