You may think a fit, toned body is a lost cause during pregnancy, but that doesn't have to be the case. Exercise can help you have a healthier pregnancy, make delivery easier on you and prevent too much weight gain, according to the Nemours Foundation. Although your belly may be growing, you can still keep your arms, legs and other parts of your body sleek and toned.
Never begin any exercise program during pregnancy without first discussing it with your doctor.
Make Safety a Priority
While getting fit during pregnancy is a solid goal, it's important not to overdo. This is especially true if you haven't been particularly active before. If your OB-GYB clears you for toning while pregnant, exercising for 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week is ideal, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
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That half-hour or so is long enough to give you cardio and fat-burning benefits, but not so long that you overexert yourself. In general, if you participated in a sport or activity prior to getting pregnant, you can continue with it. Avoid risky workouts that involve intense bouncing or jumping, sudden twists and turns, the risk of falling and, of course, contact sports.
Read more: 12 Safe Exercises to Stay Fit During Pregnancy
Walking for Toning While Pregnant
Walking is a great exercise for anyone, but especially pregnant people. Regularly walking while pregnant gives you a gentle, low-impact and easily modified way to stay active. If you and your doctor agree you're ready for a challenge, just increase how long you walk and maybe even try different levels of incline.
Start Prenatal Strength Training
Working on strength training while pregnant not only helps your pelvic and abdominal muscles bounce back after giving birth, but also gives you strength to tote around your new bundle of joy.
Invest in a pair of light dumbbells for your pregnancy arm workout and get ready for lugging baby around with some biceps curls: Hold a weight in each hand, and stand your feet lined up with your shoulders. Keeping your elbows tucked into your torso and standing with good posture, raise your hands up until the weights reach your shoulders.
Yoga Toning While Pregnant
Practice prenatal yoga, which is a great, gentle way to stay active during your pregnancy. Sign up for a prenatal yoga class at your local gym or yoga studio or tone up at home with a prenatal yoga DVD. You'll not only get specific benefits from individual postures, but you'll also retain the breathing techniques that yoga teaches.
Swimming for Overall Toning
Swim your way to a toned pregnant body. No matter how heavy or bulky you feel walking around during your pregnancy, you'll always feel lighter in the water. Swimming is a great whole-body workout that's also easy on your joints, a real boon due to the weight gain that's part of a healthy pregnancy. Swim laps in your local pool or take a water aerobics class.
Read more: Best Exercises by Trimester
Don't get carried away in your quest for getting fit during pregnancy; always listen to your body. You may not be able to do quite as much as you could before your belly began to expand.
- Nemours Foundation: KidsHealth: Exercising During Pregnancy
- What to Expect: Strength Training and Toning Exercises During Pregnancy
- Baby Center: Great Pregnancy Exercise: Prenatal Yoga
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercising While Pregnant: Safety, Benefits & Guidelines
- Pregnancy.org: Exercises to Tone Up for Labor
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.