5 Ways To Choose Best Exercise During Pregnancy

Vijeta Tomar

Chief Yoga Instructor, Pinaki Yoga

Fitness during pregnancy plays a major role for your health and your baby’s growth & development. Exercise during pregnancy improves your heart rate, strengthens your system and provides ease to your pregnancy symptoms in each trimester. Following a routine of exercise & fitness during pregnancy is important for natural labor & a safe delivery of your baby.

There is uncertainty about the risk associated with pregnancy workout that may stop you from being active during your special journey. Due to which you might feel concerned before joining any prenatal training program. You might face doubts about the activities that are suitable during pregnancy,  if you are able to follow any specific workout during pregnancy and how it would affect the wellbeing of your pregnant body and your unborn baby.

Here are some points that you should consider before joining any Prenatal Workout, and will also help you to identify which type of workout is suitable for you in your current phase of pregnancy:

Health Parameters

It’s important to keep a track of your health parameters during pregnancy like Blood Pressure, Sugar Level, Heart Rate, Thyroid Activity, Liver Profile etc. Due to hormonal and structural changes during pregnancy the basic health parameters may get affected. The ups and down in these parameters will help you to choose the correct exercise program & nutrition plan for your current state of pregnancy. Here are some workout suggestions associated with specific health parameters,

  • High BP: For any mom to be with the increased blood pressure, need to avoid any intense workout or increased heart rate during exercise. Any soothing and calming workout program like Restorative Yoga, Meditation, Fetal Talk and Garbhsanskar, will help you to control your blood pressure and prevent pregnancy complications associated with this condition like miscarriages, preeclampsia and preterm labor. 
  • Deficiency of Vit D: Deficiency of Vitamin D leads to Autism in babies & Preterm labors in later stages of pregnancy. Any outdoor activity in the morning during sunlight will help you to improve your Vitamin D levels including a brisk walk or some rounds of surya namaskar. 
  • Gestational Diabetes: Diabetes during pregnancy, can cause hyperglycemia to mother & overweight fetus in later months of pregnancy. High blood sugar can cause problems for you and your unborn baby, including an increased likelihood of needing a surgery to deliver (C-section). A moderate to intense level workout (based on your fitness level) with a balanced low GI diet will help you to control your blood sugar. You can also follow more than one training program at different timings to burn more calories and to let your glucose consume completely by your body. Programs you can follow are Prenatal Yoga routine, Prenatal Zumba, Brisk Walking, Moderate Weight Training and Swimming. Variations in workout will help more to control your blood sugar during pregnancy. 
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain: Pelvic pain is very common during pregnancy because of shifting of bones and ligaments to make space for the growing uterus. Any Severe Pelvic girdle pain is a symptom for pelvic imbalance and stiffness in pelvic muscles. A safe prenatal yoga or pilates will help you to overcome these challenges. A functional program with body balancing & soft stretching routine will also help to reduce these symptoms. 
  • Liver Disease: According to research published in 2018,” In the liver, exercise increases fatty acid oxidation, decreases fatty acid synthesis, and prevents mitochondrial and cellular damage through a reduction of the release of damage-associated molecular patterns.”
    In conclusion, physical exercise is a proven therapeutic strategy to improve fatty liver disease. During pregnancy, due to growing uterus size, organs might work slowly, which can cause fatty liver conditions during pregnancy. Any Resistance or high-intensity aerobic exercise like Low impact weight training or Prenatal Zumba led to a decrease in liver fat content. Severe Liver Imbalances during pregnancy leads to sudden delivery of your baby through a planned C-section. Drinking more water and Giloy Milk Decoction (Consult your ayurvedic doctor or contact us) according to ayurveda will help to detox your blood and put less burden on your liver. 
  • Thyroid DIsorder: Thyroid disorders are very common during pregnancy and can cause miscarriages in early pregnancy. Thyroid disorders are also responsible for autism and neural tube defects in the fetus. Thyroid is also considered an auto-immune disorder, so any meditation program like Nadabrahma, Yoga Nidra or Womb Healing will be helpful to overcome such conditions during pregnancy. Simple routine of joint movements, brisk walking and a 15 minutes breathing program including Thyroid breathing, Ujjayi, Jalandhara bandha (without holding breath), Brahmari and others, will also be helpful to let your thyroid be under control during any state of pregnancy.

