Staying healthy and fit when you are pregnant is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your baby. Even if you have morning sickness or other discomforts of early pregnancy, getting up and moving around would often help you feel better. However, you should rest when you need to rest.
Exercise will help you regulate weight gain, prepare you for bearing more weight, and get you in shape for childbirth. It’s good for the mood and sleeps too. You probably aren’t noticing many major bodily changes yet, other than feeling like you need a little more rest. The most important rule for first trimester exercises is to pay attention to those new limits on your energy and to avoid falls. Consult your doctor and make sure your doctor knows what exercise you are undertaking, and talk to her about anything new you start.
Grandma’s Tip: In India, many people have the misconception that exercising in the first trimester has risks of causing miscarriage. This is Ekdum untrue! My hair strands haven’t turned grey out of anywhere! My experience with so many women around me and doctors too suggest that exercising right from the first trimester actually reduces the risk of miscarriage and makes the mom and baby healthier, preparing you well in advance for labor by giving you the much-need stamina! So, drop your worries and do some low-impact exercises!
Always begin with a warm-up and be slow at first and gradually increase the pace. Now is a good time to add a low-impact exercise that you will be able to do as your pregnancy progresses. For example, if you go jogging three times a week now, substitute one session of that with low-impact water aerobics that can be easily performed in a pool.
This way, you would have a head start on water workouts if and when you give up jogging.
Where to start exercising from?
If you didn’t exercise regularly before you got pregnant, now is the time to get into a habit that would help you for a lifetime. Begin with a low level of exertion and work up to 30 minutes per day, 3 to 5 times per week. If possible, work with a trainer who has expertise in working out during pregnancy.
Here are some exercises for you to try out during the first trimester. Make sure to not exert yourself and stop immediately if you feel any pain.
Pilates can help you address two of the challenges you will experience during pregnancy: balance and lower back pain.
Pilates builds core muscles through a series of equipment and floor exercises. Your first sessions will focus on building strength. Later sessions challenge that strength and your balance. Avoid positions involving lower and mid back. Do not overexert during Pilates or belly exercises, as your abdominal muscles might temporarily separate.
How much of pilates?
A prenatal Pilates workout once per week will help you build strength and balance.
Welcome to one of the best exercises you can do for yourself during pregnancy and for the rest of your life. Yoga builds strength and balance, keeps muscles limber, reduces blood pressure, and teaches you breathing rhythms that will help you during the delivery. Long after childbirth, as you enter menopause, yoga can help prevent osteoporosis by building bone mineral density. If you were already practicing yoga before pregnancy, continue to do so during pregnancy, if you are still comfortable. Make sure to avoid the following exercises: Bending on the back. poses that twist the abdomen any position where your feet are over your head, such as headstands lying on your back.
How much yoga is fine during this stage?
Any amount of yoga is healthy, as long as you are not overexerting by pulling muscles or getting overheated. A half hour of yoga per day is great, and you can also opt for doing it for 30 minutes four to five times a week.
Walking is the best and safest exercise, recommended for all expecting mothers. An easy stroll gets you moving, and you can build upper body strength by swinging your arms. Get your heart pumping by picking up the pace.
How much walking?
If you aren’t already an exercise walker, start with 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 times a week. Work up slowly to 30 minutes a day. To help prevent falling, stay off any broken sidewalks or rocky pathways.
Swimming and water aerobics
The pool is your friend during pregnancy. The water is soothing, the exercise is low-impact, and you won’t fall over. If you’re already doing water exercise, there’s no need to change your routine. Just like in all exercise, avoid twisting your middle too much, and pay attention to your energy limits. If you get tired, it’s time to not push yourself further —it’s time to get out of the pool. If you’re starting water exercise during pregnancy, ask a swim coach or a trainer at your pool about safe routines.
How much swimming?
You can swim up to three to five times a week for half an hour every session.
Though running is also considered a good exercise, it is better to avoid as your pregnancy progresses. Running on flat surface or treadmill with handlebars is harmless, but do not overdo it. Stop if you feel any pain.
Lifting weights will help build overall strength and also help carry the pregnancy weight. Be cautious while lifting weights and take the help of a trainer.
How much of weights?
Two times per week with moderate to low-intensity training is fine.
Stationary bikes are a safe form of exercise as they have no chances of falls. Stationary bikes are low-impact and get your heart moving, without the dangers of the road. Follow the pace that feels right for you. As your pregnancy progresses, adjust the handlebars of the bikes and slow down your pace.
How much of stationary bikes?
Two to three sessions of half an hour per week are okay.
Safety for a workout during pregnancy
It is very important to be safe during pregnancy. You might not look pregnant during the first trimester but make sure your exercise coach and friends are aware of your pregnancy.
Warm up before you start exercising. For the last five minutes of a 30-minutes workout, switch to slower exercise and stretch any tight muscles. You should take a break from exercising if you feel nauseated, get too hot, feel dehydrated, experience any vaginal discharge, bleeding, or abdominal or pelvic pain.
Hydrate regularly during pregnancy, whether you’re exercising or not. Eat quality snacks after exercising. There isn’t any recommendation for the ideal heart rate during first-trimester exercise, but a good rule of thumb is that you should work at a pace where you are able to carry on a normal conversation.
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. If going to the gym isn’t for you, don’t beat yourself up about it. Go dancing with friends or splash around in the pool. A little bit of exercise is better than nothing at all.