Are you overwhelmed by the pregnancy news and cannot wait to welcome the little bundle of joy in your lives? Take a breath; you have just started the journey, and there are several challenges you will need to face before childbirth.
It would be best if you coped with the physical, mental, and hormonal changes; hence, maintaining a healthy routine is a requisite. Most may neglect it quickly, but safe cardio exercises for pregnant women can help achieve a well-balanced lifestyle, which would alleviate happiness and smoothen the pregnancy experience.
You may have been working out for a long time, but once you have the good news, you may need clarification about the changes you need to make in your workout routine. Indeed, as you progress with the pregnancy, managing a rigorous exercise regime will become tough.
Do not worry we have got you covered. Today, let us thoroughly discuss the pregnancy cardio workouts according to trimesters so that you stay safe and healthy.
Why Do Cardio Exercises Matter During Pregnancy?
If you plan to exercise to maintain your silhouette, it is time to change this perspective, as from now on, you need to focus on staying healthy and strengthening muscles to prepare for childbirth. Remember, you will gain weight no matter what, but gaining healthy weight and allowing the baby to grow well is the ultimate motive of safe cardio during pregnancy. Below are some benefits of staying active, and believe us, you are going to love your exercise after understanding these:
- Avoid preterm or caesarean birth: Staying active throughout pregnancy would help you deliver the baby at full-term normally, which means your baby will also be healthy. So, preparing your body for birth by exercising and cardio is crucial.
- Eliminate chances of hypertension and gestational diabetes: An increasing number of pregnant women are reported to suffer from gestational diabetes and hypertension due to inactivity, hormonal imbalance, and excessive weight gain. When you exercise right, you eliminate such issues with the least effort.
- Reduce stress and back pain: Your tummy will grow, putting pressure on the lower back, and you may start complaining of discomfort soon. Pregnant women's cardio exercises focus on strengthening the back muscles and minimizing pain.
- Manage swelling of legs and feet: Most pregnant women suffer from swelling in the legs, which is painful and stressful; however, if you exercise continuously, this problem can be managed with ease.
- Better postpartum recovery: If you do the right exercises and cardio during pregnancy, your body recovers quickly post-delivery since all your vitals are in place and well-managed.
Despite the immense benefits of cardio during pregnancy, very few women consider it a crucial part of pregnancy in India.
A recent study has stated that expectant moms do recognize the importance of exercising during pregnancy, but most of them prefer yoga over cardio. Sadly, only 7% of the mothers actually even practice yoga, so clearly, the percentage of women doing cardio is negligible.
Understanding Why Indian Women Avoid Cardio During Pregnancy
For ages, there has been a notion that cardio is unnecessary for pregnant women and that household work is enough to have a smooth pregnancy and childbirth. This mindset poses a hurdle in adopting a healthy workout routine. The belief has been passed on for generations, and despite changing times, it is deeply rooted in our cultural beliefs.
People advise expectant moms to stay away from cardio, but the truth is absolutely different. Women concerned about the ill-effects of exercising should understand that if they consult an expert, he will modify the exercise routine as per their changing body needs.
Most cardio exercises for pregnancy consist of low-impact workouts that do not over-stress the mind and body. Such a routine has no bad impact on the child's growth as you stay healthy and happy after exercising.
Timely and Safe Cardio Exercises for Pregnant Women
1) The First Trimester
The first trimester will be a physical and emotional roller coaster as you will be elated, concerned and anxious about the new responsibility. If you have a normal pregnancy, you can follow a regular prenatal exercise routine, including cardiovascular and strength training. Below are some cardio exercises that you can consider according to your endurance:
- Stationary cycling
In muscle and strength training, you should focus on spinal mobility and developing abdominal pelvic muscles. Even though the exercises stated above are completely safe, we recommend you consult a healthcare professional and discuss your lifestyle and daily routine so that he can suggest appropriate exercises for the best benefits.
2) The Second Trimester
When you step into the second trimester, you are well-acquainted with the changes that pregnancy is about to bring in the coming months. Usually, most women feel that this is the best trimester of the whole journey as they have overcome the morning sickness, nausea and lethargy.
- Prenatal yoga
- Strength training
- Stationary bike
In the second trimester, your uterus is getting bigger, and hence, you need to be vigilant. Avoid high-impact exercises like running, jumping, dancing, etc., since these may exhaust you immensely. Focus on core muscles with low-impact circuit training and maintain a nutritious diet. Consult your fitness coach to modify the workout in case the workout is tiring for you. Remember that proper warm-up and stretching at the beginning of the workout and cool-downs at the end are crucial to maximize the benefits.
3) The Third Trimester
As the third semester begins, it is time to slow down and focus on low-impact exercises since high-intensity workouts may lead to breathlessness, meaning a lack of oxygen in your body or pain that may stress your joints or muscles. Here are some basic cardio activities you can opt for:
- Short walks
- Prenatal yoga, including meditation
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Low-intensity muscle exercises
During this trimester, your body balance is a little off and hence, you should be very careful during any exercise. Avoid lying down on the back for extended hours, and do not perform intensive pelvic exercises.
You understand your body well; therefore, whenever you feel stressed, communicate with the wellness coach and take precautions to avoid any mishap. Dedicate some time to meditation so that you feel relaxed.
Safety Tips that Every Pregnant Women Must Know
So, we deciphered the essential cardio exercises for pregnant women. Now, we would like to highlight some safety tips you should follow throughout the pregnancy to eliminate all risks and make the best out of the fitness regime.
- Do not start away without consulting your doctor, as your knowledge about pregnancy and associated risks is limited. Once the doctor gives the go-ahead, consult a fitness expert and plan your exercise and diet carefully.
- Whenever you start exercising, avoid doing cardio straight away as it may increase your heartbeat abruptly and affect your oxygen levels. Warm up and stretch properly, preparing your body for the workout.
- Keep yourself always hydrated, as water plays a significant and vital role in a healthy pregnancy.
- Maintain a well-nourished diet plan since your baby depends on you for the nutrition. You should eat a balanced diet containing all essential nutrients that would be passed on to your growing angel in the tummy.
- Do not exert and listen to your body. Every woman has a different pregnancy experience, and therefore, you should recognize your body cues and perform tasks without over-stressing. You are exercising to stay happy and healthy, but if you are not able to achieve the desired goal, better reconsider the routine and modify it.
- Take breaks during workouts so that your body does not overheat and feel pain.
You need to immediately stop working out if you face any of the below issues:
- Weakness or lethargy.
- Chest pain or breathlessness.
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking fluid.
- Pain or swelling in any body part.
- Painful contractions in the uterus.
- No baby movement for a long duration.
Consult your doctor without any delay and discuss your concerns to get the best solution. Once you are able to manage the problem, resume exercising only after a thorough discussion with the healthcare expert.
Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to stay active and sustain a healthy lifestyle to ensure the baby’s proper growth and ease of delivery. It would help if you opted for a safe workout regime according to your trimester and health condition.
Make a wise decision only after a thorough discussion with your doctor, who will help you understand the aspects of cardio exercises and gain the best physical and mental wellness for a blissful pregnancy.