Workout Programs for Pregnant Women

Workout Programs for Pregnant Women

Staying active during pregnancy is important for both mommy and baby. Workout programs for pregnant women are designed to improve physical and emotional well-being, as well as help make labor and delivery easier. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends expectant mothers with low-risk pregnancies to engage in two and a half hours of moderate-level exercise each week. With your doctor's approval, taking part in the right workout program can make your pregnancy fun, enjoyable and energetic.

Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga sessions are designed to not only relax the body, but re-balance hormones, ease physical discomforts and teach meditation techniques. It will also prepare the mind, body and spirit for your upcoming birthing experience. Yoga is a natural and low-impact workout program that uses gentle poses geared toward increasing flexibility and endurance, and is perfect for staying fit and bonding with your baby. You can practice yoga at any time during your pregnancy by watching a DVD or enrolling in a local studio for a community experience with other mothers-to-be or your partner.

Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise involves the steady and repetitive motion of arms and legs. Cardio is great to do during pregnancy because it increases blood flow, bringing oxygen to both mommy and baby. If you happen to have a fitness center membership, you can engage in cardio exercise on the elliptical, stationary bike and the treadmill. However, yiou don't have to go to the gym to get a good cardio workout. Grab a water bottle, sneakers and your mp3 to take a stroll outside -- if it is not too hot. The fresh air is a great way to energize the body, as well as relieve aches, pains and nausea.

Water Aerobics
Swimming is another low-impact exercise that mixes cardio exercise with the feeling of being weightless in the water. Water aerobics is a full body workout, strengthening your arms, shoulders, core abdominal muscles, hips, legs and bottom. If there are no prenatal water aerobic classes in your area, make a schedule for yourself that includes a dip in the pool several days a week. Switch up your regimen every day by using a variety of exercises. Walk across the pool floor like a cross-country skier, tread water upright while scissoring your legs, or use a pool noodle secured under your arms to float on your back while kicking your legs like a frog.

Safety Precautions
Speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Engaging in a workout program is a great way to stay fit while expecting, but there are some activities that should be avoided. Horseback riding, contact sports, running on uneven ground and step aerobics are strongly advised against while pregnant. You should also avoid exercises that require you to be flat on your back after the first trimester, such as certain yoga poses or abdominal exercises. Always stay hydrated and be aware of how your body is reacting. Dizziness, pain in your pelvis or back, shortness of breath and heart palpitations are signs that you should stop for the day.