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Posted November 22, 2012 in PREGNANCY
 
 

Best Exercises For Pregnant Women

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Once upon a time, being pregnant had been a license to put your legs up and laze around in your nighties. In fact, your grandmother may stress that pregnant women must rest. Recently however, research has proven otherwise. Regular exercise during pregnancy has been shown to provide many health benefits to the mother. Some of these benefits include increasing your energy levels, improving circulation and helping you to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape more easily after delivery and recovery. The greatest benefit of exercising during pregnancy is that it helps make labor and delivery easier.

The following are great exercises for pregnant women.

Kegels

Kegel exercises are small internal contractions of the pelvic muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels. It is one of the best exercises for pregnant women. Strengthening these muscles during pregnancy improves circulation to your rectal and vaginal area, thus helping to minimize the two most common problems of pregnant women which are urine leakage and hemorrhoids. Most importantly, evidence suggests that these exercises when done regularly and properly can help women control their muscles during labor and delivery. Women who perform Kegel exercise find that they have an easier labor and delivery process.

How do I do Kegels?

You may do this anywhere and not a soul will notice- in the bus, in the grocery, in front of your computer. Do this by imagining you are stopping the flow of urine. You will feel the muscles in your vagina and bladder contract but there shouldn’t be any contraction in your stomach, buttock or leg muscles. You can do this in one of two ways. To do Slow Kegels, contract your pelvic muscles for 10 seconds, release and repeat as often as 10 times. In Fast Kegels, quickly contract your pelvic muscles 25 to 30 times and relax for 5 seconds. Repeat up to 4 times.

Don’t do kegels when your bladder is full; it has been shown to weaken the bladder muscles in this situation.

 Pelvic Tilt or Angry Cat

Lower-back pain is a common problem during pregnancy. It typically occurs at the joint where the pelvis meets your spine. There are many reasons why this happens including weight gain, posture changes due to the shifting of your center of gravity, hormone changes, muscle separation and stress. Pelvic tilts are regarded as one of the best exercises for pregnant women for strengthening the abdominal muscles, relieving back pains and easing childbirth.

How do I do Pelvic Tilts?

Pelvic tilts can be done in different positions, but the easiest way to learn it is on an all-four position, down on your hands and knees, that is. Comfortably get on your hands and knees, ensure proper body alignment, especially of your head and spine. Keep your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. As you inhale pull your abdomen in, arch your back upward and hold for a couple of seconds. Then relax your abdomen and keep your back flat. Repeat 3 to 5 times following the rhythm of your breathing.

Squatting

Squatting may not be the most elegant position to be in, but it has been proven to prepare women for giving birth. This exercise strengthens the thighs and opens up the pelvic outlet to about ¼ of an inch which allows more room for the baby to maneuver while descending.

How do I do Squatting?

An easy way to do this is through a Wall Slide. Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart and about 6 inches from the wall. Keep your back straight, and slowly and gently slide down the wall. Lower your tailbone as if you were sitting down. Keep your balance and most of your weight on your heels. Hold your ground for 5 to 10 seconds, then breathe in and as you exhale, push down on your legs and rise.

Tailor Pose/Sitting

With your newfound flexibility, it pays great to capitalize on this new feature provided by pregnancy. Tailor poses strengthen and stretch the muscles in your back, pelvis, thighs and will improve posture. In addition, these exercises keep your pelvic joints flexible, improve circulation, and greatly ease childbirth.

How do I do a Tailor Pose?

This exercise is easy to follow. Sit on the floor with your posture straight in a butterfly posture. Draw the bottoms of your feet together and drop your knees comfortably. Press both knees gently toward the floor with your elbows. As you do this you will feel your thigh muscles stretch. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, release, and repeat up to 10 times. Do not push your knees up and down in rapid successions as this will put a stress on your muscles. Sit against a wall to support your back if you find it difficult and uncomfortable to keep a straight posture.

Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardiovascular exercises are a good way to keep fit and healthy while having fun. These are great exercises for pregnant women. It promotes good circulation, increase energy levels and metabolism. They are also well-known as stress busters as these exercises promote the release of feel-good hormones.

Doing at least 30 minutes of cardio a day will be beneficial both to you and your baby. Walking is the best choice for pregnant women, studies have shown. It is low-impact, easy on your body, and has great health benefits. In fact, walking is the best free way to improve health at a low risk.

Running, stationary cycling, swimming and dancing are also good cardio workouts for pregnant women, but make sure you consult with your doctor to make sure that these are right for you.  These are typically acceptable only if you have been accustomed to them. Avoid contact sports at any cost, or any activities where there is a risk of falling or being hit.

A few points to remember:

Wear a sports bra that will provide good support to your enlarging growing breasts

Wear rubber-soled shoes

Keep your breathing stable

Hydrate; Don’t overdo it- 30 mints of cardio is fine