When you are pregnant, it is essential that you exercise properly, in order to keep your body as fit and supple as possible. Appropriate exercises for pregnant women will help you to strengthen your core muscles and will make it easier for you to get back in shape after you have had your baby. Not only will strengthening these muscles help you to cope with all of the extra weight that you are carrying with you, but it can also help you during childbirth. Whilst some exercises are positively recommended during pregnancy, some specific exercises should be avoided, as they could do more harm than good.
Prenatal yoga is one of the most widely recommended exercises for pregnant women. Prenatal classes are specifically designed with the needs of pregnant women in mind. If you choose to attend a class, you will be taught how to do the recommended stretches safely and you will be taught which classic yoga stretches it is best to avoid. As well as strengthening your core muscles, yoga can also help with breathing and relaxation techniques which will be beneficial during the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth. Take extreme care whilst doing any exercises that requires you to lie flat on your back, because the weight of your bump (after 16 weeks) can press on a main artery and you may end up feeling faint.
Swimming and walking are good exercises for pregnant women, because they can both be done gently whilst still being beneficial. Walking is a good exercise because it can be easily incorporated into the daily routine and gentle walking does not require any specialist equipment. Swimming is a good way to exercise whilst also taking some of the weight off of your feet. The water will help to support some of your increased body weight. Some pools provide prenatal classes with special, qualified instructors.
Always warm up before doing any sort of exercise and do cool down exercises once you have finished, to prevent any pulled muscles. If possible, you should try to exercise every day for a short period or aim for about four 30 minute sessions over the course of a week. When doing exercises for pregnant women, you should still be able to conduct a conversation with those around you. If you are unable to talk due to breathlessness, then you may be exercising too strenuously. If this is the case, you should reduce the pace slightly.
Some forms of exercise are not suitable exercises for pregnant women. Contact sports such as kickboxing, judo or karate are not advised, because the risk of being hit is too great. Caution is also advised if taking part in sports where falling is possible, such as gymnastics, downhill skiing or horse riding. Fast-paced sports where contact is frequent, such as squash should also be avoided. Extreme sports, such as scuba diving will put your baby at risk, because there are no possible safety precautions for your unborn child, which may end up suffering from gas embolism or decompression sickness.