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In the past, pregnant women used to be advised to take it easy and avoid exercising, because it could harm their baby and themselves. Fortunately, studies show that there are actually many benefits of prenatal exercises and being physically active during all trimesters of pregnancy.

In fact, according to the research carried out on this topic, regular exercises help to reduce the risk of miscarriage, pre-term birth, caesarian section while supporting weight control and preventing gestational diabetes.

pregnancy exercises

While it is not clearly known how the process works, it is suggested that exercising may induce anti-inflammatory and antioxidant factors, as well as help the production of certain hormones.

Prenatal exercises: first, second and third trimester

According to another study, expectant mothers, who regularly exercise experience lower rates of resting heart rate, which signifies a healthier heart. The study states that based on the ultrasound, the researchers have also witnessed increased heart functions which benefits babies too.

According to the updated American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines,  more recent research shows that pregnant women should perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, which is equivalent to doing 20 to 30 workout each day.

However, if you are pregnant, you need to be aware of which pregnancy exercises are actually safe and beneficial both for you and your little one, and which ones you need to avoid doing.

You can check a pregnancy workout plan with the trimester-by-trimester breakdown. And remember: while exercise during pregnancy benefits both mothers and babies, you need to first consult your doctor to get his or her advice and recommendations.

1st Trimester
During the first few months of the pregnancy, you do not need to modify your daily activities too much. Doctors suggest keeping your activity levels as usual, which is beneficial for your baby.

For example, you may keep running, swimming, weight lifting, and walking. In addition, if you have not been active for a while, then it is actually the best time to start.

However, you need to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. For example, start with 10 mins of daily exercise, then work up to 25 minutes every day.

However, you should refrain from doing certain activities while being pregnant. These include any exercise that might cause you to fall, scuba diving, contact sports, hot pilates, and skydiving.

2nd Trimester

Starting from the second trimester, pregnant mothers will start to recognize a “belly bump”. In addition, from this period, you need to avoid performing certain types of exercises that require you to lie on your stomach or your back.

These activities may put on pressure on the inferior vena cava, which is a large vein that conveys deoxygenated blood back to your heart. While you may skip doping many floor exercises, some workouts which can be done on your side can be performed.

In addition, you can also do weight training, while opting for machines instead of free weights, since machines make it easier to control the balance and as well as the weight itself.

Another great addition is resistance bands which you can utilize during pregnancy workouts. Some health experts believe that if you are pregnant, you should avoid increasing your heart rate more than 140 BPM. However, new research suggests that based on your fitness level and age, you may exceed this limit.

There are many gadgets that are available in the markets today that helps you to easily measure your heart rate during the workouts.

Indeed, ACOG’s guidelines state that 30 minutes of strenuous activity or exercise is quite normal and well tolerated by pregnant women in their second trimester.   

3rd Trimester
While you can’t do any more planks by the 3rd trimester, due to the obvious reasons, the exercise routine is also often restricted by doctors. Indeed, you may need to adjust your exercises in a way or try some other variations that can help you to accommodate your growing belly.

For example, you can try performing wall push-ups, instead of doing a regular one, which is also an easier alternative. Also, while doing squats, use a wider stance.

You may consider using three- to five-pound dumbbells for lateral raises for shoulders and biceps curls, which helps you strengthen and tone your arms, making it easier to carry your little one in the near future.

In general, exercises, which are pretty much safe at the beginning, are usually safe at the end. Just make sure to opt for an exercise and routine which you like and gradually improve as your pregnancy progresses.

Overall, as long as the workout routine does not pose a risk, and have any adverse impact on you and the health of your little one, keep doing what you enjoy. You can either keep swimming if you feel more comfortable in the water or just keep walking if you prefer walking outside.

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