Exercises to Do While Pregnant: Top 10 Prenatal Workouts
Top 10 Exercises to Do While Pregnant
Starting your search for safe and effective exercises to do while pregnant? Maintaining fitness during pregnancy is vital for both mother and baby’s health. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 beneficial and safe exercises during pregnancy.
We’ll also discuss important considerations about which exercises are best avoided. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or new to exercise, these workouts are designed to keep you active and healthy throughout your pregnancy journey.
Consult With Your Doctor
Before diving into any exercise regimen during pregnancy, seeking approval from your healthcare provider is critical. Pregnancy is a time of significant changes in your body, and what might be safe for one person could be risky for another.
Consulting with your doctor ensures that your exercise plan is safe for you.
1. Wall Push-Ups
Wall push-ups are an excellent exercise for expectant mothers looking to maintain upper body strength.
Stand about an arm’s length from a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Position your hands against the wall, keeping them at shoulder height and width. Gradually lower your body towards the wall while bending your elbows, then push back up to the starting position.
This movement helps strengthen your chest, shoulders, and arms without straining your back or belly. Aim for 15 repetitions, but remember, maintaining good form is more important than hitting a specific number of reps.
2. Squats with a Fitness Ball
Squats are beneficial for preparing your body for labor and delivery. The fitness ball adds support and safety to this exercise.
Place the ball against a wall and lean your lower back against it. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While lowering your body into a squat be sure to slowly bend your needs while the ball rolls along your back.
As you do these squats, be sure to keep the weight in your heels, and always maintain a straight back. Squat down as far as comfortable, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, slowly return to the starting position. Aim for up to 10 reps, ensuring you don’t overexert yourself.
3. Leg Raises
Leg raises are great for strengthening your back and abdominal muscles, which are crucial during pregnancy.
Start on your hands and knees, ensuring your back is straight and your hands are under your shoulders. Slowly extend one leg behind you, keeping it in line with your body. Hold for a few seconds, then gently lower it back down.
Repeat on the other side. This exercise strengthens your core muscles while simultaneously improving your balance. Gradually work your way up to 10 repetitions on each side.
Step-ups are a simple yet effective lower-body workout. Use a sturdy step stool or the bottom step of a staircase.
Step up onto the stool with your right foot, then bring your left foot up to meet it. Then step back down, alternating the leading foot each time.
This exercise strengthens your legs, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances balance and coordination. Keep your back straight and use a wall or railing for support if needed. Continue the exercise while maintaining proper posture.
5. Modified Side Plank
The modified side plank is a safe way to work the muscles along your sides, which can help with balance and stability as your belly grows.
Lie on your side, propped up on your forearm. Keep your elbow directly under your shoulder, and make sure your body forms a straight line from head to feet. Gently lift your hips off the ground, holding the position for a few seconds before lowering back down.
Do this on both sides, aiming for up to 10 repetitions each. Remember to breathe evenly throughout the exercise.
6. Supported V-Sits
Supported V-sits help strengthen your core muscles in a safe and controlled manner.
Sit on the ground with a balance trainer behind your lower back for support. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands at your sides. Lift one leg until it’s parallel to the floor, hold for a few seconds, then gently lower it back down.
Alternate legs, aiming for ten repetitions on each side. This exercise helps maintain core strength, which is important for posture and back health during pregnancy.
7. V-Sits on a Balance Trainer
This variation of the V-sit targets your abdominal muscles.
Sit atop a balance trainer, maintaining an upright posture. Place your feet flat on the floor, and lean back slightly until you feel your abs engage. Hold this position for several seconds, then return to the starting position.
Aim for ten repetitions, focusing on engaging your core muscles while keeping the movement controlled and smooth.
8. One-Leg V-Sits
For a more challenging variation, progress to one-leg V-sits.
Sit on the balance trainer as before, but this time, lift one foot off the floor while leaning back. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to the start and repeat with the other leg.
Perform up to 10 reps per leg. This exercise not only strengthens your core but also improves your balance, which can be beneficial during pregnancy.
9. Seated Rowing with Resistance Tubing
Seated rowing is an effective way to strengthen your upper back and improve posture.
Place resistance tubing under each foot on a fitness ball or sturdy chair. Hold the handles (or the tubing itself) with your palms facing in. Pull the tubing back, drawing your elbows back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to the starting position.
Aim for 15 repetitions, focusing on smooth, controlled movements.
10. Seated Dead Lifts with Resistance Tubing
Seated deadlifts target the muscles in your lower back, which are essential for supporting your growing belly.
Sit with the resistance tubing under your feet. Hold the handles with palms facing in. Lean forward from hips, then sit back up.
Be careful not to round your back; keep the movement hinged at your hips. Work up to 15 repetitions, adjusting the resistance as needed.
Exercises Not to Do While Pregnant
Is it safe to do ab exercises while pregnant? Some are, but avoid any that require lying on your back after the first trimester. While some ab exercises are safe during pregnancy, it’s crucial to avoid any that involve lying flat on your back after the first trimester. This position can put pressure on the vena cava, a major blood vessel, potentially reducing blood flow to your heart and baby.
Pause On Contact Sports
Contact sports are also a big no-no during pregnancy. Sports like basketball, soccer, or hockey pose a high risk of impact and should be avoided so you don’t hurt yourself, or your baby.
Similarly, activities with a high risk of falling, such as skiing, horseback riding, or gymnastics, should be set aside until after your pregnancy.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Heavy weightlifting is another area to approach with caution. Lifting very heavy weights can increase the risk of injury, particularly in the abdominal area.
Instead, focus on moderate strength training using lighter weights or resistance bands, which can be just as effective without the added risk.
Beyond these specific activities, there are general guidelines to keep in mind. It’s advisable to avoid any exercises that involve jarring motions or rapid changes in direction. These can be unsettling and potentially harmful as your body and sense of balance change during pregnancy.
Also, as your pregnancy progresses, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which loosens ligaments and joints in preparation for birth. This can increase your risk of injury during high-impact or high-intensity exercises.
While it’s very beneficial to stay active while pregnany, you always have to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Key Takeaways on Exercises to Do While Pregnant
Staying active during pregnancy is great for both you, and your baby. These exercises to do while pregnant offer a safe and effective way to maintain fitness and prepare for labor. Remember, listening to your body and making modifications as needed is essential.
Ready to start training while pregnant but don’t want to do it alone? Reach out to Peak Physique to schedule a consultation and get your first workout free!