How important is exercising/stretching during pregnancy?

Exercising, stretching, and having proper techniques in doing activities during pregnancy are very important and beneficial in keeping the body healthy and strong, and preventing injuries. As we all know, injuries and aches/pains are very common during pregnancy. One of the best ways in avoiding injuries and decreasing pain and discomfort is by having a strong and flexible body. How does one achieve a stronger and more flexible body? By exercising and stretching. Moreover, having proper techniques and postures will also help prevent injuries by decreasing the stress/load on the body.

What are the specific benefits of exercises/stretches during pregnancy?

  • Increase muscle tone, flexibility, endurance, and strength
  • Increase mobility
  • Healthier cardiovascular system for the mom and baby
  • Decrease the relative load on the body
  • Allow for easier carrying of the increased weight
  • Stronger ligaments, joints, and muscles can better withstand the physical stress during labour
  • Allow for better recovery after child birth
  • Easier and faster to get back in shape
  • Decrease pain

Does exercising/stretching put more stress on body during pregnancy?

NO! As long as they are modified specifically for pregnancy. NOT ALL exercises/stretches are good during pregnancy. For example, exercises such as heavy weight lifting should be avoided (or modified) especially during the last trimester. Running and weight training should also be modified as the abdominal weight increases.

What are some effective exercises during pregnancy?

  • Clamshell exercise
  • Four point alternate legs
  • Four point arm and leg raise (quadruped exercise)
  • Four point trunk extension flexion (cat & dog)
  • Front plank
  • Wall squat
  • Pelvic floor activation
  • Pelvis tilt (standing)
  • Pelvic tilt (sleeping)
  • Straight leg raises

 Images courtesy of SimpleSet Pro Professional Exercise Program.

What are some effective stretches during pregnancy?

  • Child’s pose
  • Circles rocking (ball)
  • Deep lunge
  • Downward dog
  • Extended angle
  • Posterior hip stretch
  • Knee to chest
  • Pigeon pose
  • Piriformis stretch (figure 4)
  • Psoas lunge
  • Extension – kneeling push
  • Warrior pose

 Images courtesy of SimpleSet Pro Professional Exercise Program.

What are the proper postures/technique during pregnancy?

  • 3 quarter prone resting
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Proper posture (standing)
  • Squat lifting technique (proper lifting)
  • Transition supine to sitting (sleeping to sitting)
  • Taylor sitting

 Images courtesy of SimpleSet Pro Professional Exercise Program.

How are exercises/stretches prescribed? When should they be done?

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