Current State of Pregnancy

To choose your Prenatal Fitness program, It’s important to understand the symptoms & complications of the current phase of your pregnancy. Everybody is different and every pregnancy is different for everybody. What your mother & grandmother used to feel during their time of pregnancy, it’s not necessary that you will also feel the same. So understand your body and choose your workout plan to reduce your complications for the current phase, and to achieve best results later. Here are some suggestions based on each trimester:

  • First Trimester: It lasts until the end of the 13th week of pregnancy. You may feel morning sickness, nausea, and low energy during this time. For some people these symptoms end soon at the end of the 13th week but for others it may last longer in your pregnancy. Consult your doctor if such symptoms persist even after the first trimester or you can also follow an ayurvedic routine to overcome such challenges. The major complication people face during the first trimester is Miscarriage or Abort of Early Pregnancy. Reasons can be lifting something very heavy, sudden jerks or movements, hormones imbalance or even weak uterus. It’s better to avoid lifting heavy weights or any gym or intense aerobic activity during the first trimester of pregnancy. Even though miscarriage is a complication of the first trimester still it’s not recommended to sit ideally for a complete day or opt for a bed rest in case of a normal and healthy pregnancy. Few workout recommendations that will help you to reduce your nausea & will also help you to be active during first trimester,
  1. Walking: Walking is the great exercise to start with during your first trimester. It will help to strengthen your pelvic muscles that will prevent miscarriages and will also help in labor for easy childbirth. 
  2. Restorative Yoga: Restorative prenatal yoga is a very soothing and calming form of yoga that will help to reduce your symptoms and will also help to balance your hormones & prevent miscarriages.
  3. Heart Beat Meditation: This is a very powerful form of meditation which you can try before the 8th week scan of your pregnancy. This meditation will help you clear your subconscious, remove fear, stress & anxiety, strengthen your aura, fill your space with positivity and develop the will power of a healthy child in your subconscious. All these things together provide a great strength to your baby’s cells and prevent termination of early pregnancy. This meditation is very important to follow with some breathing exercises, specially for those who are suffering with frequent miscarriages, abortions or weak uterus. To understand more about this meditation or to take a demo class contact us 
  4. Stationary Cycling: If you used to go to gym and your membership is still pending you can start working on a stationary cycle over there for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help to strengthen your legs, pelvic, knees and hips joints. This will again provide you a strong core and protected uterus.
  5. Swimming: This is the safest exercise to follow during the First Trimester of your pregnancy. It provides cardiovascular benefits and strengthens your muscles. Swimming is a great exercise to work on your complete body and provide strength to your core and back muscles, prevent miscarriages and prepare your body for further upcoming challenges of the second trimester.

  • Second Trimester: Second trimester starts from 14th week and lasts until 27th week. Second trimester is the safest period to start with any moderate to intense workout plan according to your capacity. This is the time where you started feeling pelvic pain, swollen feet, acidity, urine infections and more indigestion. Due to shifting of ligaments to make space for the growing uterus many people suffer with sciatica, back pain, pelvic girdle pain and more. Second trimester is the most heated period of pregnancy and you might feel skin rashes, itching and stretch marks. Your Second trimester health & fitness will also help you to overcome your upcoming issues of the third trimester like Gestational Diabetes and Liver Diseases. As this trimester makes you feel more energetic, it’s better to start following some moderate weight training routine along with some aerobic exercises or zumba. You can follow multiple training programs in this trimester and provide more variations of workout to your pregnant body. Join a Prenatal Yoga program with some stretching routine  to overcome your pelvic & back pain, and swelling issues. Drinking more water to keep yourself hydrated will keep your kidney & liver more healthy during this phase of pregnancy.
  • Third Trimester: This lasts till the 40th week of pregnancy. Thirst trimester is the time for major changes in your structure and hormones to prepare your body for labor. During this phase you will put on maximum weight so it’s better to keep control on your body weight before the third trimester starts. Being overweight during this trimester can cause gestational diabetes and obesity in your baby and also shift your labor to the surgical one, as it will be difficult to deliver the heavy baby through normal delivery.‍

