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Pregnancy gymnastics: exercises & effects

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 156 views

Prenatal gymnastics includes exercises that are specially tailored to expectant mothers. It relieves typical pregnancy symptoms such as aching back, tense neck and swollen legs. Read here what you should consider in pregnancy exercises, when you should start and why your baby will benefit from it.

Pregnancy gymnastics – the best exercises

Pregnancy exercises are aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor and relieving the strain on the back, neck and shoulders. It is also said to stimulate the often too low blood pressure of pregnant women. The following exercises are suitable for this:

Pelvic floor exercises

The bigger the baby gets, the harder it hits the pelvic floor. Pregnancy is therefore a challenge for this area. To avoid the risk of urinary incontinence, the following exercise helps, among other things: Lie on your back with your legs stretched out, crossing one foot over the other. The arms rest beside the body. As you inhale, press your feet together and tighten your thighs, abs, and buttocks. Your thighs and back should now be slightly off the floor. Lower back down on the exhale and switch legs.

Exercises for neck and shoulders

During pregnancy, the breasts enlarge. To balance the weight in front, pregnant women automatically pull their shoulders back. The result: tense neck and shoulder muscles. Good exercises to loosen them are shoulder circles and pulling the shoulders towards the ears and letting them drop loosely on the exhale.

exercises for the back

An elementary part of pregnancy exercises are back exercises. The hormonal changes during pregnancy reduce stability in the pelvic and lower back area. This can cause pain. The following exercise can loosen the muscles: Lie on your back, bend your knees on the sides of your stomach and roll back and forth very gently.

Exercises for the cardiovascular system

The cardiovascular system works hard during pregnancy: it has to pump 1.5 to 2 liters more blood through the body. Many women also have low blood pressure and feel weak and dizzy. Exercises such as foot circles or pelvic tilts can help here. For the latter, lie on the floor and put your feet up with your knees bent. Slowly raise and lower your pelvis to and from the floor without lifting your upper body.

Pregnancy gymnastics – that brings them

What exactly do these exercises do? Pregnancy brings a lot of physical changes. For example, ligaments, tendons and muscles stretch. As the belly grows, so does the stress on bones and joints. The body’s center of gravity also shifts – this changes the posture. Of course, with such rapid changes, pain and tension are inevitable.

Exactly such complaints should be alleviated by pregnancy exercises. As a gentle form of strength training, it strengthens the heavily stressed areas of the body. Often, gymnastics for pregnant women also includes elements for relaxation. The aim is to support the soon-to-be mommy’s body as much as possible.

Pelvic floor training is particularly important for pregnant women . A strong pelvic floor can greatly support childbirth. The training also reduces the sagging and sagging of the pelvic floor after childbirth.

The gentle exercises not only strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Pregnancy exercises also have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. It also reduces the risk of thrombosis, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

The body of the woman – and thus also the child – are optimally supplied with oxygen through gymnastics during pregnancy. The gentle rocking back and forth during the exercises can also have a calming effect on the little one. The endorphins that mum releases during pregnancy exercises ensure that her well-being increases – and with it that of the baby.

Pregnancy gymnastics in the water

A special form of pregnancy gymnastics is aqua gymnastics for pregnant women. The exercises are carried out in the water . This has the advantage that training is easier because the water carries the body weight. In addition, the joints are protected.

Pregnancy gymnastics – the right time

If you do not suffer from severe nausea , you can start with pregnancy exercises in the first few weeks of pregnancy. As a rule of thumb: if you feel fit, you can do gymnastics. However, most women do not start until after the third month to minimize the risk of miscarriage.

The fifth month, but no later than the third trimester (7th month) is considered the best time to start the exercises. Pregnancy always means: don’t overdo it. That is why midwives recommend only doing pregnancy exercises for around 20 to 30 minutes at a time, but at least three times a week.

Discuss in advance with your gynecologist or your midwife whether you can take part in pregnancy exercises. This also applies if the exercises are specially designed for pregnant women and you carry them out under expert guidance at best. Especially if you have physical complaints or it is a high-risk pregnancy.

Pregnancy exercises – what you should pay attention to

Movement during pregnancy has a positive effect on the mother-to-be and the growing child. With the gynecologist’s OK, there is no excuse for skipping pregnancy exercises. Even heavily pregnant women can do the exercises if the pregnancy is normal and if they feel good about it.

Always take a bottle of water with you to pregnancy exercises. Dehydration can lead to overheating and, at worst, premature labor. And: When choosing your course, pay attention to the qualifications of the course instructor.

When pregnancy exercises are taboo

Pregnancy exercises are taboo for complaints such as

  • undersupply of the fetus
  • Low-lying placenta
  • bleeding
  • anemia
  • premature shortening of the cervix

Pregnancy gymnastics – in class or at home?

In principle, you can do pregnancy gymnastics both in a class and at home. A combination of both is best. All you need is a soft mat or blanket, comfortable clothing and possibly an exercise ball.

Courses have the advantage that you are expertly instructed and corrected in the execution of the exercises. This is how you avoid incorrect loads. And: Since a course takes place at fixed times, there is less likelihood that you will skip the pregnancy exercises.

Pregnancy exercises in the second pregnancy

If the second or even the third or fourth child is on the way, expectant mothers see things a little more relaxed. In the case of pregnancy gymnastics, however, you should not let the discipline slide. Especially since the soul benefits as well as the body. Because the course means time for yourself and offers the opportunity to exchange ideas with other (expectant) mothers.

Pregnancy gymnastics – you should avoid that

In principle, the classic exercises in a course are suitable for expectant mothers at every stage of pregnancy. They can be adapted to the current situation at any time. As soon as you feel pain or feel dizzy, take a break from pregnancy exercises. Only do gymnastics as long as you feel comfortable doing it.

You should generally avoid the following exercises:

  • Sit-ups: Movements that engage the rectus muscles (such as sit-ups) because they compress the abdomen and shorten the abdominal wall.
  • Jumping: Jumping exercises and other exercises involving concussions are not recommended, especially in the first 18 weeks. They increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Exercises from the prone position
  • jerky movements

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