Pregnancy exercises can help expectant moms stay in shape and ease the physical discomforts of pregnancy. Prenatal exercises can also make a woman feel better about herself and her body, which is often the focus of negative self-image during this time. According to the American physical therapy association, if a woman exercises during pregnancy, she can experience a wide range of benefits.
Generally, a proper exercise routine is helpful in maintaining good health during pregnancy. For pregnant women, regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Exercise helps in blood flow throughout your body, including your uterus. When this happens, you are less likely to develop high blood pressure or even preeclampsia during pregnancy. If you suffer from excessive fluid buildup in several areas of your body, exercise can help flush out the extra fluid. For your abdominal muscles, if you workout them regularly, they can be stronger and more toned after pregnancy.
Most often, exercise is one of the best remedies to reduce swelling during pregnancy. For a healthy pregnancy, it is important to exercise regularly, but if you are suffering from an excessive amount of sleepiness or fatigue for unknown reasons, then try to avoid exercising. But which exercises are best for pregnant women? This blog post provides an overview of the best exercises for pregnant women who want an easy and normal labor experience. These exercises are safe and recommended by health professionals. When performed regularly, they can help reduce the risk of complications during labor.
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Best exercises for normal delivery
Though for having a normal delivery doing pregnancy exercises are a necessity. For your pelvic floor muscles and vaginal muscles do exercise to be in the best possible condition, when you go into the third trimester. As well exercise strengthens your body and increases your blood circulation. Proper exercise is the only way to have a normal delivery, as well as it helps in having easy or natural labor. Below we have outlined some of the easy pregnancy exercises for normal delivery and they are:
1. Pelvic tilts or Angry cats posture
The pelvic tilt is one of the great exercises for normal delivery. It is especially good for strengthening your lower back, which helps in the prevention of labor pains later. Pelvic floor muscle strength is very important to have a smooth delivery. Angry cat or pelvic tilt is a pregnancy exercise for increasing the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. To do this exercise:
- Lie down on your back with your hands alongside the body and keep the knees bent.
- Keep your chin pressed towards your chest.
- Take a deep breath in and while breathing out, slowly tilt your pelvis up, so that only your shoulders and your feet are touching the bed.
- Hold for 5 seconds, while you tighten your stomach muscles.
- Slowly lower your pelvis back to the starting position so that you return to normal. Repeat at least 10 times per day.
Moreover, standing position, while tilting the pelvis upwards, also helps in strengthening your lower back. In pregnancy pelvic muscles tend to stretch a lot, so doing the pelvic tilting exercise helps in toning them up rather than stretching. A pregnant woman for natural childbirth must try to do the pelvic tilting exercise as much as possible. So that it can strengthen her pelvic muscles and help prevent labor pains later.
Walking is an exercise that tones up your pelvic floor muscles. Remember while doing this exercise not to increase the intensity, as it can cause you stress and fatigue, which in turn may slow down labor. It must be done daily for around 20 minutes in a row. A physical therapist that specializes in pregnancy and childbirth, will also recommend doing walking as it helps to reduce labor pain.
Expecting mothers who have gestational diabetes should walk for a little bit longer. As it helps to strengthen leg muscles and toning up the pelvic floor muscles. Walking is one of the most effective exercises for normal delivery. Moreover, walking exercise also helps in increasing blood circulation, which helps to increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Therefore, for overall health in the third trimester of pregnancy is best to walk daily.
3. Downward Dog
The pose is very helpful for pregnant women. This posture helps to create a good balance between stretching and strengthening as it provides a good stretch in the calf muscles as well as gives strength to your upper body. For abdominal muscles, this pregnancy exercise is the best option to have a normal delivery.
This yoga posture will provide you relief from lower back pain, fatigue, and also leg cramps that are caused during pregnancy due to poor blood circulation. The best thing about this yoga posture is that it helps to boost the energy level of pregnant mom-to-be as it releases endorphins which give you a feeling of relaxation after stretching your body in a downward dog. To do this exercise:
- Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you. Keep your hands under the shoulders.
