Top 5 Exercises for Pregnant Mums

Pregnancy is a transformative period for the body, and it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout this period to ensure the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. If you are pregnant, you will know just how much your body is going through change. Often there is confusion on exercising when pregnant and vast information that can be misleading. Exercising during pregnancy is safe and good for you and the baby. It can keep you healthy and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and when giving birth. We have listed a few below:

1. Helps Control Excess Weight Gain

Preventing excessive weight (beyond that comprised of water retention and the weight of your baby) can be difficult especially if you are craving certain foods. Firstly, try to eat a balanced diet and if you crave a snack make sure you stock health options such as fruits, nuts and rice cakes. Make sure you stay hydrated and choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones. Secondly, get into a good routine of exercising. You do not have to run 5ks and lift weights to exercise. Adopt a gentle exercise routine such as going for regular walks, yoga, Pilates and staying generally active. The benefits of exercise are plenty but most importantly it can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

2. Reduces Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a sort of diabetes that can create during pregnancy assuming you gain an excess of weight. Your glucose (glucose) levels increment, which can prompt the birth of a bigger child. Whenever left untreated, it can bring about additional risk for both the mother and child. Fortunately, exercise can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Exercise can assist with controlling glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity, diminishing the risk of creating gestational diabetes.

3. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Your heart and lungs should work harder during pregnancy, this guarantees you and your child get the perfect proportion of oxygen and supplements. Your cardiovascular system can be further improved by exercise and activities that improve your cardiovascular system, making it more proficient in giving the essential supplements required. Standard exercise can help your well-being and limit the risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. Exercise reinforces the heart and improves circulation permitting the body to work more efficiently.

4. Reduces Back Pain

Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy, as the weight of the baby puts extra strain on the back. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles in the back and reduce the risk of back pain. It can also improve posture, reducing the strain on the back and preventing back pain.

5. Improves Mood and Reduces Stress

Pregnancy can be tough at times, and exercise can assist with further developing a strong mind-set and lessen feelings of anxiety. It can also help to develop rest quality, which can assist with decreasing feelings of anxiety. Practising exercise can improve endorphins release, which are feel-great chemicals that can assist with diminishing pressure and nervousness. There’s also a strong consensus that stress in mum can lead to stress in baby during pregnancy and after being born.

6. Eases labour and Delivery

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help prepare the body for labour and delivery. It can improve muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, making it easier to cope with the physical demands of labour. Exercise can also help reduce the risk of complications during delivery, such as prolonged labour and the need for a caesarean section.

7. Improves Postpartum Recovery

Exercise during pregnancy can improve the body's ability to return to a pre-pregnancy state. If you engage consistently the benefits are plenty. These include a reduction in postpartum depression, a strong pelvic floor (reducing the incidence of urinary incontinence) and improve sexual function. It is important to engage in some form of exercise to reduce the risk of complications.

Surrey Physio have experienced staff trained in exercise prescription and care during pregnancy. Two colleagues in particular Niamh and Kay are excellent. We can develop tailored programs to help you have a comfortable pregnancy and to improve your fitness levels during this period. Please see us in clinic if you would like to know more about how to engage in exercises safely whilst pregnant. We also offer antenatal Pilates on a 1:1 basis if you prefer a more personal experience.

In the meantime, please try our top 5 sexercises recommended by our experienced physiotherapists. Start gently and seek advice first, but after that, give it a go!

Pregnancy Exercises - Pillow Squeeze

Adopt the supine crook lying position. Place a small cushion between your knees keeping them hip distance apart. Inhale to prepare, exhale as you gently engage your inner thighs to create a squeeze into the cushion while lifting your pelvic floor. Maintain the squeeze for five breaths. As you exhale, release the squeeze of your inner thighs. Repeat.

Pregnancy Exercises - Ball Hip Dips

Adopt the sitting on a Swiss ball start position. Walk your feet forwards until your head neck and shoulders are supported on the ball in the bridge position. Make sure you have a neutral lower back and pelvis, with your lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles switched on. Engage your buttock muscles and make sure your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Inhale as you lower your hips towards the floor without arching your back. Exhale as you lift your hips and pelvis back up to the bridge position. Repeat. This is not recommended in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Exercises - Yoga Shoulder Stretch with Swiss Ball

Sit on your heels with your arms on a Swiss ball. Gently stretch your arms out by rolling the ball forwards. Breathe deeply. Drop your shoulders down your back while keeping your elbows straight and your hands light. Release your lower back by lengthening it towards your heels. This exercise stretches and releases your chest muscles and shoulders and helps with breathing. This exercise may also help relieve symptoms of heartburn and back pain.

Pregnancy Exercises - Side Lying Stretch over Pillow

Adopt the side lying start position, with 2-3 pillows positioned between your underneath waist and the floor. Stretch out your top leg straight and in line with your body. Reach your top arm over your head. Hold this position imagining your top side of your body lengthening feeling a gentle stretch around your top waist. Breathe naturally.

Pregnancy Exercises - One Leg Kick in Four Point Kneeling

Adopt the four-point kneeling start position. Position your hands slightly in front and wider than your shoulders, keeping your elbows soft. Maintain a neutral spine and your lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor engaged at the correct level. Keep your head lifted in line with your spine. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and bend one knee with pointed toes to pulse your heel towards your buttock, pulse with a flexed ankle then once more with a pointed foot. Inhale as you extend your leg behind you bringing your knee off the floor before you slide your foot back to the start position. Avoid arching or twisting your hips and lower back. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. This is not recommended in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Exercise is very useful during pregnancy to ensure the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. It can help control excessive weight gain, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and other complications, improve cardiovascular health, reduce back pain, improve mood, ease labour and delivery, and improve postpartum recovery. It is important to consult with your midwife, osteopath at Surrey Physio, or a healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine during pregnancy to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs. Pregnancy is a beautiful, physiological and natural process of the female body and we hope you enjoy and embrace the journey.

(Therapists: if you are reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises Free trial available on their website. Patients: If you are a patient needing advice or a course of treatment, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).