Motherhood is probably one of the most exhilarating journeys a woman can or would want to go through. It is changing, challenging, and is definitely a roller coaster ride of ups and downs..
Emotions scattered all around, cravings here and there, preparations for the most awaited day — could all be very stressful for the people around you, your baby, and most especially, yourself.
In the midst of all of this, it is of utmost importance that you take a break because your body is undergoing a huge change and it is very much understandable that you rest for the most of your time.
Yet, it is also important that you make sure to keep yourself moving, or at least, exercise for a few days in a week and a few minutes in a day. Or, if you are possibly one of those mothers or future mothers that are physically active prior to their pregnancy and is looking for a way to stay fit in a safe and effective way.
So, in this blog, we will be talking about making pregnancy and childbirth easier with exercise: the common misconceptions about exercising while pregnant – benefits of exercising for pregnant women – whether pregnant women can do aerial yoga, along with any precautions because we have to keep in mind that you are in a delicate state that requires less strenuous approaches as well.
Common Misconceptions about Exercising when Pregnant
There are a lot of misconceptions that are in the air when it comes to exercising especially when you are undergoing the very delicate process of pregnancy. Today, we will be debunking as much as we can of those:
Exercising is NOT safe
Big NO! Exercising is actually advisable for pregnant women as long as you feel alright about it, you do not have another condition that is crucial to your pregnancy, and most especially your doctor has approved of your chosen practice. It is more than okay to continue or start exercising when you are pregnant!
Exercising would hurt or put strain on the baby
This is not easily true nor false — it would depend on the type of exercise that you are going to choose and do.
Because you are pregnant, we recommend choosing an exercise that is gentle and addresses what needs to be addressed at the moment and no more other extras unlike when we do prior to pregnancy. Similarly, choosing a strenuous exercise that involves a lot of movement and repetitions would put strain on the baby.
One of the best ways to determine if an exercise is putting too much strain on you and your baby is when you are exercising and someone is talking to you and you are having trouble breathing and speaking, then it is a sign for you to slow down.
Exercising could lead to miscarriage
This is a very sensitive topic and we would try our best tread lightly. First, you have to keep in mind that each body is different and that this misconception does not apply to all. Some women have certain specific conditions that leads to this unfortunate event that is why exercising is not entirely advisable for them.
Most always there are certain gentle alternatives to still incorporate fitness in their routines.
Yet, as we have been saying, if you and your doctor have deemed yourself eligible and strong enough to exercise then do not hesitate to do so! Just remember to do it in moderation and keep in mind that your goal is to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy most especially for your baby.
Exercising will make your birthing harder
This is absolutely not true! If anything, exercising actually makes childbirth easier and a lot of mothers can attest to that. The logic is simple: exercising strengthens your muscles, joints, and actually readies your body to birth a whole new human being into the world.
As a result, your body will still undergo some strain but it would be less considering that you have been doing your best to stay fit throughout the time you were carrying your precious baby.
What are the benefits and how is pregnancy & childbirth easier with exercise?
Usually, if you have a normal pregnancy, your doctor would tell you that it is alright for you to continue whatever exercise you have been practicing before you got pregnant or if you want to try something new.
Again, this is why we are telling you to get a go signal first from your doctor. Discuss with your obstetrician-gynecologist or OB-GYNE before proceeding.
Do not be afraid to talk and ask them on your prenatal visits instead of relying solely on what other people say.
The practices that we are going to talk about today will come with continuous reminders of caution because we sincerely want what is best and safe for you.
Don’t get us wrong, we are not trying to scare you! We most definitely intend to be your friend and tell you a lot of things that you can do even when you are pregnant. We know there are A LOT of things that you are not allowed to do, but on the other hand, there are also A LOT of other things that you can do, still, in consideration of your current state.
Yet, one thing we can guarantee you is that exercising is advisable for pregnant women and is not dangerous for your baby as long as you feel comfortable. Little walks count too!
Now, let us talk about the benefits of exercising for pregnant women:
Reduces back pain
Back pain is inevitable in pregnancy, that is one thing we think we can all agree on. The extra weight that grows in your belly takes a toll in your back (and on your emotions too!).
Wouldn’t it be nice to get some of that weight off for a little time or at least have the chance to stretch your back out?
Exercising can do that! Exercising re-practices your body and helps it keep up to the big changes that are occurring.
When pregnant, it is expected that you will be moving less and less that it would also affect your digestion, especially with your body’s internal adjustments, that is why exercising would help ease constipation.
Since you are not allowed to take constipation medications, it is advisable for you to turn to more natural ways of aiding this, and one way that is really effective is exercising.
Maintain and get a healthy weight gain
Now that you are pregnant, you are eating and living for two: yourself and your baby. In relation to this, having a healthy diet is crucial in having and maintaining what we call a “healthy weight gain.” A healthy weight gain is when you add good pounds to your body for the sake of your baby.
