4 fab ways to keep fit when you’re pregnant

Staying in shape for an easier birth is a cinch with these effortless exercise routines.

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Lacing up your sports shoes to work up a sweat is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re pregnant. Common pregnancy pains like an aching back and tingling wrists are enough to make you stay in bed — and binge watch Netflix.

However, remaining active and doing regular exercise offers countless benefits for you and your growing foetus. Says SmartParents expert, Dr Christopher Chong, a Gleneagles Hospital ob-gyn, “A healthy mummy makes a healthy baby — exercising gives both mother and her developing baby better resistance against infections.”

On top of that, sweating it out regularly promotes postnatal recovery, as well as boosts blood and oxygen circulation. It also minimises the strains of pregnancy-related health issues like swelling, bloating and constipation, Dr Chong adds. Exercising also keeps the extra kilos you may pile on to a minimum, which helps keep gestational diabetes at bay.

“A healthy mummy makes a healthy baby — exercising gives both mother and her developing baby better resistance against infections.”

While you should check with your physician prior to starting a fitness routine, Dr Chong says a good guide is that you feel relaxed and aren’t exhausted after working out. “If you experience severe exhaustion, pains in joints and muscles or abdominal or womb cramps, you are exercising too vigorously.” He suggests simple prenatal exercises you can try…

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1) Yoga and Pilates If you have an instructor, do inform him that you’re pregnant, so that he can advise you on the proper poses and postures to adopt. The deep-breathing techniques in both yoga and Pilates can help to clear your mind and boost circulation. Pilates is a low-impact exercise that will condition your core and pelvic-floor muscles, boosting post-birth recovery.

2) Stretching exercises Doing simple stretching exercises, especially those that focus on your lower back will be great. This is because the curve of your spine is pulled forward to accommodate your bump, causing backache, Dr Chong explains. Gently exercising the joints and muscles around the lower abdomen and pelvis will also relieve soreness.

Your pelvic-floor muscles are the same set of muscles you engage to stop you from urinating. So, doing pelvic-floor exercises/Kegels can help you from peeing accidentally when you laugh or cough ― something that could happen during and after pregnancy. Training these set of muscles can also promote a smoother labour and delivery. Nor do you need any fancy gym equipment or attire to do these. Just simply squeeze the muscles for five to 10 seconds before releasing slowly.

Doing pelvic-floor exercises/Kegels can help you from peeing accidentally when you laugh or cough ― something that could happen during and after pregnancy.

3) Brisk walking or strolling How much time you spend brisk walking will vary from one person to the next, since this depends on your level of fitness. Put on your sneakers and head outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, instead of jumping on the treadmill. Better yet, involve your hubby and turn it into a bonding activity!

4) Swimming This low-impact exercise is great for your growing foetus and you as it takes the weight off of your knees, strained back, spine and joints. It also is a full-body aerobic exercise that boosts your cardiovascular health and blood circulation. Why not seize this opportunity to improve your breathing techniques!

To ensure you’re getting the full benefits of leading an active lifestyle throughout your pregnancy, you should also mind what’s in your diet, too.

Photos: iStock

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