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By: Debbie Marchese, PT
You just found out you’ll be bringing home your little bundle of joy in less than nine months. While there are many questions surrounding your pregnancy, many women wonder how they will be able to stay active during and after pregnancy due to the changes their bodies experience.
It is recommended that women who are pregnant exercise for 30 minutes each day. If this is a new lifestyle change for you, start with 10 minutes of exercise a day and gradually increase your activity until you reach a half hour of activity daily. You can also exercise in 15-minute increments to reach your goal and avoid getting too hot. Below are some helpful, easy to do, home exercises you can do while pregnant:
• Plank – Get down on your hands and knees, wrists directly under your shoulders. Lift your knees and straighten your legs behind you until your body forms a straight line. Don’t arch your back or let your belly sag. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths, working up to 5 breaths.
• Plié – Stand parallel to the back of a sturdy chair with the hand closest to the chair resting on it, feet parallel and hip-distance apart. With your toes and knees turned out to 45 degrees, pull your belly button up and in. Bend your knees, lowering your torso as low as possible while keeping your back straight. Straighten your legs to return to starting position. Repeat for reps.
• Side-Lying Inner and Outer Thigh – Lie on your right side, head supported by your forearm, right leg bent at a 45-degree angle and left leg straight. Place your opposite arm on the floor for stability. Lift left leg to about hip height and repeat for reps. Next, bend your left knee and rest it on top of pillows for support. Straighten your right leg and lift it as high as possible for reps. Switch sides and repeat for reps.
Thirty minutes of exercise each day may seem impossible if you are experiencing lower back pain or pain in your hips or knees due to natural weight gain from your pregnancy, but exercise and sitting and standing properly can help ease the pain. Addressing your pain with physical therapy during pregnancy can prevent long-term problems.
Before participating in any form of exercise, make sure to eat a well-balanced meal and drink plenty of water. Some suggested forms of exercise for pregnant women and women who are postpartum include aquatic exercise, stretching, and stabilization exercises to strengthen the core muscles. Avoid activities that are not in a temperature-controlled environment or where you could fall easily.
Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. If you need help developing a more extensive exercise program that is right for you, call us today at 804-764-1000 to speak to a physical therapist who can help you prevent and overcome any injuries you may experience while pregnant or as you transition into the role of motherhood. To find a full list of women’s fitness services, click here.