A wise woman once said “Squat 300 times a day, you’re going to give birth quickly”. While that may not always be possible in our busy lives, Ina May Gaskin sure knew what she was talking about when she states that physical activity can influence the birth process.
There are two main things that can drastically change the outcome of your birth, health and social support. By keeping yourself active in all stages of pregnancy, you can boost your mood, improve sleep, and reduce pregnancy aches and pains. Exercising can help to prevent and possibly treat gestational diabetes and prepares you for childbirth by keeping your muscles strong and building endurance, and making it much easier to get back in shape postpartum.
It’s recommended that during pregnancy, at least 30 minutes a day of exercise is ideal.
Exercises During Pregnancy
Walking: Easy to do almost anywhere and keeps you fit without straining your knees and ankles.
Swimming: Safe and effective, swimming is ideal because it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides cardiovascular benefits, and allows expectant women to feel weightless despite the extra pounds of pregnancy.
Dancing: You can get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort of your own living room.
Yoga: Yoga can help maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little, if any, impact on your joints.
Stretching: Stretching is wonderful for keeping your body limber and relaxed and preventing muscle strain.
Weight training: Using slow and controlled movements with lighter weights and more repetitions will keep you toned and strengthen your muscles during pregnancy. If weight training is part of your regular exercise routine, it is safe to continue (with care provider approval).
*Always discuss physical activities with your care provider to make sure it is safe for you and your baby. Stop if you are feeling dizzy, overheating, vaginal bleeding occurs, blurred vision, fluid leaking or you feel any chest pain. Remember that you have relaxing hormones which will loosen your joints, making it easier to roll your ankle, injure your knee or move your hips out of balance.*