They used to say no woman should be working out when they’re pregnant because they could end up doing more harm than good to themselves. Well this was once the doctrine but nowadays, that has disappeared. It’s okay and even good for your body to get a workout even when you’re pregnant. More and more studies are showing that pregnant women are not dainty and delicate creatures. The added weight is new and a little strange to get used to, but you can still do many things that you could do when you were not pregnant. In fact, pregnant women often join crossfit classes and even tournaments. It’s common to see a few pregnant women at events, squatting, running, jumping and weightlifting. Our bodies are incredibly strong and able to adapt to just about any situation when we really need them to. So here are a few ways you can prepare your body to get ready for a birth. Strengthening certain muscles and helping your health and stamina are the three main things to be concerned about improving.
Dog leg raises and sun god
Think about what will happen in the delivery room when it comes time to push the baby out. You’ll need to be in a position where your pelvis is elevated and your back is straight as it can be. This gives the baby a great channel and working angle to slowly leave the womb safely. However this requires your body to be comfortable in a slightly unnatural position for many hours. Hence why you should work on your dog leg raises. It’s quite easy to do and all you need is a yoga mat. Get on all fours and steady yourself on the mat. Look straight ahead which will open up your airway instead of looking down which would make it difficult. Then you simply raise your leg upward towards the back. This extends your abs and also tightens your lower back muscles. This will also help lessen strain and cramps in your legs.
The sun god position is quite similar but instead of extending your legs you are pushing your hands forward and touching your head to the floor. Again, get on all fours. Then you will slowly work your hands further and further away from you on the mat. You’ll do this until your head is touching the mat and your upper back is being stretched along with your arms. This opens up your chest, stretches your shoulders and shoulder blades. It’s a very simple stretching exercise when you’re not pregnant but when you are, it is challenging. However it will stretch your triceps and allow more blood flow to reach the upper body which is great for stamina and your breathing.
Full body stretch workout
Snow angels are an awesome exercise for warming up the body. Whether you’re going to be doing some track and field workouts or some heavy lifting in the gym, snow angels work every part of the body and are excellent for readying the body. However they’re also great for blood circulation when you’re pregnant. Your blood pressure can become high when you’re pregnant because your body is heavier, you’re also supplying blood to the baby and you’re just living a more sedentary lifestyle. They are also easily done when you’re lying down as well.
This is an exercise you can do at any stage of pregnancy, even when you’re about to give birth. You can do this in between contractions as well to help stimulate muscles in your lower body to help the baby further down into the position it needs to be. Take a look at this guide on how to time contractions includes all you need to know. They are normally going to occur every 5 minutes and then slowly become shorter and shorter intervals. In the beginning when you are having your first couple of contractions you can lie down on the floor, preferably on a yoga mat, and do snow angel motions on the ground. Remember to breathe deeply and do them slowly. This physical motion can actually help relax your muscles that are tense during contractions. It might also result in feeling less pain.
Thrusting towards control
Many workouts that are done while pregnant are done while on the floor for safety. However it’s also because when you’re lying down, you take on the position you’ll be when you’re in the hospital. One of the best exercises is the kegel bridge. This is when you’re lying down and you are thrusting your pelvis upward while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Your shoulders and head should also be on the ground. The pelvis should be elevated into the air and held for a few seconds or for as long as you can. You’ll have to work your way up to holding it for a few seconds or much longer. This is because the pelvis muscles are weaker when pregnant unless they are exercised.
However the reason why you should do kegel exercises is because it will help later on in the pregnancy. To avoid embarrassing moments like not having control of your bladder and therefore involuntary urination then you should work on your abs, lumbar spine and pelvis muscles becoming stronger. The kegel exercise are going to allow your body to get back the full range of movement again. Everything from your knees, ankles, legs and pelvis will be worked out. This is all done on the floor, so you can take breaks in between when you get tired. This exercise stretches your muscles but also your ligaments and joints which will be crucial when it comes to giving birth.
There are always some exercises you should avoid doing when you’re pregnant but at the same time you shouldn’t go completely cold turkey. These workouts will strengthen your core, stretch the lower part of your body as well as your upper body for maximum blood flow and range of movement. The kegel exercises and dog leg raises are particularly useful when it comes to late pregnancy workouts.