Pregnancy - 4 Prenatal Exercises and Getting Your Body Ready
by Courtney Virden
Pre-conception care can have a dramatic impact on not only your pregnancy but also delivery and recovery. Prenatal exercises play a vital role in pre-conception care. I gained over 70 pounds with my first pregnancy and over 60 with my second. If I knew then what I do now (the best pregnancy exercises), my journey could have been a whole lot easier. During pregnancy a women's center of gravity changes, her pelvic organs shift, her heart rate is higher, and her pelvic floor muscles deal with increasing pressure throughout the pregnancy. Whether you are planning on becoming pregnant, are currently pregnant, want to do the postpartum care you never did, or just want to improve your health, these tips and tools can help. Pregnancy ball exercises and pregnancy pelvic floor exercises will quickly become your go-to for feeling good while pregnant.
Importance of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
It starts with what goes into our bodies. Following an anti-inflammatory diet with whole foods as much as possible is a smart move for everyone. Including plenty of them in your diet during pre-conception and pregnancy is important. Lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, wild-caught fish, and organic meats and proteins all help give your body the nutrients it needs. Our bodies need these nutrients to function well and help fight internal inflammation. Limit processed foods which, in excess, lead to chronic inflammation and long term health conditions. Weight loss is often a natural result of a detox diet too. For many following a Mediterranean diet, filled with anti inflammatory foods and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, works well to reduce inflammation.
In addition to a healthy diet, many of us can benefit from a detox. A detox is to rid our bodies of things such as heavy metals and toxic overload from our environment. Pre-conception detoxes can be helpful for years to come and are something you and your partner can do together. There are many great detoxes you can do, and I recommend consulting with an expert to determine which one might be appropriate for you. Lymphatic drainage massages can also help your body remove toxins.
One main source of toxins is endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol-A and phthalates. Found almost everywhere—including beauty products, plastics, and receipts— endocrine disruptors have even entered our food system. Limiting exposure to them is always a good idea, as some can affect fetal development. In addition, they have been shown to have a negative lifetime impact linked to cancer, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. I spent years researching products and shopping at so many stores for them. With increasing awareness finding cleaner non-toxic products has become much easier than in the past.
Physical Activity and Pelvic Floor Exercises
Now let’s talk about our bodies and how the way we move impacts the way we feel and look. Our foot and ankle joints often get more laxity, and our gait changes. So doing exercises and taking care of your feet is essential before and during pregnancy. As early as 12 weeks, the fetus’s weight begins placing more pressure on your pelvic floor. This can lead to pelvic floor issues, like urinary incontinence, during and after pregnancy. I do not recommend Kegels for most women, but instead strengthening your pelvic floor. Doing both concentric and concentric movements to help your pelvic floor during pregnancy is vital. Maintaining or beginning an exercise routine, even light workouts and 30 minutes of walking, during pregnancy makes a tremendous difference with energy. So even if you are tired aim for some quick birthing ball exercises.
Pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy give it strength to handle the extra weight. They also help you with extra strength and flexibility for delivery. Pelvic floor training can also help improve recovery after birth and can help women with issues to reduce and even eliminate dysfunction. A side benefit is better sex and orgasms. Also, our posture and hip alignment change throughout pregnancy, and postpartum breastfeeding and even holding your baby can lead to kyphosis (a type of spine curvature). Exercises to promote good posture and efficient movement are key before, during, and after. These help your body function and feel its best. Some enjoy prenatal yoga, strength training, and many are now discovering that pregnant women and non-pregnant women alike benefit from pelvic floor training.
Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Exercises
With so many uncertainties in life, having the tools and information to help yourself puts in a good situation. To prepare for pregnancy, with a pregnancy workout, and even postpartum helps you control the things you can. As a mom, I understand how important it is to make yourself a priority and take care of yourself. When you do that, it allows you to fully take care of someone else and be your best self. Activity during pregnancy makes a tremendous difference in how a women feels.
My online pelvic floor programs with stability ball exercises are what I recommend to all pregnant women. Getting a strong pelvic floor but with elasticity and responsiveness helps with delivery and recovery as well as throughout your pregnancy. These programs are for all women throughout theirs lives and support a healthy body and pelvic floor. In addition to the pelvic circles in the pelvic floor exercise video below, you can do pelvic tilts. Do this by tilting your pubic bone towards your spine and then releasing while sitting on a birthing ball. You can also do side to side ones by going from sits bone to sits bone imitating with the pelvic floor muscles.
The Moves - Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Ball Lunge
- Ball Roll Over
- Hip Circles, (sitting on the ball)
- Bent Elbow Pullovers
What size exercise ball for pregnancy? Usually a 65 cm to 75 cm is ideal.