- 1. Instructions to Follow Before Exercising During Pregnancy
- 2. Exercises in Pregnancy for a Normal Delivery
- 3. Exercises for early pregnancy
- 5. Exercises for second trimester pregnancy
- 6. Exercises for third trimester of pregnancy
- 7. Who Should Not Exercise?
- 8. Summary
- Frequently asked questions ?
Every pregnant woman thinks of how can I increase her chance of normal delivery. When should I start exercising for normal delivery? How can I practice normal delivery? How can I open my cervix naturally? How can I avoid cesarean delivery? Well, these are the normal questions that arise in every pregnant women’s mind. How to achieve the result of normal delivery very much depends on the lifestyle you follow during pregnancy.
In this article, we are discussing what are the exercises and yoga you can do to increase the chances of normal delivery.
1. Instructions to Follow Before Exercising During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy is very helpful and also essential. But few instructions should be followed while exercise otherwise it may cause you harm more than benefit.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes – Avoid tight synthetic clothes that hamper the air circulation through the body.
- Convenient room temperature – The temperature of the room should be such that you are comfortable. It should neither be too cold nor too hot and humid.
- Stay hydrated – Drink an adequate amount of water to prevent dehydration. You can have lemonade or fresh fruit juice.
- Warm-up – Stretching exercises should be done before to warm up the body and the joints.
- Don’t exert – Don’t overdo the exercises. If you are tired after all-day work, don’t exercise. Just do a simple warm-up and relaxing meditation.
- Avoid standing for long periods. It will result in the stagnation of blood in the lower limbs. And you will feel swelling of the legs.
2. Exercises in Pregnancy for a Normal Delivery
Exercises are based on the trimester of pregnancy so that no harm is done to mother or baby. Exercises can help you prepare for an easy and normal delivery. In this section we will discuss what are the best exercise for early pregnancy?
Warm-up is necessary before any exercise to improve the circulation of blood to joints and muscles. This makes them flexible and reduces stiffness.
Following are the warm up exercises :-
- Head – tilt both sides, up and down, right and left, rotation clockwise and anticlockwise. All these a set of 10 repetitions.
- shoulder rotation -clockwise and anticlockwise. A set of 10 repetitions.
- Arm swing rotation – clockwise and anticlockwise. A set of 10 repetitions.
- wrist rotation – clockwise and anticlockwise. A set of 10 repetitions.
- ankle rotation – clockwise and anticlockwise. A set of 10 repetitions.
- hip rotation – clockwise and anticlockwise. A set of 10 repetitions
ALSO READ: BLEEDING IN EARLY PREGNANCY
3. Exercises for early pregnancy
Slow jogging with listening to light music can be very soothing
In this section we will discuss top 5 excises for early pregnancy in first trimester. The following exercises are recommended for people during early pregnancy:
3.1 Kegels exercise
Kegel exercises are pelvic floor exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the pelvic organs like uterus, vagina, bowel, and bladder.
These exercises also help strengthen the muscles and in turn control the bladder function and can reduce the risk of hemorrhoids.
For Keigels exercise, try to squeeze your pelvic muscles just like you are holding your urine.Hold this contraction for 10 sec and relax.Do around 10 sets of this exercise three times daily.
3.2 Walking and jogging
Walking during pregnancy first trimester : Walking is one of the most gentle exercise in pregnancy. You should wear comfortable walking shoes. It is ideal for pregnant people.
You can gently swing the arms while walking if comfortable. Walking in a calm, natural surrounding help promote well-being and relaxation of mind and body.
During the first trimester, you can take 30-minute walk five times per week, if you are comfortable.
If you were doing jogging before pregnancy,you can gradually transition from walking to jogging during the first trimester, as long as you are running on a flat surface.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable and well fitted footwear while walking or jogging.
3.3 Swimming and water aerobics
Swimming and water aerobics are low impact exercises. They do not pose any risk in pregnancy and help you to keep your body toned.
If you are doing swimming or water aerobics before pregnancy ,you can continue your routine.These are safe during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Yoga is a practice for both mind and body. It helps in peace of mind and de stress the body. Yoga and meditation also helps to develop positive attitude in your unborn baby.
Yoga helps in gentle stretching and strengthening of your body. It increases the breathing capacity of the lungs which can be very helpful during labor, such as controlled breathing and meditation.
Nowadays many yoga studios offer that antenatal yoga. Yoga should always be done under proper guidance. Also, consult your doctor before starting Yoga.
People who are doing yoga before pregnancy can often continue with their usual routine during early pregnancy.
3.5 Cycling with a stationary bike
Cycling on road is not a good option as it will have the risk of falling. So stationary cycles are the safe alternatives.
People who are starting cycling during pregnancy could try cycling for 10–15 minutes at a time. Later they may extend their sessions according to their comfort.
If you are doing cycling before pregnancy, then you can do it as usual during the first trimester.
