In pregnancy, many things change! Your routines may shift, your energy and emotions will fluctuate, your cravings and preferences may be different than normal, and the ways your body moves and feels will change. As you navigate your pregnancy, your relationship to exercise may also change. In this blog, we will share some tips and ideas for exercising during pregnancy.
*Please note that this blog is not a substitute for medical advice; Sweet Child O’ Mine is sharing general information about exercise and pregnancy. As always, please consult with your medical provider with any questions you may have regarding this information and/or your medical condition.
The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise can be beneficial to birthing people and their babies. Movement can help make space in your body, which can increase comfort. In other words, exercise can decrease aches and pains that can occur during pregnancy. It can also help make space for baby to get in an ideal position.
In general, joyful movement can act as a mood booster and can be a source of pleasure and play. On a super practical level, exercise can increase gastrointestinal function during pregnancy, aiding in regular bowel movements.
Additionally, labor is, well, just that– labor; thus, exercise can also prepare you for the journey of birthing your baby.
Tips for Exercising During Pregnancy
Exercise is also a time/place/activity during which you can listen to your body and grow your sense of trust in your strength and stamina. We want to note that during pregnancy, your body generates more of the hormone relaxin, which softens your ligaments. This is important, as it means there is space for baby, AND it can make you more prone to injuries.
All of this said, these are some of our top tips for making movement fun and safe during pregnancy:
- Stick to smaller movements. Mindful, slower, and smaller movements and exercises are more conducive to your changing, pregnant body.
- Wear good shoes. Do this always, but especially during pregnancy. Keep your body as supported and stable as possible as you engage in exercise.
- Stay cool. During pregnancy it can be harder for your body to regulate temperature, and it’s important to avoid overheating. Thus, take it slow, be mindful of the temperature, and tune in to how your body is feeling. Take breaks, use fans and cool packs, and hydrate.
- Stay hydrated. Yes, this one needs to be repeated. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Sometimes this means supplementing with electrolytes as well!
- Stay on or near the ground. Blood pressure changes in pregnancy can result in dizziness; thus we recommend avoiding places and positions where there’s a risk of falling in that case that you become dizzy and fall.
- Error on the side of caution. We recommend that you avoid higher risk and higher impact activities like bicycling on the road and horseback riding.
- Avoid side-stepping. In order to help avoid symphysis pubis disorder, do your best to avoid side-steeping when getting in and out of a vehicle or bathtub. Instead, turn your body such that you can step out in a forward direction.
- Listen to your body. Last, but not least, listen to what feels right and good and safe in your body. This might include more rigorous activities that get your heart rate up; just be sure to tune in and listen when your body needs a break.
Exercises We Love and Recommend
Given the tips above, we’d like to share some of the types of movement our clients have loved. Notice what feels joyful, soothing, energizing, and/or relaxing to you. Also notice that some forms of exercise will feel better than others at various parts of pregnancy, so change it up as needed.
- brisk walking
- prenatal yoga
- squatting (Ina Mae Gaskin says to do 300 squats a day during pregnancy!)
- pelvic rock aka cat cow pose
- play with an exercise or “birth ball”
- breath work
- “Daily Activities” from Spinning Babies
Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You
Your team of midwives is here to support you in tending to your body and mind during your pregnancy. Check in with your midwife if you have exercise-related questions. We are here for you!
If you are currently building your birth team, we would be honored to be a part of your team; reach out and let us know how we can support you!