As the body starts itself for labor and makes passage for childbirth by doing some shifts in your pubic bones, pelvic bone and hip bones, any stiffness and tightness in pelvic tissues will cause pubis symphysis dysfunction. It’s better to prepare your body for these changes from the second or first trimester by following some prenatal workout according to your comfort. End of the Third trimester is all full of surprising challenges for our baby too. As soon as you are moving towards labor your doctor will be concerned about your baby’s head engagement after 36th week, baby’s position after 36th week, your natural induction after 37th week and your baby’s healthy heart rate throughout this period. It’s better to join a Childbirth educationas early as possible in your second trimester to let these things happen smoothly in a right way at the end of third trimester. All these conditions need preparation starting from the 20th week of your pregnancy, depending on your body. So the third trimester means more activity belongs to less complications in your labor and childbirth. This is the time for variations in workout, attend labor workshops, prepare your birth plan, train your partner for your labor, and prepare yourself for the special day of your childbirth with your birthing team (partner, educator, doctor and trainer).

Pre-Pregnancy Fitness Level

One day is not enough to bring changes in your body. Labor is the time of biggest change in your life and body, for which you need to start preparing yourself even before pregnancy. According to ayurveda, a healthy plant belongs to the healthy seed, land and proper water. Where seed belongs to ovum and sperm, land belongs to your body and water belongs to nutrition. Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits before pregnancy affect the quality of sperm & ovum and turn your pregnancy journey into a painful experience. You will be free to choose any workout during pregnancy if your fitness level was good pre- pregnancy. Any health condition before pregnancy will restrict you to move during pregnancy and will cause severe affect to your labor and postpartum recovery. Better to follow a Preconception programs before 6 months of conceiving, will help you to detox your body, enhance the quality of sperm & ovum, strengthen your body to hold your baby strongly into your womb, avoid situations like miscarriages and preterm labors, and also balance your hormones will reduce your symptoms in all 3 trimesters. A preconception program will prepare your body for a healthy and joyful pregnancy. Anybody who is new to workout during pregnancy, need to start the pregnancy routine carefully after consulting your yoga trainer. It’s better to start with a soothing prenatal yoga only with some breathing exercises and do more walking. Any intense workout or weight training for beginners is not recommended during pregnancy, because of the risk of injury due to weak muscles and joints.

Morning or Evening Workout

Your workout timing plays an important role during pregnancy. In general, if you are a working woman, you may feel lethargic or tired by the end of the day. Morning workout will give you more energy and will keep you active throughout the day. You can choose the workout according to your comfort. Some people feel more energetic during the evening, which will help to release anxiety, balance hormones and good quality sleep. 

Understand the Goal

The goal of any exercise during pregnancy is to maintain the health of your pregnant body, maintain your baby’s healthy heart rate & her weight, and to reduce labor complications while preparing your body for labor & Childbirth. Keeping this goal in your mind you can choose any workout program on the basis of above given points and your comfort. Some examples of prenatal workout for any healthy pregnant mother can be, Brisk Walking, Light Jogging, Prenatal Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Pilates, Meditation, Breathing Exercises, Prenatal Zuma and Cardio Activities, Swimming, Stationary Cycling, Slow Dancing, Moderate level weight training (Only if you are already trained into weights, before pregnancy), and anything that will keep you active including staircase climbing and household work. 

According to me, as a Prenatal Yoga Coach & Childbirth Educator, I worked with 500+ prenatal clients, just one hour workout is not enough to achieve the goal of pregnancy fitness program. Any one hour workout will train your body definitely, but that will only be effective if you are active throughout your day. Follow more than one training program, take a walk every 15 minutes, follow some dance routines on holidays, do some partner workouts, use more props for your stretching and workout, follow different meditation routines, workout with music and try all different ways of being active and make your journey more enjoyable and cheerful. Celebrate each day of this special journey!, give more priority to you and your baby, keep talking to your baby throughout the day, spend more time with your partner and feel love with your surroundings, people and with yourself! 

Pregnancy is the gift of Mother nature to empower ourselves and feel this special ability in us to create life. Make this process as joyful as you can, feel more connected with nature and stay thankful to mother earth for every breath, for this body and for this new life inside your womb.

Thanks for reading!

May mother earth bless every being with the sense of fertility, with a healthy body and with higher consciousness. Respect & Gratitude!

Join our Prenatal Yoga Classes & Workshop on Labor and Childbirth. To Register, Message or Call us at +91-8285579134


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