Body-beautiful Pregnancy Exercises to Control Weight

When you're into your second trimester, your abdomen will start to swell, body weight will increase and movement will become a little slow. If you start doing pregnancy exercises now, you'll be able to control your weight and let your body be more flexible. Pregnancy exercises also help in ensuring a smooth childbirth if you've been diligently keeping up with the exercise routine.

The Essentials of Pregnancy Exercises

Exercise to reduce discomfort during pregnancy and childbirth

As there are hormonal changes during pregnancy, you may become hyper-sensitive as your uterus continues to become enlarged. You'll experience discomfort such as lower back pain and leg swellings. To minimize such discomfort, it's necessary to keep your spirits up and engage in suitable exercises.

Pregnancy exercises not only introduce peace into pregnancy life and help you prepare for childbirth, they also train up muscles, increase flexibility, develop body functions to their optimal capacities and let you master balance. Among vertebrates, only upright-walking human beings develop imbalance between the spine and pelvis. Exercise during pregnancy can help rectify this imbalance and strengthen muscles. These exercises are not only beneficial during pregnancy; they're also very useful in eliminating fatigue on normal days.

Three times a week

Pregnant exercises should be done at least three times a week for them to be effective. Avoid exercising on floors that are too hard. Exercising on wooden floors or laying a padding on tatami mats is better. The best time to exercise is in the morning after you wake up, one hour after a meal, or after peeing or defecation before bedtime. Pregnant women who are anemic, diabetic, have toxemia (a pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine), or are in danger of miscarriages or premature deliveries should not be exercising.

Start slow and do not rush

Before exercising, concentrate on your breathing for 5-7 minutes to let body become soft for exercising preparation. Ensure that you unwind and do body balancing exercises first before moving on to breathing exercises and simple movements.

Exercises which help prepare for delivery in the later stages of pregnancy should focus on increasing pelvic strength. When you begin your pregnancy exercising routine, start from the simple movements. Only when you're starting to be familiar with the routine, then you can move on to more sophisticated movements. Don't force it when you can't perform a certain movement. Be patient and spend a little time practicing it until you're more familiar with it. If you experience pain half-way through your exercise, stop immediately and rest. It's better not to get so worked up until you start perspiring and are short of breath.

Schedule for Doing Pregnancy Exercises on Time

First trimester

(pregnant for 2-3 months)

Second trimester

(pregnant for 4-7 months)

Third trimester

(pregnant for 8-10 months)

Beginning: avoid forced movements, concentrate on breathing and resting

Preparation movements: lower back stretches, lie down and move limbs, sit quietly and breathe, lie down and breathe

Basic movements: rotate ankles, leg exercises, open up elbows, arm exercises, waist lifts, leg lifts

Finishing movements:

shoulders and chest exercises, palm press using arm strength, sit quietly and breathe

When you become proficient: start with easy movements during the first half of the second trimester, and then gradually increase the levels of difficulty. Postures shouldn't be too forced and should be done within bearable threshold. Good posture should be done.

Preparation movements: lower back stretches, lie down and move your limbs, sit quietly and breathe, body twists, twisting and rotating exercises, rotate ankles, inner thigh muscle exercises, inner leg muscle exercises, legs lifts, shoulders and chest exercises, spread open elbows.

Basic movements: forward bend, cat pose, plough pose, grasshopper pose, mill churning pose, butterfly pose, fish pose, bring palms and soles together, tense buttocks, back pushing against wall, body and abdomen lifts, knees bends, abdominal strength exercises, standing up exercises.

Finishing movements:

waist lifts, lie down and breathe.

Nearing childbirth: as the date of childbirth approaches, you should train for strength and do exercises that help expand the pelvis.

Preparation movements: lower back stretches, lie down and move limbs, inner thigh muscle exercises, inner leg muscle exercises, arm exercises, spread open elbows.

