Regular exercise and resistance training is recommended and beneficial to almost everyone including pregnant women. Low to moderate strength training is safe during any pregnancy as long as the pregnancy is normal and healthy. Pregnant women who exercise on a regular basis are less likely to have back pain, they have more energy and are less likely to have varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
There are many different types of exercises that pregnant women can do. Exercises that focus on the back and on the legs will be the most beneficial during pregnancy. Strong backs and legs will help to counteract the additional weight that will be added in the front and will help with posture.
A lat pulldown is an exercise that focuses mainly on the back but will work the arms and shoulders as well. This exercise is best done on a machine. When sitting, position on the seat so the quads fit comfortably under the support bar. An overhand grip with the knuckles up is the best way to grasp the bar. Keeping the back straight, pull the bar down to chin level in a smooth and controlled motion while squeezing the shoulder blades together. Return the bar to the starting position in a slow and controlled motion and repeat.
This exercise will focus on the back muscles, the shoulders and between the shoulder blades. This is an excellent exercise for working on posture. A row can be done either with a weight bench and dumbbells or seated on a machine. When using a bench, place one knee and one arm on the bench. In the other hand, grasp the weight. Keeping the weight close to the body, raise it up to shoulder height in a single smooth motion. Then return to the starting position and repeat. This must also be done on the opposite side. When doing a seated row, the feet are placed on the foot rest and the handles are grasped. With the back straight, the handles are pulled into the chest and then brought back to the starting position.
A squat is an exercise that uses all the muscles in the legs and many in the abdomen and lower back. Keeping the legs strong will help with balance and moving around. Strong legs can also be beneficial with certain birthing positions. A squat can be done with weights or without. The body will act as its own resistance. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bend the knees and lower the body as if you were going to sit on a chair. Raise the body back up to the starting position. The farther down the squat goes, the better the result.
Exercise is beneficial to everyone including pregnant women. Being fit and strong will help during pregnancy and, if continued, will have benefits once the new baby has arrived. Before staring any new exercise routine, be sure to check with a doctor just to be on the safe side.