Some of the best advice that Ob-gyns and midwives are now offering pregnant women is to stay fit during the pregnancy. Some women may have already been in pretty good shape before they got pregnant and others may not have been. Moderate exercising throughout pregnancy can strengthen muscles and often can mean an easier labor.
5 great exercises to tone leg and belly muscles during pregnancy are:
1) Walking, jogging, or running
If you are already physically fit, you may want to consider jogging or running outside. If you are just beginning to exercise, start out by walking around your neighborhood. You can gradually build up your resistance and may even begin to jog a little. Getting outside a little will not only help you stay fit, but can also be a great mood enhancer. Be sure to ask your doctor about how much and how often. Also, wear some comfortable walking shoes.
2) Sitting Crunches
Doing crunches on a chair is a great way to strengthen stomach muscles in a pregnant woman. It is a lot safer then laying on a floor which could strain the back or stomach. Sit on a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your ears and crunch forward from the rib area. Hold for a few seconds, then sit back up straight. You can start out doing a few of these a day. You may also want to discuss the intensity and frequency with your doctor.
Swimming can be a great way to cool off and get a little exercise. Since your body feels weightless, it is a great way to exercise without causing strain on the knees or other joints. Look for swim classes at your local gym. They may even have some specifically for pregnant women.
If you were an avid biker before, you can still continue to do so while pregnant. It can be a great form of exercise. However, biking accidents can happen quick and easily. If you have never really biked or seem more accident prone, you may want to stick with walking.
Yoga can be a great form of exercise for anyone from beginners to the experienced. Consider signing up for a beginners class or even one that is designed for pregnant women. Yoga can exercise your mind and body in a gentle way. It can also make you more in tune with your breathing which will be important during labor. You may want to talk to your doctor about certain yoga poses to avoid.
Staying fit during your pregnancy can perhaps make the biggest difference in your symptoms. You may have more energy and experience less morning sickness. You may also have a shorter, easier labor because your leg and stomach muscles are more toned. It is always a good idea to discuss any workout routine with your doctor who can suggest alterations. If you ever feel tired or have pain during a workout, stop and rest.
After your baby is born, many women stress about getting back to pre-baby shape. Many of these same exercises, especially Yoga, can help.