Pregnant women hear all the time that we should rest, relax, and put our feet up. While rest is definitely important – growing a whole person in your belly is hard work! – getting exercise is also critical to get your body ready for birth and motherhood, and it’s great for your baby, too!
You should always talk to your doctor before starting any prenatal exercise, especially if you weren’t exercising much before your pregnancy.
Two of the most beneficial exercises you can do when you’re pregnant are walking and yoga. Even if all that you can manage is a walk around the block or a 15 minute session of easy yoga poses, you’re conditioning your body, getting your blood pumping, and even helping your baby get properly positioned for birth.
The other bonus I’ve noticed to walking and yoga? It seems to help with edema! It sounds counter-intuitive, but a 1/2-1 mile walk or short set of yoga poses often relive some of the swelling in my feet after a long day.
Related Reading: 10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles
The reason that exercise helps with swelling is that it gets your blood pumping, which helps move those fluids out of the feet, ankles, and legs.
Some yoga poses are particularly beneficial to you and your baby. Certain poses can help your baby turn, and others tone your body for labor and for being a mom. You need strong legs and arms to birth a baby, and carrying a child around is a lot easier with a strong body, too!
Now that I’m in the last weeks of my third trimester, my workouts have definitely slowed down. It’s tough to walk as far and as fast with a bowling ball in your belly, and some yoga poses are impossible or even unhealthy during pregnancy. You need to avoid poses where you are lying on your belly, and in the second half of pregnancy too much spinal twisting can be uncomfortable.
As your baby grows and your uterus takes up more and more space in your abdomen, you might also notice that you get out of breath more easily. That’s because your baby is actually crowding your lungs. This can definitely impact your endurance during both walking and yoga!
Whether you’ve reached the exhausted phase of pregnancy or are full of energy, incorporating some of these prenatal yoga poses can make a big difference for your pregnancy and your birth!
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