While pregnancy may be a time for decorating the nursery and picking out the perfect baby name, it should also be a time for staying fit. Exercising with a baby bump does present a few challenges, but luckily, there are many pregnancy-approved fitness activities and workouts. Staying fit during your pregnancy has many perks and benefits, including building your stamina to make labor and delivery easier, helping to prevent gestational diabetes, and even helping you feel calm and happy despite those hormone-induced mood swings. Here are four great ways to stay fit with a baby bump:
Swimming is the ideal way to stay fit during pregnancy because it's a killer workout that's gentle on your body and puts no extra weight on your joints. Plus, unlike some other forms of exercise, swimming is low risk because you can't accidentally fall and land on your pregnant tummy while being buoyed by the water. In addition to swimming, you can check out water aerobics or water Zumba classes to mix things up and burn calories.
Prenatal yoga feels good and benefits your mind, body, and spirit. Prenatal yoga classes are usually gentle and easy to follow, so they're a great pregnancy workout even if you've never done yoga in the past. Yoga helps stretch, tone, and strengthen your entire body, including the pelvic and core muscles which are so important during childbirth. Poses and stretches can easily be adapted as your pregnancy progresses, to work with your bump and keep you comfortable. While prenatal yoga classes are always a great idea, you can also try out these exercises in the comfort of your own living room.
While some cardio workouts are not good to do with a baby bump, due to their high-impact nature, low-impact cardio workouts are a great idea. You will get the benefits of a cardio workout without the risk of injury or damage to your joints. YouTube has many free low-impact cardio workouts you can try at home, but you can also seek out low-impact dance classes or other cardio workouts at your favorite gym, dance center, or rec center. You may feel awkward at first dancing or jumping around with a baby bump, but just relax, let loose, and enjoy the way your body feels.
Taking a brisk walk during your lunch break or in the evening when you get home is a great way to get your blood pumping, get the endorphins flowing, and boost your overall fitness. Unlike running, walking (even at a fast pace) is low impact, so it won't hurt your knees or other joints.
If you are already a runner, your doctor may allow you to jog at a moderate pace during most of your pregnancy, but pregnancy is probably not the best time to take up a new running habit. Being pregnant is already hard enough on your joints, so just enjoy a nice long walk instead. Be sure to pay careful attention to your surroundings (watching out for potholes, etc.) and stick to smooth surfaces. Pregnancy can throw off your sense of balance, so it's a good idea to take these simple precautions.
It is easy to find ways to exercise safely and comfortably throughout your entire pregnancy. Just make sure to run your pregnancy workout plan by your doctor before you start anything new.