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5 Fabulous (and Simple) Exercise Ideas for Pregnancy

We believe that an integral part of any comprehensive childbirth education includes appropriate pregnancy exercise. When you take a Birth Boot Camp class it will include an exercise program created just for you and this time in your life.  

But maybe you are wondering what you can do right now (before you start your birth class) for everyday fitness during your pregnancy.  This guest post from Jessica Socheski has five wonderful ideas that you can easily incorporate into your life.  

Disclaimer: Be sure to consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise routine.

For many women, exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy as well as a great avenue to faster postpartum weight loss and recovery. Physical activity throughout a pregnancy benefits both you and your baby’s bodies greatly, unless, of course, you are having a difficult pregnancy and may be on bed rest or other physical caution. Some of the possible benefits of healthy activity include relieved back pain, better sleep, more energy, and less discomfort when in labor.

Before starting an exercise regimen, it is important that pregnant women contact their health care provider to ensure their body and their baby’s can handle exercise.

Here are five exercises that are both good for the new mommy and growing baby.

1. Swimming

Swimming is a fantastic aerobic exercise that increases the body’s ability to process and utilize oxygen which is important for both the mom and baby. Swimming also targets important muscle groups, such as the arms and legs, yet is still low-impact, allowing for a comfortable experience that is gentle on your body.

It provides good cardiovascular benefits while allowing expectant mothers to feel weightless despite extra pregnancy pounds. Many women find they have increased back pain from an expanding belly and muscle cramps, but swimming can help to relieve these symptoms by increasing circulation and gently strengthening the muscles.

2. Prenatal Yoga

When paired with a cardiovascular exercise like swimming or walking, yoga can be an ideal way for moms to stay in shape during pregnancy. Yoga keeps pregnant ladies limber and toned while improving balance and circulation with little impact on your joints.

Because of the breathing and relaxation techniques attached to yoga, new moms will find that yoga is beneficial as they face the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. When in labor and in pain, the body produces adrenalin which can delay labor progress. Regular and steady breathing can help a woman fight the urge to tighten up when in pain and relax instead.

3. Dancing

Dancing is a great exercise and fun while pregnant because it helps to keep the body flexible and gets  you moving. As an aerobic exercise, any style of dance can give a solid cardiovascular workout. It is important to warm up beforehand by stretching out the muscles. And you should always listen to your body, as with any physical activity, for cues that it is being pushed too hard.

4. Walking

Walking is an ideal cardiovascular exercise for pregnant women because it keeps the body in shape and fit without adding any additional pressure or jarring the knees and ankles. And, it is a safe activity that can be continued throughout all nine months of pregnancy because of its low intensity and gentle impact on the muscles.When in the first trimester, moms should not be too concerned about changing their normal walking habits. However, in the second and third trimesters, depending upon how quickly the baby has grown, moms may consider walking on flat, even surfaces such as a track to avoid falling off balance.

5. Low-Impact Aerobics

Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and tones the body without putting too much strain on you. There are plenty of aerobic classes at different gyms or prenatal offices where women can be assured that each movement is safe for them and their baby. With these great exercise options, you can stay active and feeling healthy and energetic throughout your pregnancy all while preparing for a natural delivery.

Additional reading and studies concerning pregnancy exercise:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2256485

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24722411

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17650297

Jessica Socheski is a writer and health nut who loves researching exercise and flexibility. You can connect with her on Google+.

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