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Exercising During Pregnancy

group of women from the back shot raising their arms as they exercise in a studio together

Exercising during pregnancy prepares you for birth, maintains your strength, and makes for one, happy mama! Keeping, or starting, your exercise routine while pregnant can be tough but it is not impossible. With these tips to stay active, you’ll be motivated to move!

What does healthy exercise during pregnancy look like?

If you were active before getting pregnant, you can continue with most of your workout activities. The trick is not to introduce anything new. If you are just starting to get active, your best choice is, to begin with, gentle exercises for your changing body.

First Semester Pregnancy Exercises

While you’re settling into pregnancy, you can keep most of your usual exercises. If you have any, you can stick with your resistance training and if you want to start getting active, try gentle resistance exercises. Going to prenatal Yoga or Pilates is a good option to strengthen your body.

Second Semester Pregnancy Exercises

As your pregnancy gains momentum and baby is growing, take extra care to listen to your body. Keep checking in with your body to see if your workout activities are appropriate, or if you need to start scaling back. This is a good time to check in with your pelvic floor physiotherapist.

Your physiotherapist can ensure that your internal core muscles is properly supporting your movements. Every time you move an arm or leg, your internal core units stabilize first. Without that activation, you can use the wrong muscles and strain yourself. With your physiotherapist, learn what kinds of exercises are best for you and how to modify your usual routine. By knowing which muscles you can strengthen during pregnancy, you’re in a good place to recover after birth.

Third Semester Pregnancy Exercises

Managing your baby’s growing weight adds stress to your body and lots of hormone changes means low energy, mama. At this point, cutting down on the amount and intensity of your exercises and shifting to prenatal yoga or Pilates is the best way to get you ready for birth. Again, listen to your body.

What should I avoid?

Avoid exercises that are going to strain your abdominal muscles. If you feel back, hip or groin pain, or, see any tenting or bulging at the abdominal, that is not good. With hip pain, you want to focus on exercises that activate your glutes and avoid pressure on your lower back. With back pain, focus on activating your deep abdominal muscles first in order to support your spine. In these situations, getting your pelvic floor checked by a physiotherapist can help.

How can I keep motivated to stay active?

If you’re feeling tired, or are in pain, don’t push yourself and instead, listen to your body. Doing a few gentle yoga movements (such as cat/cow, child pose, supported garland pose) can help your body feel opened and relaxed. Try a series of butterfly movements with your leg out to the side, either in a sitting or standing position.

Keeping active during your pregnancy keeps you fit and prepares you both for birth and recovery after birth. Talk to your pelvic floor physiotherapist if you experience back, hip or groin pain during your pregnancy exercises. Being pro-active is the best way to ensure your safety throughout an active pregnancy.

What is your favourite way to stay motivated and active while pregnant? Let us know in the comments below!

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