4. To prevent complications, you should avoid:
- Exercises that have the risk of falling like gymnastics, on-road cycling,etc
- Exercises that put pressure on your lower tummy
- Cardio exercise that raises the heart rate and breathing rate
- Environment which is overheated
- High impact exercises
5. Exercises for second trimester pregnancy
In the second trimester of pregnancy,you have to monitor your body’s capacity to exercise. Accordingly you can increase or decrease the duration or intensity of workouts. You should not do any activity that disbalances you like skating, playing badminton or table tennis,basket ball,hiking.
In this trimester too you can do walking,swimming,stationary cycling and yoga.
In yoga now you have to avoid any backbends,lying on your stomach,jumps and/or any sudden moves.Be gentle while making yoga poses.Various poses which you can do in second trimester are:-
5.1 CHILD POSE
Child pose decreases the pressure of your tummy on your spine. Thus it relieves lower back pain. It also helps you to relax in between your exercises.
Modifications to be done in pregnancy- You can keep a pillow and lay your head on it. Keep your knees wide apart while bending down forwards to keep space for your belly. You can also lay your head on a pillow for extra support.
5.2 WARRIOR POSE
The warrior pose improves circulation in the body, and strengthens the ankle, knees, shoulder, arms, legs, and back. It energizes your body and opens your hips. It also relieves neck and back pain. This pose should not be done as pregnancy progresses as there will be difficulty in maintaining balance.
Modifications to be done in pregnancy-For support ,do this pose next to a wall.To reduce the intensity, decrease the bend in your front knee and shorten your stance of forward leg.You can place a chair under your front thigh.
5.3 CAT AND COW POSE
Cow pose : Exercise for normal delivery
The cat/cow stretches create spine lengthening and mobility in the spine. The poses are helpful in back strain and pain especially pain in tail bone.
Modification which can be done in pregnancy- There may be slight wrist or knee discomfort in the tabletop position. So you can put a cushion under your wrist and knee. Weight should be evenly distributed on all the four lims so that there is no strain on your wrist.
5.4 EASY POSE WITH TWIST (PARIVRAT SUKHASANA)
This is a meditation pose which calms the mind and remove anxiety and stress. It lengthens the spine and also is great for opening up the hips and reducing lower back pain.
Modifications during pregnancy– You can place cushions under your knees . You can take the support of the wall while sitting.In this pose you can also do slight rotation of your upper back both right and left side.
5.5 BUTTERFLY POSE
Butterfly Pose can be done throughout your pregnancy. It strengthens your pelvic floor muscles and increases the blood circulation in these muscles. This in turn helps in removing stiffness of pelvic joints and promotes relaxation.
Modifications during pregnancy– You can place cushions under your thighs or knees for support.Take the support of the wall for sitting.You can place a cushion behind your back.
5.6 TRIANGLE POSE (TRIKONASANA)
Triangle pose gives strength and flexibilty to your legs to support you through childbirth. It also strengthens your back muscles and spine, so prevents back pain caused by the weight of your baby bump.
5.7 TREE POSE (TAADASANA)
Tree pose is a standing balance pose. It is for strengthening of hip and pelvis muscles. Doing this improves your general balance and give stability to your ankles.
5.8 OTHER EXERCISES
- KATICHAKRAASANA OR STANDING SPINAL TWIST POSE
- KEIGELS EXERCISE
- STATIONARY CYCLING
6. Exercises for third trimester of pregnancy
Now we should know what exercise is safe during the third trimester. Walking and Keigels exercise should be continued through the third trimester also.
Some exercises are recommended which may be started after completion of 35 weeks.
Do these exercise only if you don't have a high risk pregnancy and till you feel comfortable. Talk to your doctor before starting these third trimester exercises.
This exercise helps in strengthening hip and pelvic floor muscles.Squats helps in decreasing the stiffness of these muscles ,hence proving wide range of movements around these joints.When performed correctly, squats help improve posture in pregnancy and assist with the birthing process.Squats also improves strength of muscles of legs which also helps in maintaining the posture in pregnancy.You can take the support of sofa if you feel disbalance.Keep your both hands on a chair or sofa and then do squats.
6.2 TAIL WAGGING EXERCISE
This exercise helps strengthen the lower back as well as the abdominal muscles. Thus provides relief from lower back ache and reduces pressure on lumbar spine.The exercise also works to improve your body’s flexibility and stability.
6.3 HALF DUCK WALK
This exercise improves tone and elasticity of pelvic muscles and gives strength to thigh muscles.This will lead to easy birth process.
7. Who Should Not Exercise?
- Incompetent cervix
- placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation
- Any lung disease or having shortness of breath
- antepartum haemorrhage/ bleeding in any trimester of pregnancy
- any leaking from vagina
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Incompetent cervix/cerclage
- History of premature delivery
- If having abdominal pain after exercise
Self care during pregnancy should be done and yoga is a part of it.But you should listen to your body,avoid yoga poses in whuch you are uncomfortable.Take a break in between yoga session .Dont over exert yourself.
Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise in pregnancy specially if you have a high risk pregnancy.
Even if you do all these exercises regularly, there is no 100% guarantee that you will have a normal vaginal delivery. Your doctor may decide on a cesarean if there is some complication or the labor does not progress as expected. So have faith in your doctor and talk to him.
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