Quarantine Exercises During Pregnancy
July 20, 2020
Staying active and committing to a regular exercise routine can help expecting mothers alleviate discomfort, strengthen muscles, and improve mood.1 Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and stay-at-home orders remain in effect for much of the country, opportunities to exercise at our favorite workout venues are scarce. The good news is, despite quarantine restrictions, moms-to-be can stay active with a few simple, at-home workout routines.
Always consult your physician before starting an exercise routine.
Pump & Kegel
The “pump and Kegel” exercise is quick and safe for most expecting mothers.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Stand up straight with your hand over your abdomen.
2. Inhale slowly, engaging your diaphragm, then release your core muscles.
3. Next, use your abdominal muscles to hug the baby toward your body. (It helps to imagine zipping up a pair of pants that are a little too tight.) At the same time, do a Kegel exercise. A Kegel is when you give your pelvic floor muscles a gentle lift, contracting your pelvic muscles, holding them, and then releasing. (It helps to imagine you have to pee but are holding it in.)
4. Repeat the process up to 20 times.
Here’s a quick video from The Bump to illustrate: https://youtu.be/GM7WrxZMWmc
Yoga can be a great way for expecting moms to tune in to their changing bodies, improve flexibility and balance, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and more. For women who aren’t familiar with practicing yoga or need a little guidance, there are numerous free online videos and tutorials. YouTube is an excellent source of free information but always use common sense when following an online video. Is the person posting the video a qualified yoga instructor? Do they have real-life credentials? These are just a few things to keep in mind when following an online fitness or health “expert.”
If you want something a little more structured, there are multiple subscription-based online classes that instruct viewers on the practice of yoga, from beginners to masters. A few examples include omstars.com, glo.com, MyYogaWorks.com, and Gaia.com. Through these subscription-based websites, users can access information and online classes for a variety of different yoga styles and skill levels. The costs vary by website, but some offer a free trial period.
Total Body Workout
Don’t let the sound of “total body workout” intimidate you. These workouts might be a little more strenuous than doing yoga, but they can still be low-impact and done at your pace to ensure you don’t overdo it. Remember to rest as much as your body needs between circuits (one circuit is completing all exercises in the routine) and take frequent water breaks. Again, consult your doctor before beginning any prenatal workout routine.
Here’s an example circuit for a prenatal total body workout:
• Squat & Press – Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height for added resistance. Keeping your core engaged, lower yourself into a squat position with your rear end pushed back and your thighs as close to parallel to the ground as possible. Return to a standing position by pushing through your heels. If you added dumbbells, raise them over your head when you return to standing. Complete 15 reps.
• Quadruped Extension – Carefully get on your hands and knees, keeping your wrists aligned with your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Slowly extend your right leg to about hip-height behind you, then extend your left arm to shoulder height in front of you. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your arm and leg. Repeat using the opposite leg and arm to complete the rep. Do 15 reps.
• Side Plank & Leg Lift – Start in a modified side plank position, propping yourself up on your side with your left hand and your left knee on the ground and your left leg straight out behind you and touching the ground. Rest your right hand on your right hip. Engage your obliques as you lift and lower your right (top) leg for one rep. Do 12 reps, switch sides, and do 12 more.
• Complete the above circuit four days a week, two times a day, or at whatever frequency feels best for you.
Talk to Your Doctor
The exercises discussed in this post are likely safe for most expecting moms; however, you should always talk to your doctor before starting a prenatal exercise routine. Likewise, to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, you should incorporate good nutrition, emotional self-care, and regular medical checkups into your overall wellness plan. This will not only help you feel and look your best during pregnancy, but it also may provide benefits to your baby during gestation. Research indicates that women who exercise during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver closer to their due date and have a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, while the babies themselves may exhibit better development in body composition, cardiovascular health, and nervous system development.2 Furthermore, research suggests that women who adopt a healthy lifestyle may be more likely to have a positive influence on their child’s postnatal health and decrease their child’s risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.2
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is sponsored by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.