Exercise while Pregnant

Many women want to begin an exercise routine when they become pregnant to avoid gaining too much weight. However, there is a better time to start a weight loss campaign.

If you have been exercising for a while and then become pregnant, it is recommended that you continue, only on a modified basis. Many studies find that ongoing exercise during pregnancy actually helps with the birth process.

Exercise can "ready" the woman's body for giving birth. It can help make the actual birth less stressful and painful during contractions. You'll want to find out how to time contractions before your due date. This will also cut down on stress.

Below are 4 ways that you can safely exercise while pregnant.

1. Swimming

Getting in the pool for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week is helpful for anyone, especially pregnant women. The water gives you a feeling of light and buoyancy. This is helpful when you are near your due date and in the beginning.

Water exercises and regular swimming help to take pressure off joints like your knees and hips. Exercising your hips will be helpful when it comes time to deliver your baby.

Another benefit is the risk of falling is none while in the pool. Be careful when entering and exiting the pool, though, as a fall is dangerous to both mother and child.

2. Squats

Performing squats when you are pregnant prepares your lower body for the delivery of your baby. Many doctors recommend squats during labor to help the baby descend into the birth canal.

To perform a proper squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. This is important for balance. Be sure to keep your back as straight as possible. Make sure your knees are locked and don't move forward. Slowly lower your body straight down towards the floor. Try to hold this position for the count of 15. You can increase the count as you become more limber.

Standing next to a chair or table might be best if you cannot lift yourself back up. And having an exercise partner for assistance and comfort.

3. Yoga

Many doctors recommend their pregnant patients practice gentle stretching and yoga. Yoga helps relax the muscles and open the lungs. This will aid your breathing during delivery and help reduce stress.

Follow a yoga exercise plan specifically designed for pregnancy so you will not strain yourself or put yourself in a position you can't recover from. There are many guided yoga tutorials online, or you can find a yoga class for pregnant women in your town. This latter idea would be helpful because you will meet other women who want to exercise to remain healthy during pregnancy.

4. Walking

Walking is one of the best and easiest exercises for pregnancy. It can be done at any time of the day or night and with little exertion. The only downside is the possibility of falls.

Be sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Many pregnant women experience swollen feet and ankles, and walking will help. Also, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

It is best to walk and do any of your exercises with a partner in case there is an emergency.