- As you exhale, lift the knees away from the ground and begin to straighten the arms while lifting the hips up toward the sky in one motion.
- Relax your head between your upper arms while you sit on the floor.
- Move the front of your inner thighs up into your hips. Hold this pose for one or two minutes, breathing slowly and deeply to release any tension you have in the back and neck.
- To come out of the pose bend your knees and slowly lower yourself onto your stomach again.
- Place your feet on top of each other and lift up your heels as high as you can then lower them back down.
- Repeat three to four times if you are confident. If not, practice this pose once daily until you feel comfortable with the exercise.
Additionally, this exercise for a pelvic muscle will provide you relief from pelvic pain. In your late pregnancy, it becomes very difficult for you to get up from a laying down position. In order to avoid this difficulty, this yoga posture is the best option. Perform a dog downward pose at least once a day and check with your doctor before doing it if you are suffering from any condition.
4. Pelvic stretches or Kegel Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are the most effective of all exercises to prevent and treat urinary incontinence after delivery. Pelvic exercise or kegel exercise is an easy pregnancy workouts for normal delivery. A pelvic exercise or kegel exercise helps in strengthening your pelvic organs which are the organs that control the flow of urine. This exercise is done by clenching or tightening your pelvic floor muscles. To do this exercise:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat with support.
- Place one hand on your stomach and closed your eyes.
- Take a breathe deeply in through your nose, while breathing out slowly through your mouth.
- Tighten the muscles you use to stop urinating midstream by pressing the back of your heels into the bed and tightening the muscles in your pelvis.
- Hold this for 5 seconds, then relax your pelvic floor muscles.
- Perform this exercise 10 times, resting one minute between each set.
While doing kegel exercises it is important to keep the stomach relaxed, as otherwise, you will put pressure on your baby. To avoid delivery pain do pelvic or kegel exercises as much as possible so that they strengthen your muscles. These simple exercises for pregnancy are helpful for the woman who is looking forward to having a normal delivery. Moreover, in the third trimester of pregnancy, these exercises can be helpful in softening the pelvic bones and making labor easier.
5. Prenatal yoga
The practice of prenatal yoga mainly helps in strengthening your body and increases blood circulation. Besides it also strengthens the muscles of your pelvic floor, which are very important during labor. For your pelvic joints to be flexible, they must remain strong and supple. Prenatal yoga has been found to be very effective in helping women have a normal delivery naturally. There are many prenatal yoga poses that will help you have a normal delivery and they are:
5.1. Child’s Pose:
To less pain during natural childbirth, women must do the child’s pose. This exercise helps in relieving labour pain by stretching your lower back muscles and pelvic floor muscles. It also increases blood circulation to a pelvic area and legs. To do this exercise:
- Get on all fours with hands slightly more than shoulders width apart from each other or go on the knees.
- Now, the body should bend forward and take the head in between the arms.
- Remain like this for 30 seconds to 1 minute and make sure your hands and knees should be resting on the floor.
- Then slowly raise your upper body, head and chest up towards the ceiling, while pushing your hips downwards.
- Keep the spine straight and parallel to the floor. Remain like this for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Relax, by taking a breath deeply in and out.
- Do this exercise at least 2 times per day.
5.2. Butterfly Position:
It is another great exercise for common childbirth. In this position, the knees are brought close to your body and they touch each other. It helps in stretching your hips and pelvic floor muscles. This exercise is especially good for reducing the risk of a tear in the perineal tissues or anus during delivery. To do this exercise:
- Get in a kneel position with your knees slightly apart.
- Another option is to try the butterfly stretch by placing a pillow or thick book in between your legs for extra comfort.
- Then take both of your thighs together and squeeze it tightly, so that they touch each other closely. This will help in stretching the hips muscles and the pelvic muscles.
- For moms-to-be perineal massage by this poses should help in reducing the risk of an episiotomy and tears during delivery. You can also do self-perineal massage by using a soapy finger to stretch the perineal muscles.
