Not only is exercising during pregnancy good for both you and your baby, it also can help you bounce back faster after you give birth. Many studies have shown that by consistently doing strength and cardiovascular training at a mild or moderate intensity level, you may reduce your risks for gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure), constipation, leg cramps and the like.
You'll also have more energy and stamina, which are invaluable during labor (not to mention afterward). As a bonus, you'll have a head start on getting your body back.
"With their physician's clearance, all pregnant women should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on all or most of the days of the week, even if you are fairly new to exercise," says Renee Jeffreys, MSc, co-author of Fit to Deliver: An Innovative Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Program.
Jeffreys and her team of prenatal experts developed this safe and effective at-home strength training and cardio program. A routine like this will strengthen your muscles and increase circulation and blood flow to both you and your baby. It also will improve your posture and help prevent the backaches commonly associated with a growing belly. (Before you begin this or any exercise program, consult your physician.)
Do your favorite light cardio exercise or march in place for 5 to10 minutes. Then, roll your shoulders forward and back, first clockwise then counterclockwise, 5 times each way.
Perks: Strengthens legs, buttocks, pelvic floor and biceps.
Perks: Strengthens legs, buttocks, shoulders and pelvic floor.
Perks: Strengthens upper back, rear shoulders, abs and pelvic floor.
Perks: Strengthens chest, triceps, front shoulders, abs and pelvic floor.
Perks: Strengthens back, shoulders, buttocks, abs and pelvic floor.
Stretch each major muscle group, breathing deeply and holding each stretch for 30 seconds, without bouncing.