Looking to maintain a fitter baby body?
There’s always a lot of hype surrounding what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to food and exercise during pregnancy. Depending on what you read and where, everyone will tell you different. However, instead of eating for two with full days of inactivity, why not try doing everything in moderation? That way, you can enjoy a healthy baby body, whilst adapting to your changing shape and weight gain.
Remember, exercise is not dangerous to your baby; you may just find that you need to adapt your routine to suit your ever-changing body. We have created this guide full of gentle exercises for a fitter baby body, to help you stay active and enjoy your bump.
Stomach Strengthening Exercises for a Fitter Baby Body
As baby gets bigger, you may find that you are experiencing back pain. This is due to an increase in the hollow in your lower back. Stomach strengthening exercises such as this one can help to ease your pain, as well as strengthening your abdominal muscles:
- Start in the box position on all fours with your knees under your hips, and your hands under shoulders.
- Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your back towards the ceiling, curling your back and allowing your head to relax.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, before going back to the box position.
- Do this slow and rhythmically and ensure you only move as far back as you can comfortably.
When doing this exercise, make sure that you do not hollow your back, and that it always goes back to a neutral position. You should also listen to your body, only moving your back as far as you can comfortably go. This exercise can be repeated slowly and rhythmically 10 times.
Pelvic Tilt Exercises
Pelvic tilt exercises are a great example of simple and gentle exercises for a fitter baby body. Like the example above, pelvic tilt exercises can help strengthen your abdominal muscles to prepare for labour, as well as stretching your lower back muscles.
- Stand with your shoulders and bum against the wall, keeping your knees soft.
- Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back is flat against the wall.
- Hold this for 4 seconds, and then release.
This exercise can be repeated up to 10 times to gently build your strength.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
This exercise ties in nicely with the one above, as it works to strengthen your pelvic floor. This helps you to prepare your muscles for the strain of childbirth. If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may find that you leak wee when you strain, or even cough or sneeze. There is no need to feel embarrassed about this, as this is very common in pregnancy. Doing exercises such as these helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy.
- Start by tightening your bum muscles and drawing in your urethra and vagina as if gripping a tampon, or as if you’re desperate for the loo.
- At first, do this exercise as quickly as possible, tightening and releasing your muscles immediately.
- Then slow it down, holding for as long as you can.
Try 3 sets of 8 per day in order to keep the muscles strong. If it helps set an alarm or do them with each meal as not to forget. Alongside these exercises, you should also practise tightening your pelvic floor muscles when you cough or sneeze, as well as beforehand. Even if you are not experiencing stress incontinence now, all pregnant women should do these exercises to strengthen their muscles for birth and beyond.
Here Are a Few Exercises to Avoid
- You should avoid contact sports that come with a risk of being hit (kickboxing, judo, squash).
- Avoid exercising at great heights (over 2,500 above sea level), as this could cause Mum and baby to suffer from altitude sickness.
- Avoid exercise with a risk of falling (horse riding, ice hockey, cycling).
- These may seem obvious, but here is one you may not have thought of: from 16 weeks onwards, don’t exercise lying flat on your back. This is because the weight of your bump can put pressure on your main blood vessel, which pushes blood back to your heart; this can make you feel faint.
Tips for Exercising Safely for a Fitter Baby Body
Like with any form of exercise, you should always warm up and cool down beforehand and afterwards. It is also important to stay hydrated, and to take plenty of rests as and when you need to.
Also, you should stay in touch with your body; if you were not active before pregnancy, you should not suddenly take up strenuous exercise. The rule of thumb for exercising during pregnancy is that you should be able to hold a conversation whilst working out. If you are breathless whilst you talk, it is likely that you are exercising too strenuously; you should consider adapting your exercises to suit you, or take a rest break if needed. If you are ever in doubt, contact your midwife or healthcare professional for advice.
Moreover, if you attend exercise classes or follow online ones, it is important that you let your teacher know that you are pregnant, or check the exercises beforehand. This is because not all exercises are suitable for pregnant women; a qualified instructor will be able to inform you of potential adaptations or alternative exercises.
Overall, exercise does not have to stop just because you are pregnant, you just have to listen to your body and put your safety first. Trying to incorporate bits into your daily routine can help to make sure you have a more happy, fitter baby body, in turn creating a happy baby!
Further support and guidance
More information on the exercises provided, as well as regarding safety when exercising during pregnancy, can be found on the NHS website.
If you are looking for the earliest possible pregnancy viability confirmation, you can book in with firstScan from as early as 6 weeks pregnant; if you are looking for reassurance from 16 weeks, Window to the Womb are here for you.
For support and guidance along your pregnancy journey, why not join our community of mums, who are here for you whenever you need it?
Looking for further pregnancy advice? Check out our latest blog post containing helpful advice for mums-to-be.