You are more likely to have a healthy birth if you try to maintain a healthy pregnancy. You need to take a lot of care by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with eating good food, doing exercises and being careful especially during the first weeks.
If you aim to establish good exercises for pregnancy during the first trimester, it will be easier for you as the right amount of exercise will depend on how active a person was before becoming pregnant.
Tips for Pregnancy
In a normal pregnancy, you will see your health care professional every month until about the sixth month, then every two weeks during the seventh and eighth months, and then weekly until labor.
1. First Trimester Weeks
It is a common thing for women to experience symptoms such as morning sickness, cramp, and indigestion during their first trimester. But you do not need to worry, these symptoms mean that your baby is getting strong and healthy. There are tons of ways to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
1.1 First Trimester Diet
To build your healthy pregnancy diet, choose the natural and nutrient-filled food in order to experience a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Choose fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit or 100-percent fruit juice. Include at least one citrus fruit. Limit fruit juice consumption to no more than 1 cup a day; juice is high in calories compared with whole fruit, and it does not deliver the fiber that whole fruit does.
To get the greatest range of nutrients, think of a rainbow as you fill your plate with vegetables. Choose vegetables that are dark green.
Select lean meats, poultry, fish, and eggs prepared with minimal amounts of fat. Beans like pinto, kidney, black, and garbanzo are also a good source of protein, as are lentils, split peas, nuts, and seeds.
1.1.4 Dairy Foods
Dairy foods provide the calcium that is essential for your baby in order to grow and in order to keep your bones and muscles strong. To get sufficient calcium, drink milk and eat yogurt and cheese. To save on calories and saturated fat, choose dairy products with less fat or no fat at all.
1.2 Workout to Avoid While Pregnant
Some activities will simply be too uncomfortable or tiring. It is important that women who are planning to exercise while they are pregnant are aware of what exercises they should avoid including:
- Exercises lying on your back after the first trimester of pregnancy should be avoided to reduce the risk of affecting blood flow to the fetus and hypotension from vena cava compression by the uterus.
- Exercises which involve lying on the stomach;
- Standing still for long periods of time is not recommended;
- Contact sports and high-impact sports such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball can risk abdominal trauma, excessive joint stress and falls;
- Scuba diving should be avoided as the pressure can result in birth defects and foetal decompression sickness;
- Any activities that increase the risk of falls should be avoided in order to reduce the risk of injury to you and your fetus. This includes sports such as gymnastics, horseback riding, and water skiing;
- Heavyweight training lifts that involve maximal isometric muscle contractions are thought to put too much stress on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system;
1.3 Benefits of Working out While Pregnant
The benefits of moving more during pregnancy begin immediately and last your whole life. Your baby will start reaping the benefits in utero, too. Here’s a laundry list of reasons to start exercising today, along with excuse-busting ways to overcome some common obstacles.
- Research shows you might put on 7 pounds less than pregnant women who don’t work out, while still staying within the healthy weight-gain range.
- One study found that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58 percent less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers.
- Pregnant women’s intestinal tracts often get backed up due to high progesterone levels and a growing uterus, but exercise, along with a high-fiber diet, keeps your digestive system humming.
- On days when lifting your remote control seems like a tall order, even a 10-minute walk can revive you.
- Compared with new moms who were inactive during pregnancy, those who exercised are more likely to socialize and enjoy hobbies and entertainment post-baby. They just seem to cope better with the demands of new motherhood.
2. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help in strengthening the muscles that provide the support to the uterus, bladder, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles when you are pregnant, you can get used to the ability to relax and control the muscles in order to prepare for labor and birth.
Kegel exercises are also highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, help these muscles return to a better and healthy state, and increase urinary control.
To do Kegels, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor and are practicing Kegel. While doing Kegel exercises, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises.
2.1 Neck Rotations
Relax your neck and shoulders. Drop your head forward. Slowly rotate your head to your right shoulder, back to the middle, and over the left shoulder. Complete four, slow rotations in each direction.
2.2 Shoulder Rotations
Bring your shoulders forward and then rotate them up toward your ears and then back down. Do four rotations in each direction.
