Staying active throughout pregnancy can help prevent lower back pain and get your body in shape for the marathon of birth. It can also help keep nausea and morning sickness at bay during your first trimester.
While exercise during pregnancy is important, it is also important to not overexert yourself. In most cases, you can maintain the same level of exercise as you had been prior to pregnancy. Consult with your midwife to ensure you have a safe workout routine.
Your exercise routine should always include a warm up and cool down. Stretch beforehand and stay well hydrated. Take breaks when needed, pregnancy is not the time to push yourself to the limit.
Walking is a great way to exercise without overdoing it. You can use a treadmill to get your steps in, or decide to take the more scenic route and walk through a park or your neighborhood. Walking outside offers vitamin D from the sun, fresh air, and the chance to clear your mind.
While you are out taking a stroll, your body is busy working some major muscle groups such as:
These muscles help support in aligning the pelvis, thus creating more space to get the baby in an optimal birth position.
Prenatal yoga is great for preparing the body and mind for childbirth. You are strengthening and stretching your muscles while practicing endurance and breathing, all of which are necessary for childbirth.
You can find prenatal videos to follow online, or go in person to a class. In person classes can have an added benefit of socialization time and support system. Some great poses to try are:
Wide-Knee Child’s Pose
Downward Facing Dog Pose
During pregnancy, the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid can sometimes cause discomfort and lower back pain. Swimming is loved by pregnant women everywhere because of the feeling of weightlessness. Swimming can help improve circulation, strengthen your arms and legs, and can help prevent overheating.
Exercises to Avoid
You should avoid exercises that require you to lay on your back for extended periods of time (longer than 20 minutes) or where you might be twisting your core, twisting with your chest and shoulders are okay.
Do not push yourself to keep going when you are feeling off. Listen to your body and take it easy. If you have been placed on bed rest, listen to your provider’s orders to prevent injury.
Many cultures around the world have their own set of practices when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. One traditional practice that is widespread among many cultures is midwifery and goes back to the earliest humans.
Are you thinking about using a birth center but still on the fence about it? Many women who have used a birth center have reported having a more positive experience overall and feeling a sense of pride or empowerment after giving birth. Continue reading to see why women are switching back to the midwifery model of care.