One of the pieces of advice I most overlooked during my pregnancy is the importance of getting lots of prenatal exercise. In my first trimester, simply getting out of bed each morning was like a workout with the kind of fatigue I experienced, but a little physical activity went a long way. Here are some great examples of prenatal exercise that worked for me.
Prenatal yoga is one of the more popular ways to get some exercise while expecting. There are classes given at most yoga studios and some YMCAs, but I preferred to workout alone (and save some money), so I rented some videos to work through at home. I'll be honest: it seemed a bit lackluster during my first few weeks of pregnancy, but I really began to see the benefits toward the end of my third trimester. Yoga is a form of prenatal exercise that encourages relaxation, stretching of the muscles, and breathing techniques that are sure to help when it comes time to deliver that little bundle of joy, and I needed all the help I could get!
Walking was another easy way to incorporate some exercise into my pregnancy. This was also a great way for my husband to get involved and work out with me. I was told that early in the pregnancy, walking could be used to keep blood pressure low and to keep me healthy. Once full-term, walking could be used to bring on or encourage active labor. I was a big fan of walking the neighborhood during my pregnancy. It helped to take my mind off of things and made me feel as though I was actively doing something to keep my baby healthy.
Kegels, in my opinion, are probably one of the most important forms of prenatal exercise a woman can practice, yet they were one of the most difficult exercises for me to remember to do regularly. Kegeling is the tightening of the pelvic floor, or the muscle that cuts off urine mid-stream. By flexing and relaxing this muscle, I was told I could strengthen my pelvic floor, which aids in a smoother delivery and recovery after birth. My birth class instructor used to stress the importance of doing regular kegels, but for some reason I could never remember to do them. Looking back now, I wish I had practiced them a little more!
These are just three simple ways to get in a little prenatal exercise. I used a bit of all three, but I definitely could have been more regular with all of them. I will be sure to try a little harder next time!