Place your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up and extend your body forward and twist to the side, as if swimming the crawl stroke. Follow with the left arm. Do the sequence ten times.
3. Pilates Exercises
Pilates is a low-impact exercise. It combines flexibility and strength training with body and mind awareness, offering excellent benefits throughout pregnancy. It aims at improving your posture and movement. The movements focus on lower abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and back muscles, which are pivotal to your posture, strength, and balance. It can provide the following benefits:
3.1 Relieves Back Pain
Pilates trains the body so that all of the core muscles work with each other to support and stabilize the back. Part of developing effective core strength is to train the body to know when to release, as well as activate, its core muscles.
So while core strength is the catch-all term, we might say that the core coherence that Pilates teaches is essential for back health.
3.2 Builds Up Pelvic Floor
Pilates work on strengthening the hammock of the pelvic floor and supports the uterus, bladder, and bowel as your baby moves downwards with increasing weight. It will, therefore, prevent the risk of incontinence when you sneeze or a cough.
3.3 Controls Breathing
Breathing is a key element of Pilates, and it is useful during pregnancy and labor. A stiffness develops in the upper back as the bump grows and that could hinder deep breathing. Pilates improves flexibility in this region and eases the breathing pattern.
4. Yoga Poses during Pregnancy
Yoga can give you both physical and mental peace while you are pregnant. It’s a physical form of exercise that is also going to bring some mindfulness and awareness into how your body is changing on a daily level.
4.1 Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
- Come into a seated position with the buttocks on the floor, then cross the legs, placing the feet directly below the knees. Rest the hands on the knees or the lap with the palms facing up or down.
- Press the hip bones down into the floor and reach the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Drop the shoulders down and back, and press the chest towards the front of the room.
- Relax the face, jaw, and belly. Let the tongue rest on the roof of the mouth, just behind the front teeth.
- Breathe deeply through the nose down into the belly. Hold as long as comfortable.
4.2 Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)
- First get down to the floor on your hands and knees.
- Keep your spine flat so that it’s equal to the floor.
- Keep the position of your head in the center.
- Next step is to breathe out, at the same time try to round your back towards the roof. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Then breathe in and allow your tummy and spine to come down towards the floor. Push your spine downward as much as possible. Remain in the pose for 30 seconds.
- After that breathe in and return to your initial position.
- Repeat the process as much as you can.
4.3 Vajrasana (Kneeling Pose)
- Kneel down, stretching your lower legs backward and keeping them together. Your big toes should cross each other.
- Gently lower your body such that your buttocks are resting on your heels and your thighs on your calf muscles.
- Place your hands on your knees, and set your gaze forward with your head absolutely straight.
- Turn your attention to your breathing. Be fully aware of how you breathe and carefully observe as you inhale and exhale.
- You could close your eyes to concentrate on your breathing and to calm your mind.
- Try to stay in this position for a minimum of five to ten minutes.
5. Exercise Don’ts When You’re Pregnant
It’s great for you to take walks or swim, for instance. But some exercises are not a good idea when you’re pregnant. Knowing the difference can help keep you and your growing baby safe. You need to take special notes on these:
5.1 Don’t Hold Your Breath
While exercising, get into the habit of focusing on steady and deep breathing. Breathe in so that your stomach rises and falls, not just your chest. Often, mid-yoga pose, you may realize you’ve been holding your breath without realizing, which isn’t healthy when you are pregnant.
5.2 Don’t Lie On Your Back
It’s fine to lie on your back for a few minutes. But as your uterus gets heavier, it can cut off circulation to your legs and feet, as well as to your baby. Avoid yoga poses, crunches, and any other activities that call for lying on your back longer than just a couple of minutes.
5.3 Don’t Do High Impact Sports
Joints get looser during pregnancy, which can raise your risk of injury. Take a temporary vacation from high-impact aerobics and kickboxing.
5.4 Don’t Overdo It
Pushing to the point of exhaustion may increase athletic performance, but while you are pregnant, it can reduce the flow of blood to your uterus. During exercise, you should be able to talk for a few seconds without running out of breath. If you can’t do that, you are pushing way too hard.