- Remain in that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute or you can gradually increase it up to 5 minutes when your body gets used to it.
- Do this exercise at least 3 times per day.
5.3. Garland pose:
The garland pose helps in increasing blood circulation to your pelvic floor muscles and legs. Besides it also strengthens your back, legs and stomach muscles. For this exercise you need a chair or you can simply sit on the bed with your knees apart. To do this exercise:
- Sit with your feet apart, either on the floor or on a chair.
- Then clasp your hands beneath your head and lean backwards slightly. It is good to keep breathing normally while performing this exercise.
- Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute and gradually increase up to 5 minutes as your body gets used to it.
- Repeat this exercise according to your body needs.
5.4. Squatting position:
This physical activity for baby’s growth in the womb is one of the easiest and effective exercise. It helps in opening up your pelvis and also in stretching your back and legs. To do this physical activity:
- Stand with your feet width apart, not less than the width of your shoulders.
- Then while holding on to the wall or a chair for support, try lowering yourself gently while you bend your knees and go down in a deep squat position.
- Remain in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute while breathing normally.
- You can gradually increase the time according to your body needs.
However, if your are in your first trimester then Low Lunge, Cat/Cow poses, open twist pose and Dolphin Push-ups are best to have easy delivery. Apart from this, if you have complications and in preterm delivery , then aquatic exercises are the best option for you. As well as in pregnancy pubic bone pain, pregnant women should remain away from exercises involving extreme jumping and jogging. Above these pregnancy yoga exercises not only strengthen the muscles of your body but also soothes your nerves and mind.
6. Perineal Bulges
The perineal bulges can be very helpful in having a normal delivery and during labor. It helps in the complete opening of the birth canal of a pregnant woman, preventing any kind of tearing or cuts on her vaginal area. To do this exercise:
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and put a pillow below your head.
- Keep your chin pressed towards the chest and take some deep breaths.
- While you breathe out, gently thrust your pelvis upwards as if you are trying to squeeze something between your vaginal area.
- Gently push outwards and hold for a few seconds and then relax. You can also use resistive aids like water bottles or soft balls for doing this exercise.
- Repeat as many times as you can.
So, this activity helps in keeping the perineal muscles toned up, which are very important for natural childbirth. For pregnant moms who are planning for natural childbirth, should do this exercise regularly. But if you have any complications with vaginal delivery or if you have a cesarean section, then you must avoid this exercise.
7. Lean Forward
Lean forward stretches the muscles of your lower back and spine. As well as it makes you feel refreshed. Moreover, leaning forward also strengthens and tones your pelvic floor muscles. This makes it easier for you to do labor and help in childbirth. To do this exercise:
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold on to a chair and lean forward from the hips.
- Bend forward by shifting your weight to one leg and relaxing the other leg at knee level.
- Hold for 10 seconds and release back slowly. Repeat this step three times.
- You can do this exercise daily, but do not overstretch yourself or you might end up injuring your muscles.
Moreover, this pregnancy exercise for childbirth is easy to do and every pregnant woman should try it. For your unborn child health this exercise is good because it strengthens your back and muscles, which helps in having a normal delivery. Additionally, it is important to do pregnancy exercises for having easy delivery. As your muscles tend to stretch due to the weight of your growing uterus. The lean forward exercise helps to increases blood circulation, which increases your chances of easy labor.
Therefore, these above are the best exercises you can do during your pregnancy to ensure an easier and more comfortable labor experience. Be sure to mix up your routine regularly and consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. If you haven’t been exercising regularly throughout your pregnancy, it’s not too late to start. Doing exercises for pregnant women can ease back pains, strengthen your body muscles and improve your posture. However, it doesn’t mean that you should overdo the exertion during pregnancy so as to prevent any physical damage or miscarriage. If you are not confident enough with some of the poses mentioned in this post so consult your doctor first. If you have any queries or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.