We are huge advocates of pregnancy exercises at home. I have made it my life’s work to share my passion for fitness and helping mothers prepare themselves physically for pregnancy in the convenience and privacy of their own home. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that the average expectant mother perform 20-30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise on all or most days of the weeks that precede the child’s birth. And to this end, the concept of pregnancy exercises at home is one that more expectant women are making a pivotal part of their everyday routines. Many modern moms to be are finding that the simple and convenient act of performing pregnancy exercises at home to be a beneficial part of their pregnancy fitness plan.
Although many women participate in exercise classes, clubs, and workshops that emphasize the importance of maternal health and partum exercise, they also might find particular benefit in pregnancy exercises at home and for a vast variety of reasons. More than 25 million Americans work out in organized home gyms, including a good number of moms to be. Let’s pause to review just a few of the more popular reasons that more prospective moms are doing pregnancy exercises at home, cultivating a designated regimen of pregnancy workouts at home.
- Privacy: Gyms and exercise classes, while fun and inspiring places to exercise are not the most private and secluded places to enjoy your workout sessions; a consideration that may prove particularly applicable during the later months of pregnancy. This is a time when women might be particularly conscious of the weight gain and other physical changes that come as part of the childbearing experience. Yet a moderate exercise regimen can help the mom to be in control these changes; according to the National Health Service, “the more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labor and get back into shape after the birth.”
Some of my moms are a bit self-conscious about their appearance or are worried about being unable to perform certain exercise moves and/or fitness exercises during pregnancy. These concerns may become particularly prevalent during the third trimester when even the healthiest and most fitness conscious females may experience a certain degree of weight gain and some physical limitations. This is why more and more women are opting instead to do pregnancy exercises at home rather than travel to their gym or studio.
- Practicality and convenience: A home exercise program, regardless of one’s life situation, is always more convenient than traveling to a gym or fitness studio. And while more than 54 million Americans possess health club memberships, it is estimated that even more do some form of exercise at home. After all, a trip to your home gym or fitness studio will require a commute of approximately one minute–or, barring this time span, however long it takes to walk from any other room of your home to your home work out site. When you enjoy pregnancy workouts at home, you can exercise anytime day or night–whether it’s right after you return home from work and before you sit down to dinner, on an idle weekend morning, or–hey, if the mood strikes–even in the middle of the night or before you head off to work in the morning. Also in the case of pregnancy exercises at home, you don’t have to concern yourself overmuch with ‘dressing for the occasion’; feel free to work out in your pajamas or a housecoat if you so desire, as long as your choice of workout apparel is comfortable and flexible enough to facilitate a pregnancy workout routine.
- Probability of success: The nine long months of pregnancy is bound to rank among the busiest and most complex times of a woman’s life; one constantly consumed with doctors’ appointments, shopping trips, meetings with friends and family members, as balanced with her regular (which, in the vast majority of cases, is anything but) schedule of work and family commitments. Try penciling in a steady regimen of exercise classes into that rigorous routine with courses that are conducted at a predesignated place and time every week. After a long day’s worth of work and/or family commitments, one might be all too tempted to skip a commitment that is not a job-related or personal requirement. Yet in the case of pregnancy exercises at home, a situation in which you can set your own workout schedule and if needed interrupt or cut short the session for any reason, you stand a far stronger chance of sticking to your pregnancy workout routine and seeing it through to its successful completion. In addition, many of the most popular forms of exercise, including fitness walking, running/jogging, treadmill, free weights, bicycles, weight resistance machines, and stretching, can be done easily at home.
- Comfortable Home Environment: Just as many people prefer working at home, as opposed to in an office environment, a good number of folks also prefer working out at home. At home, you can choose your exercises, set your own exercise schedule, and control all of the conditions surrounding your workout session. You’re bound to derive a great deal of satisfaction from a home-based workout, something that is totally your own. And by working at home, you can devise a personalized exercise plan that strikes a balance of activities suited to the health of you and your child.
Pregnancy Workout Routine
Whether you choose the exercise option of pregnancy exercises at home or opt instead to work out at a gym or fitness studio or as part of a class, it is important to both maintain and enhance your fitness levels during this pivotal time of your life.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that the typical pregnant woman should devote at least 30 minutes per day to the pursuit of a sensible, moderately paced exercise program. And it would be far easier to fit in that half hour interval (or longer, if you so choose) in the comfort and convenience of your own home–without having to allow extra time and expense for car fuel, gym memberships, class enrollment fees, etc.
Regardless of where the expectant mother’s exercise sessions will be done, the benefits of partum fitness are many and amazing. They include:
- Pain and discomfort relief. Physical benefits such as a marked reduction in backaches (as exercise strengthens the back), bloating and swelling.
- Strength building. A contrasting (and highly beneficial) increase in muscle tone, endurance and strength.
- Health enhancement. Medical benefits often include a reduced risk of gestational diabetes and the prevention of excess weight gain during pregnancy.
- Mental health enhancement. Psychological benefits that could include a marked elevation in mood and energy levels.
- Other probable benefits of pregnancy exercises at home could include improved circulation, along with the prevention of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and ankle swelling.
- Heart health. Perhaps the strongest potential benefit of pregnancy exercises at home lies in the strengthening of the cardiovascular system. It’s common knowledge that a steady and sensible exercise regimen at any phase of life is recommended for the promotion and continuance of sound heart health; and particularly during those pivotal nine months of pregnancy. A strong, fully functioning heart is needed to both sustain a healthy pregnancy and complete those everyday tasks that we must continue in order to lead full and productive lives.