Basic movements: forward bend, cat pose, grasshopper pose, exercises that are good for the pelvis, bring palms and soles together, abdominal strength exercises, standing up exercises, strengthen buttocks and thigh muscles, twisting and rotating exercises, sit in a curled-up position.

Finishing movements:

lower back stretches, lie down and breathe.

Pregnancy Exercises: Put Knowledge into Practice

Resting exercises

Pregnant exercises can help relieve tension in the body. You may also do these resting exercises after a tiring workday to rid your body of exhaustion.

Stretch your lower back

Straighten both arms above head and place them flat on the floor. While inhaling, bend your left knee. While exhaling, turn your knee to the right, touching the floor on your right side as much as possible. At this time, you've to turn and twist your body in the opposite direction as much as possible. Release the twisted pose when inhaling and repeat the exercise on the other knee. Repeat the movements between two and three times.

Exercise your limbs while lying down

Lie flat on the floor, raise and randomly shake your hands and feet. Put down your limbs when you're tired. Repeating this movement can alleviate stress. Still lying down, spread your limbs a little, close your eyes, inhale deeply through the nose and exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat this exercise five times within one minute. After that, place your legs on the sofa and breathe easily.

Breathing exercises

Abdominal breathing can provide the fetus with an abundant supply of oxygen and promote blood circulation. It is when the abdomen seems to retract while breathing. If you find it tough to do abdominal breathing, then use your normal way of breathing.

Sit quietly and breathe

Sit cross-legged on the bed with both hands in front and back straightened. Bring your focus to the lower abdomen, inhaling deeply through the nose, and then exhaling with a long breath. The length of inhalation and exhalation should be 1:1.

Stress-relieving exercises

Before beginning the actual routine, you should do a full-body warm-up. Do stress-relieving exercises first to let blood circulate freely in the legs, arms, waist, shoulders and chest.

Leg lifts

Lie flat and bend both knees. Inhale deeply while you lift and put down one leg. Repeat the same movement on the other leg.

Palm press

Sit on the bed with your back straightened. Bring both palms together and push against each other for about five seconds.

Shoulders and chest exercise

Sit on the bed. Suddenly lift your shoulders for about five seconds. Holding both hands behind your back, tilt back your head for about five seconds. Thrust your chest out as much as possible, hold for five seconds and then return to the original position. Then shrink your chest as much possible, hold for five seconds before resuming the original position.

Waist lift

Lie with your back on the floor and both knees bent and slightly apart. Holding ankles with both hands, lift your waist off the floor while inhaling. You should put both knees together to tighten the pelvis. When you're done exhaling, lower your back to the floor. Repeat exercise twice.

Waist twist

Lie down with both knees slightly apart. Cross your hands and put them behind the head. While inhaling and exhaling, lower both knees to one side with your head turned in the opposite direction. Hold the lowered knees pose for five seconds before resuming to the original position. Repeat the exercise in the other direction. Do this exercise 10 times.

Butterfly pose

Sit down with soles together, clasp your hands around the soles. Coordinating your breath and movement, let out a 'ha!' sound in exhalation and touch the floor with the side of your left knee before resuming to the original position. Then repeat the exercise on the right knee. Do this exercise 10 times.

Strength-building exercises

While cultivating strength, these exercises also let the body become more flexible – a huge advantage during childbirth. These exercises strengthen the abdomen, waist and leg muscles as well as open up the pelvis, paving the way for a smooth childbirth.

Body twist

With hands on the floor and sitting with both legs straight, bend your right bent leg and cross it over the left leg. Use your left hand to grab your right knee and twist your body to the right. Maintain the pose while looking back for 10-20 seconds. Repeat the body twist on the other side.

Half squat

Place both legs slightly wider than shoulders width and squat down slowly while doing your best to keep both legs together. Half squat for one to two minutes before standing up to rest.

That’s it for the pregnancy exercises that a pregnant woman can perform. Make sure to consult your doctor firsts.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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