It's best to avoid activities where you might be in danger of slipping or falling, such as cycling, rollerblading, horse riding, and skiing. However, many professional sportswomen continue competing well into their pregnancy.
The following exercises, recommended by health professionals, are safe for you. Some of them may not be suitable during the last few months of your pregnancy. To be on the safe side, talk to your doctor, a prenatal fitness instructor, or a physiotherapist before starting an exercise regime.
One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It is safe throughout the nine months of pregnancy and can be built into your day-to-day schedule.
Going for a jog is the quickest and most efficient way to work your heart rate up and your body. You can tailor it to your schedule, running 15 minutes one day when that's all you can fit in, and 30 the next when you have more time.
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for you. It exercises both your large muscle groups (your arms and legs) and works your heart and lungs. The bigger your bump gets, the more you'll enjoy feeling weightless in the water.
If you like group activities, you could join an aquanatal class. Exercising while standing in water is gentle on your joints and supports your bump. It can help ease swelling in the legs, which you may find happens later on in your pregnancy. You could also try your local gym or club, but do ensure you join a class suitable for pregnant women.
Yoga & Stretches
Yoga helps maintain muscle tone and flexibility. It's kinder on your joints than other vigorous types of exercise. However, you may have to go walking a few times a week to give your heart a workout. This will complement the stretching you do during your yoga sessions.
The stretching helps to keep you flexible but you shouldn't overdo it. Think about gently opening and extending your body rather than pushing yourself. Your yoga teacher will also teach you meditation and pranayama and show you how to relax your body and mind.
Make sure your yoga teacher is experienced in providing advice for pregnant women. It's best to choose a specially designed prenatal yoga class. If there isn't one in your area, read up on different styles of yoga to find one that is safe for you.
You could also take a look at prenatal yoga videos and get answers to all your questions about yoga during pregnancy.
Pilates follows patterns of movement which work and strengthen your tummy and pelvic floor muscles, a segment of your body known as the stable core or base.
Your Pilates teacher will guide you on your posture, making you aware of how to hold your body. She'll take you through a series of positions and movements that are designed to build strength. You'll learn how to time your breathing with the exercises, and how to achieve relaxation. Pilates exercise can be useful during and after pregnancy. It targets the muscles which can weaken during pregnancy, in a way that supports rather than strains them.
The exercises you learn (and this goes for yoga, too) may help you with relaxation and breathing in labor when the time comes.
If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there's no reason to stop now. You will need to ease off on the heavier weights, now that you're pregnant. As long as you are careful, light-weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. Don't workout hard and gradually wind down your regime towards the end of your pregnancy.
A low-impact aerobics class gives you a regular time slot when you're guaranteed to get some exercise. If you sign up for a class for pregnant women, you'll get to make new friends, and can feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby.
You can get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Don't get carried away! Try not to leap, jump, twirl or change direction suddenly. If you sign up for a class for pregnant women, you can stay fit, and meet others just like you.