My pregnant patients always ask me: “Can I exercise while I am pregnant?” The answer is, yes, yes, yes! But before you start, it’s imperative that you clear it with your doctor. There are certain medical conditions related to pregnancy which may not allow you to exercise, such as placenta previa, an incompetent cervix, history of preterm labor, severe hypertension, or a multiple pregnancy like triplets. If you don’t have any risk factors, than exercise is for you.
In my opinion, the best pregnancy exercise is prenatal yoga. The reason is because yoga helps you with three basic things that can influence pregnancy: flexibility, mental stability and focused breathing.
Prenatal yoga has countless proven benefits. It helps you with sleep, which most of my patients complain about. It increases muscle strength, relieves nerve compression that causes back pain and it improves overall cardiovascular performance which helps the baby grow more effectively. In addition to physical benefits, prenatal yoga helps with stress and anxiety. The key is finding an instructor that is well versed in these types of exercises.
As you probably know, there are many different kinds of yoga poses, but there are a few that have been found to be especially beneficial for pregnant women:
This pose helps with strength, which is ideal to help you during the labor process.
This pose helps you with balance and back muscle tension.
This pose helps with stress and anxiety, allowing you to clear your mind and focus on your pregnancy.
Standing Flow Pose
This pose helps with cardiovascular endurance in a safe and low impact way.
If you have the right prenatal yoga instructor, he or she may alter positions through the different trimesters of your pregnancy as your belly gets bigger. Prenatal yoga is a great exercise, and if you do it regularly it will bring a lot of balance into your pregnancy. It will definitely help you get ready for labor, as well as helping your body bounce back after the baby is born. Remember, take your time, make sure you give yourself a cool down period and keep yourself hydrated.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.