To get this, it is important to eat on schedule and choose healthy options as much as possible. Do not worry because it is still okay to indulge yourself from time to time, just like what we do before pregnancy. Usually its natural to lose this extra weight a few months after pregnancy, with of course proper habits and aftercare.
Easier weight recovery after childbirth
As we said in the last entry, exercising while you are still pregnant will also help you lose the “baby weight” easier especially after giving birth. One, because that was from the healthy weight gain, and two, you would continue exercising even after you have given birth – but of course not right after!
Ease and adjust yourself back into your normal routine along with the new addition: your baby. Aside from these, exercising while pregnant could also help in avoiding getting Gestational Diabetes (a diabetes that occurs in pregnancy), Preeclampsia (a condition causing high blood pressure), and to ease Postpartum Depression.
Now, one of the exercises that you could choose to do while you are pregnant is Aerial Yoga.
A Sneak-Peek on Aerial Yoga + Tips!
Aerial Yoga is a very popular variation of the traditional floor yoga that we all know. This practice involves the use of a yoga swing or aerial hammock that is installed to a strong overhead support to help you suspend in the air while you are executing asanas that are not possible or harder to do while on the ground.
Yet, before anything else, we would like to make clear that inversions and intensive aerial yoga is NOT recommended for pregnant women. Inversions and complex poses might cause strain and excessive stretching to your body that may lead to complications over time.
Partial inversions on the floor are okay, but only with the supervision of a professional instructor. It is vital to know that the aerial yoga that we are advising you to try are the most basic and low intensity poses.
Consult with your doctor first before trying anything such as aerial yoga.
First, aerial yoga has its modifications. Since you are pregnant, it is more than okay to do poses that are modified to be done closely on the ground. These are for those who are not yet ready to go with the usual ones or in our case, for pregnant women who want to try.
Second, make sure to have a crash mat. Although you would be doing slow and low intensity aerial yoga poses, still, safety first. It is vital to have a crash mat every time one practices aerial yoga, even for the non-pregnant people. A crash mat does not have to be expensive too! You can simply use a thick yoga mat or foam mat since these would provide additional protection in case of unwanted circumstances.
Third, practice your balance. We know how hard it is to have thought about all the stresses that you are going through while you are in the process of pregnancy. With that, before formally embarking on your aerial yoga journey, spend some time sitting on your yoga swing first, find your balance, and ultimately, some peace.
Which aerial yoga poses can I do?
And now these really beg the question, “Which aerial yoga poses can I do?”
With all these precautions and considerations to ponder on, some of you might feel already discouraged about doing aerial yoga particular to their condition but as we promised, there are things that you can do in aerial yoga even if and especially when you are pregnant!
Another detail to remember is that there is such a thing as overstretching.
If you feel like the stretch is too uncomfortable or wrong, then trust your gut and slowly get out of the said stretch or pose and consult with your instructor. We also do not recommend doing aerial yoga on your own when you are pregnant.
The First Trimester
Contrary to popular belief, the first trimester is actually one of the most riskiest periods of pregnancy simply because this is the time when the fetus is still establishing its connection to your womb, hence to you and your body. This is also the time when your indications of pregnancy are at its highest such as nausea, body aches, and overall sensitivity.
Considering all this, the first trimester might not be the perfect time to start aerial yoga. Yet, if the swinging and basic poses do not really bother you or they’re quite manageable, then you can proceed.
There are only a very few poses that you could do at this time:
- Simply sit on your yoga swing. Sit on your sling at a height that is comfortable to you and just rest there. Let your legs dangle and lend the sling your body weight. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to practice and find your balance.
- Aerial Corpse Pose. Spread out the fabric of your sling and lay back down while your arms are stretched out above your head and your legs straightened out as well. This pose is great for relaxing the back.
Although, the first trimester is also the time when your body produce the hormone relaxing which increases the tissues in our body more flexible, all readying for pregnancy and childbirth.
The Second Trimester
This is the time when the pregnancy starts to feel and be visibly real. At this point, it is not advised for you to lie on your back because extensive lying down might cause the baby to cut off its own blood or oxygen supply.
So, the best poses that you can do at this time are sitting poses. There are not any specific ones, really.
But we recommend consulting and coordinating with your trainer and doctor first before continuing.
The Third Trimester
And the baby bump is has fully emerged! At this point, you are probably more than ready to have your baby in your arms already. This time is when you should get more motivated to be healthier and more fit: all ready for the big day!
In the first weeks of this trimester, you can do poses that stretches your arms and legs as well as your back. You also have to keep in mind, this is very important, to protect your tummy at all costs! In the remaining weeks, it is okay if you want to lessen the frequency of your aerial yoga sessions so as to gather energy.
A Healthy Mom Leads to a Healthy Baby!
Here at Gravotonics, we are all for your betterment and safety, and we hope that this has eased your mind about making pregnancy and childbirth easier with exercise, and encouraged you to try aerial yoga as it is a very relaxing, freeing, and an overall soothing activity for you, future Mom!
Wish you all the best!