10 Exercises for Pregnant Women

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Having a baby is one of the most exciting experiences in lifetime. You feel nervous, confused, and afraid of the changes that you and your partner will go through. However, relax, slowly gradually with the help of your relatives, friends you can manage this phase happily and enjoy all the trimesters. It is very important to be aware of all do’s and don’ts during pregnancy. Exercise is one of the most important aspects during pregnancy. You should do regular exercises until there are some major complications. Exercises during pregnancy have many positive effects on you and your baby. Therefore, here are 10 exercises for pregnant women.

TRIMESTER 1 ( 1 – 12 WEEKS)

So many changes have started happening in your body. You notice weight gain, nausea, gets fatigue early, emotional, irritated, breast tenderness and much more. Relax, all this is just temporary phase of your life.

Start with the exercises after consulting your gynae and under supervision of your physiotherapist.

Lower Body Exercises

1. Calf Stretching             ExercisesforPregnantWomen_1

  • Stand facing the wall with your feet side by side in a comfortable position. Place both of your hands against the wall at shoulder level in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. This is your starting position.
  • Step back with your right foot. Gently lower, your heel to the floor with your toes pointing forward and your left knee bent up to 90 degrees. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your calf.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Return to your starting position.
  • Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.
  • Do it for at least three times.

2. QUADRICEPS STRETCH

  • Stand facing a wall with both feet on the ground in a comfortable position. This is your starting position.
  • Grab your ankle and gently bend your knee. Now pull your leg back without moving the body forward. The leg should be bend in line to hip. You should feel a gentle stretch in the front part of your thigh.
  • Hold it for 10 seconds. Return to your starting position.
  • Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.
  • Do it for at least three times.

 

3. ARM STRETCHING

  • Stand up straight with shoulder width apart.
  • Lift your left arm to your left shoulder height, and move it toward the right.
  • keep your right hand under your left arm and push it gently toward your chest
  • You should feel a stretch on the side of your left arm.
  • Hold it for 10 counts
  • Do the stretch with your other arm also.
  • Repeat this for 2-3 times.

4. TRICEPS STRETCHING

  • Stand shoulder width apart and extend one arm close to ear and then bend the elbow to 90 degrees
  • Reach with your other arm, above and behind your head, and push your pointed elbow back until you feel a stretch behind your arm.
  • Hold it for 10 seconds.
  • Do it for other arm also.
  • Repeat it for three times.

Do regular walking for 40-45 minutes twice a day apart from these exercises.

TRIMESTER 2 ( 13-28 WEEKS)

This is flourishing and blossoming phase. There is less nausea, baby bump starts appearing gradually, pain in certain joints of the body, frequent urination in a day, and breathlessness during exercise and feeling of off balance.

TRIMESTER 3 ( 29- 40 WEEKS)

Changes are all same as there is trimester 3. Fatigue increases and feeling of heart burn.

During trimester 2 and 3 following exercises are prescribed.

5. HAMSTRING STRETCH

  • Position should be long sitting in which one leg should be straight out in front and toes pointing upwards.
  • Bring your other foot towards your straight knee.
  • Move your head forward and try to reach your toes with same hand. You should feel a gentle stretch at the back of your thigh.
  • Hold it for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch for other leg.
  • Do it three times.

6. LEG LIFTS

exercises-for-pregnant-women

  • Leg lifts helps in strengthening of leg muscles and also work on core (back and abdominals)
  • Lie down on your one side.
  • Now slowly lift your leg up and straight.
  • Hold it for five counts and then slowly come back to your starting position.
  • Perform this exercise ten times.
  • Repeat this with other side.

7. DEEP BREATHING EXERCISE

  • Lie down straight with your both knees bent or if you are unable to bend your knees, sit in any of the comfortable position.
  • Inhale through your nose deeply and feel your ribs expansion at your sides and back. While inhaling, sometimes keep the hands on the stomach and try to feel the abdominal muscles movement while inhaling and exhaling. Focus the movements on the stomach instead of ribs.
  • Then breathe out slowly through your mouth by pursing the lips.
  • Repeat this for 10 times.

EXERCISES FOR BACK, PELVIS AND ABS

8. KEGEL EXERCISE

  • Kegel exercise helps in strengthening of the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles during your pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labour and birth.
  • To do Kegels, imagine you are trying to stop the urine. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five and then relax. Repeat this ten times for one set of Kegels. You can do this exercise in any position, like while you are sitting , standing, stair climbing and walking.
  • Do three sets of Kegel exercises a day.

9. ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

  • This exercise helps in strengthening of abdominal muscles.
  • Sit cross-legged on the ground with back straight and supported. This is your starting position.
  • Now take your lower abdominals in, make them tight and hold it for 10 seconds. Make sure you are not holding your breathe.
  • Then relax and come to your starting position.
  • Repeat it 10 times.

10. PELVIC TILT

  • This exercise helps in lower back pain.
  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. You can also do this exercise in the lying position. With either knee straight or bend.
  • Keep your both hands on your pelvis.
  • Now tilt your pelvis back and squeeze in your abdominals and buttock muscles.
  • Hold it for 10 counts or seconds.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

These are some of the important exercises to do during pregnancy. Some other exercises like squats, lunges, strengthening exercises with light dumbbells of upper limb like bicep strengthening, triceps strengthening, shoulder muscle strengthening, cat and camel exercises should be done under proper guidance.

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Dr. Vidhi Jain
Dr. Vidhi works as the Head of Department at Vinayak physiotherapy, a state of art multi-specialty physiotherapy clinic located in Vinayak Hospital at Noida. A Masters in Physiotherapy in Orthopedics and a member of Indian Association of Physiotherapy, She was nominated as "Best Physiotherapist" in Noida. She regularly visits private and government companies to spread awareness about Physiotherapy.

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