- Blood pressure control. Studies prove that exercise during pregnancy can protect against and alleviate hypertension.
- Self-esteem enhancement. As with most other times in life, a regular exercise routine can–if faithfully followed–improve both one’s self-image and overall outlook on life. Regardless of the stresses and strains that come as part of the pregnancy experience, a round of vigorous but moderate physical exercise can serve to ease and release your tensions–cheering and energizing you even in the later months of pregnancy. And when doing pregnancy exercises at ‘home sweet home’, you are bound to exercise with an even more positive mindset.
- Body firming. During an interval and major life transition that tends to exact a multitude of physical changes that include weight gain, bloating, etc., an exercise routine can help to restrict your weight shifts and firm the body overall.
Ultimately, many moms do pregnancy exercises at home for the same reason that they exercise at any other time of life.
- To build strength.
- To build stamina.
- To build endurance.
- To build positive moods and overall self-esteem.
- To build total body health.
These factors become all the more important at a time of pregnancy; a sensitive and transformative time in a woman’s life.
Pregnancy Exercise for Normal Delivery
It is important that you prepare carefully for your regimen of pregnancy exercises at home. Before engaging in this or any other partum or postpartum exercise program, you first should take into account some important–indeed, in many cases, vital–considerations. Some of these may include:
- Consult your physician. As is the case with any exercise program, you always should consult your physician before beginning any program of pregnancy exercises at home. Surely you have heard all of those dire warnings that they post before and after TV exercise shows, and particularly in advance of a pregnancy exercises video. Well, sad to tell you, but all of those overly dramatic voice-over artists are correct, at least this time. Before beginning any exercise program, regardless of your age or physical condition, you first should garner the informed preapproval of your doctor and obstetrician. And think about it; you as an expectant mom would generally seek your OBGYN’s assistance in formulating a diet plan to nourish you and your baby. So why would you even hesitate to check your plan for pregnancy exercises at home with this very same medical professional? And along the same lines…
- Consider your medical history. As is the case with any exercise program, those with pre-existing health conditions, anything from cardiac conditions to respiratory problems, weight issues to high blood pressure, should figure any limitations posed by these conditions into your partum and postpartum fitness regimen. And once again (let’s say it all together now!), “Consult your doctor!!!”
- Line up a helpful collection of exercise aids. These could include a full range of fitness equipment of your own choosing, also ranging from a high quality and professionally produced pregnancy exercises video and/or fitness instruction book or website to basics that feature comfortable and appropriate maternity exercise wear, lots of towels and water on hand, and, if you so choose, a light and nutritious selection of workout snacks fitting for the health-conscious mom to be.
- Warm up and cool down at regular intervals. As is the case at all times of life and especially when expecting, one should precede and proceed pregnancy exercises at home with complete and highly invigorating stretches, light exercises, and–if you so prefer–selected yoga and meditation maneuvers.
- When you do it, don’t overdo it. Exercise in temperate rooms while engaging in pregnancy exercises at home. If outdoors, watch out for conditions of excessive heat or cold. Avoid overly strenuous or vigorous exercise moves at virtually any stage of pregnancy, opting instead for more moderate and evenly paced moves and maneuvers. You even may wish to adjust your pregnancy exercises at home program to accommodate the varying stages of your pregnancy; accommodating, in turn, the many changes that a woman’s body undergoes with the passing stages of one’s pregnancy.
And all of this naturally brings us to the question that faces any fitness-conscious expectant woman:
“What kind of exercise can I do while pregnant?”
Not every exercise and exercise routine is custom designed to suit the expectant female. And before you embark on any given regimen of pregnancy exercises at home, then you first must answer the question, what kind of exercise can I do while pregnant?
This query can be a challenge to answer, as a woman’s body and fitness needs change dramatically throughout the course of this pivotal nine-month period known as pregnancy. Your plan for exercise in pregnancy 2nd trimester might very well differ substantially from your chosen path of exercise during pregnancy first trimester. Still later during the pregnancy, you may wish to choose a regimen of exercise for 8 months pregnant, and eventually pregnancy exercise for normal delivery. After all, you want to do exercises that will prepare your body for a safe, easy (well, relatively) and empowered delivery process. These particular exercise maneuvers should strengthen your muscles and enhance your flexibility.
Here are a few links to our favorite pregnancy exercises that can be done at home during each trimester.
Exercise During Pregnancy First Trimester
If you have been an avid or regular exercise prior to becoming pregnant most likely you may continue exercising during your 1st trimester the same as before, with potentially a couple modifications. These exercises should be designed to provide strength and stability during a time when you may be feeling nausea and fatigue. In the first trimester, the best pregnancy exercises to do at home would be our core strengtheners:
Exercise During Pregnancy Second Trimester
The last 3 months have had me feeling extremely strong and competent when it comes to working out. So much so that I have been able to get into the gym five to six times a week. Check out a detailed list of my best pregnancy exercises at home for moms during their second trimester by clicking here
Exercise During Pregnancy Third Trimester
As you progress throughout your pregnancy, it is important to monitor and moderate the velocity and momentum of your exercise routine.
By now as you enter your 3rd trimester, you may be feeling more tired, exhausted, & just ready to have your baby (well… not the labor part but after, right?). You can learn my Push Prep Method to help prepare for pushing baby when the time comes. As you exit out of your 2nd trimester, you may be noticing that everything is just a little harder.