Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your body. You’ll gain weight, you may feel nauseated by the slightest smells or from eating your favorite foods, and you’ll experience muscle aches and soreness. Exercising during pregnancy is a great way to improve the way you feel, both emotionally and physically, according to Kids Health.org. You may be surprised at the range and types of exercises you can perform, even during the second and third trimesters. Check with your doctor before exercising, especially if you are trying something new.
If you lift weights during pregnancy, you’ll build up stamina and endurance, which you’ll need when it comes time to deliver the baby, according to Baby Center.com. While you should avoid bench pressing 200 lbs. during your pregnancy, you can lift lighter weights, and perform more repetitions to make up for the lack of weight. You should always sit while lifting weights, especially from the second trimester on, advises Baby Center.com. Standing still while lifting weights may cause blood to pool in your legs, which can make you dizzy. You may want to use a weight machine instead of hand or free weights, which you could drop.
During pregnancy, you should avoid doing sit-ups and crunches that require you to lie flat on your back, but you should still fit some abdominal exercises into your routine. It’s a myth that stomach exercises are risky during pregnancy, according to WebMD. Working on your abs while pregnant can actually make your delivery go more smoothly and will help you recover from labor and pregnancy more quickly. Try pelvic tilts by getting on all fours with your back flat. Breathe in as you curl your spine and tuck your tail bone and chin under. Breathe out as you straighten your back again.
Surprisingly, Pilates is a great exercise to continue into pregnancy, as it builds and strengthens your core, which will help ease your labor. What to Expect.com recommends trying Pilates towards the end of the second trimester of pregnancy. Look for a prenatal Pilates class or let your instructor know that you are pregnant. You’ll want to avoid Pilates exercises that require lying on your back, such as the 100, or learn modifications for them.
Aerobic exercises can be done safely during pregnancy. Try a low-impact aerobics class or a water aerobics class to keep your heart and lungs in top shape. You should steer clear of moves that require a lot of exertion or that could cause you to lose your balance, such as kicking your legs high into the air or quickly running in place. You may want to sign up for a prenatal aerobics class or look for workout DVDs designed specifically for pregnant women.