A lot of dads-to-be probably have no idea what they're in for during pregnancy. I certainly didn't. But I learned quickly that it's ALL about your partner; as it should be.
Trust me; there are many, MANY changes ahead once you have a newborn around the house. One of those changes, if you and your partner are workout buddies, might be figuring out how to exercise as a couple.
Pregnant women can still exercise. They just have to be careful not to do anything that's too strenuous, gets their heart rate up too high or increases their body temperature too much.
If you and your partner used to lift together or take Bikram yoga classes on a regular basis, for example, you should probably look into other types of exercise.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Before starting any exercise routine, especially for a pregnant woman, consult your physician.
There are a number of workouts you and your partner can do that won’t overtire her or put too much stress on already-sore joints.
Prenatal yoga can help a mom-to-be deal with the changes her body endures during pregnancy notes the American Pregnancy Association (APA). The poses are designed to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles while helping to develop breathing and relaxation techniques that could help a woman get through labor.
It can also include improved sleep along with decreased lower back pain, nausea and headaches while also reducing the chance of preterm labor.
Hot or Bikram yoga are not recommended for pregnant women due to the hot environment class is conducted in.
Hop in the pool with your partner and give swimming a shot. Swimming provides an overall body workout without putting stress on joints. It also helps raise the heart rate without the risk of overheating.
A swim is also a good way to cool down if her third trimester happens to be during the hot summer months.
Like swimming, bicycling is one exercise that doesn't cause unnecessary body stress, since the bike supports the woman's weight according to the APA. The risk of falling is also reduced when biking. And, it's a year-round exercise since, most gyms have stationary bikes.
Intense spin classes, however, are not recommended for pregnant women, since they can get pretty hot and raise your heart rate.
Don't underestimate how beneficial walking can be. It’s easy to work into your schedule and doesn't take a toll on your knees like running can. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, notes the APA, while setting realistic distance goals.
Workouts That Build Muscle
If you're looking for exercises geared more toward building muscle, the Mayo Clinic lists 10 exercises safe for pregnant women. Here are a few that can be done at your gym or in the comfort of your home.
Push -Ups are great for working your pecs and triceps. With your knees comfortably apart, place your hands against the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. While keeping your back straight, lower your chest until your chin reaches the wall. Gradually increase your repetitions.
These are a good way to strengthen your back and abs. Start from your hands and knees. Lift and straighten one leg behind you until it’s parallel with the floor. Lower that leg and repeat with the other leg. Gradually increase your repetitions.
Fitness Ball Wall Squats
Squatting during labor makes it easier for your baby to descend. While standing straight up, place the ball between your back and the wall shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Gradually increase your repetitions.
If you're doing these at home, use a small step stool or stand at the bottom of your staircase. Pushing through your lead foot, lift your body onto the step. Alternate between feet.
Away From the Gym
Modifying your gym workout to accommodate your pregnant partner is just one of many ways you can make her comfortable during pregnancy. Putting your hands to good use is another.
Watching TV together on the couch or in bed? Rub her feet. Don't wait for her to ask. Just rub. Before turning in for the night, massage her lower back and the sides of her glutes.
Want more information on what's safe and not safe for pregnant women? Check out Exercise During Pregnancy: The Absolute Dos and Don'ts.