Advertising
Advertising

The Best Exercises For Pregnant Women

The Best Exercises For Pregnant Women

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby during pregnancy is exercise. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week.

Exercise improves energy, decreases joint pain, and helps you sleep better. It improves circulation, which can help prevent headaches, constipation, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids (which we all want to avoid during pregnancy!). It also helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, increase your flexibility, and improve your overall endurance, which will help you during the labor and delivery process.

By maintaining a regular fitness program during pregnancy, you are less likely to gain excess weight, which will help both the health of you and your baby and make it easier to lose the weight after giving birth.

Advertising

While there is no question exercise is beneficial during pregnancy, many people aren’t aware what the best exercises for pregnant women are!

The following activities can be appropriate and beneficial for women in all stages of pregnancy. To make sure you are safe when exercising while pregnant, make sure you do not become overheated and that you stay within a recommended heart-rate level. Both of these could take blood flow away from your developing baby. Keep yourself hydrated and avoid any activities with a chance of falling on your belly.

Please consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise routine, and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

Advertising

Here a five of the best exercises for pregnant women.

1. Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises for overall health and fitness, even when you aren’t pregnant. It becomes even more beneficial when you are pregnant and other activities start to become uncomfortable. It improves circulation, joint mobility, and strength in a very safe and gentle way. If you would like to make your walks a little more challenging, you can try adding some light hills or stairs. Walking can also be very calming and can help decrease any nervousness or anxiety you are feeling about your pregnancy or upcoming birth.

2. Strength training

Strength training with weights is a wonderful way to exercise when you are pregnant! It helps to burn calories and fat, keeping you at a healthy weight, but it also strengthens muscles that you are doing to need once labor and delivery come. You will want those leg muscles strong during those contractions and the pushing phase! Strong arms and upper back muscles will help during long feedings and rockings after your beautiful baby arrives. If you aren’t comfortable with weights at home or the gym, find a trainer or prenatal class that will help you learn a few exercises you can easily do during your pregnancy.

Advertising

3. Swimming

Swimming can be especially wonderful towards the end of your pregnancy, when the weight of the baby is causing pain and pressure in your back and pelvic area. The buoyancy of the water helps to relieve some of the pressure on your joints. Swimming itself is a wonderful cardiovascular exercises that also strengthens muscles in your arms, legs, and core.

4. Low-impact cardio

For some people, walking and swimming are either not comfortable or not practical (especially in those cold winter months). There are many cardiovascular options for exercise. Make sure you are choosing low-impact options during your pregnancy. Activities such as indoor cycling classes, hiking, or the elliptical machine can be a fun change of pace while giving the same overall health benefits.

5. Yoga or Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are both wonderful options during pregnancy. They combine the benefits of strength training and stretching, while also giving you a chance to really connect with your body before labor and delivery come. If you’ve never done yoga or Pilates before, you may want to find a specialized introductory or prenatal class to serve your specific needs. Both types of classes should have knowledgeable instructors who can help you modify poses and positions as your pregnancy progresses. Please keep in mind that it is recommended you avoid hot yoga classes during pregnancy.

Advertising

Conclusion

To help get you started, here is an exercise routine video I’ve put together that gives some strengthening and stretching that is appropriate for most stages of pregnancy. I oftentimes give these exercises to my physical therapy and Pilates clients during pregnancy to help improve strength and overall fitness.

Don’t be afraid to exercise while you are pregnant! It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Listen to your body, stay in communication with your doctor, and have some fun with it!

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

More by this author

This Is Why You Should Do Bridges Every Day 9 High Protein Breakfast Ideas That Can Keep You Fuller exercise for pregnant women The Best Exercises For Pregnant Women recipes for kids 3 Vegetable Recipes for Kids Who Don’t Like Veggies new moms 12 Things Only New Moms Would Understand

Trending in Parenting

1 14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All 2 How to Be a Good Parent and Raise Successful Kids 3 15 Tips for an Overwhelmed Working Mom to Feel Better 4 These 17 Life Skills Will Teach Your Kids Responsibility 5 How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

Advertising

3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

Advertising

If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

Advertising

Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

Advertising

Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

More Resources About Parenting

Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next