Aerobics during pregnancy is a great activity to keep up with wellness. It can help you stay fit and healthy, relieve stress, and keep your mind off your growing belly. But there are some things you need to consider before you jump into an aerobics class.
What is Aerobics
Aerobics is a form of exercise that uses rhythmic movements to improve cardiovascular fitness. It can be done in a class or at home and is usually done to music. The intensity of the workout can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the speed or resistance of your movements.
Aerobic exercise can help you lose weight, reduce stress, and improve overall health and well-being.
Importance of Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise is important during pregnancy. It helps relieve stress, which is especially important during the first trimester. It also helps relieve back pain and can prevent gestational diabetes by checking blood sugar levels.
Moreover, exercise can help you sleep better at night, especially when you have to get up so often to go to the bathroom! Exercise can also help prevent constipation, which can be common during pregnancy. Some doctors recommend that daily exercise is a must for pregnant women who are at risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure.
Exercise may also help reduce the risk of certain birth defects and premature births. The key is to find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly, whether walking, swimming, or yoga.
Image Source: iStock
Benefits of Aerobics During Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and have thought about trying aerobics, we’re here to tell you that now is the time!
There are so many benefits to doing aerobics while pregnant. And not just because it’s good for your overall health. Here are just a few of the perks:
Improved Cardiovascular Health
One of the first things people often notice when doing aerobics during pregnancy is that they feel better. This is because exercise helps improve cardiovascular health. This can lead to better blood pressure, heart function, and other important aspects of physical fitness.
Relief from Pregnancy Symptoms
Another major benefit of performing aerobic exercises during pregnancy is that they can help alleviate some of the more common symptoms associated with pregnancy.
For example, working out might help alleviate those issues by releasing endorphins into your bloodstream if you suffer back pain or sore joints and muscles. Endorphins are hormones released by your brain in response to stress).
And if you’re experiencing nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, working out can also help lessen those symptoms (but always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program).
Finally, aerobic exercise during pregnancy is beneficial not only for your heart and body but also for your mental health. Research confirms that aerobic exercise can help you feel less stressed and more focused, leading to better sleep and a reduced risk of depression.
Aerobic exercises also boost energy levels and improve brain function by stimulating the production of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones.
This means that if you’ve been feeling tired or cranky during pregnancy, getting in a few minutes of aerobic exercise can be an effective way to improve both your mood and your energy level. And as a bonus, many women report that exercising regularly throughout their pregnancies helps them feel more confident about their bodies.
Image source: iStock
Risks Associated with Aerobics During Pregnancy
Aerobics during pregnancy is a great way to stay fit and healthy. However, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with this form of exercise to expectant mums.
Possible Risk of Preterm Labour
One of the most common risks of aerobics during pregnancy is preterm labour. When you engage in aerobic exercise, your body releases hormones that cause your cervix to relax and dilate. This can lead to premature birth if you engage in too much or too intense exercise during pregnancy.
Dehydration is one of the most common risks associated with aerobic exercise during pregnancy. Moreover, dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in, leading to headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Dehydration can be exacerbated by excessive sweating or increased urination.
Dehydration can be caused by some factors including:
- Excessive sweating
- Increased urination
- Inadequate fluid intake before, during and after exercise
- Drinking too much water at one time
- Excessive heat exposure (hot environment)
During aerobic exercise, you’re likely to sweat more than normal and your body temperature may rise. This can be dangerous for both mother and baby, so you should always monitor your body temperature and ensure it doesn’t climb too high.
Precautions to Take When Doing Aerobics During Pregnancy
Aerobics during pregnancy is a great way to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy. However, there are some precautions to take when doing aerobics during pregnancy.
Aerobic activities are a great way to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy. However, it is important to consult your doctor before beginning any physical activity. Your doctor may recommend modifying certain exercises or avoiding certain activities altogether.
Be sure to ask if the exercise program you have chosen is safe for pregnant women and your particular pregnancy stage.
Wear Comfortable and Breathable Clothing
Wearing comfortable clothing is a must when doing aerobics during pregnancy. You should wear clothes that allow you to move freely without feeling restricted. Also, it is important to choose breathable fabrics like cotton or polyester. This way, you will stay cool and dry throughout your workout session.
When pregnant, you must be extra careful about the water you drink. You should always ensure that you are well hydrated, especially during exercise. The reason for this is simple: if your body does not get enough water, it can lead to dehydration and other complications.
Hydration is one of the most important factors in exercise during pregnancy. Your body needs more fluids than normal because it works harder than usual due to the extra weight it carries.
As a result, it’s easy for pregnant women to become dehydrated if they don’t pay attention. If this happens often enough, it can cause serious problems like anaemia or preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure).
If you’re feeling a little wobbly, take a break!
When it comes to exercise and pregnancy, the adage “listen to your body” is certainly true. If you’re feeling a bit off or lightheaded, it’s probably best to stop what you’re doing and rest for a few minutes.
If the exercise is too intense or if you’re not used to working out regularly, take it easy at first. You might want to start with gentle stretching or walking on an incline treadmill before moving on to more intense activities like aerobics or running.
And if you’re feeling pain or discomfort during exercise, don’t ignore it! Pain could mean something serious like a miscarriage or placenta previa—which requires immediate medical attention—so it’s best not to put yourself at risk by continuing with your workout routine.
Best Types of Aerobics for Pregnant Women
When you’re pregnant, working out can be a challenge. Your body is changing and adapting to your baby’s needs, and you need to ensure that you’re exercising in a way that ensures your safety and well-being.
Low-impact aerobics is a great option for pregnant women who want to stay fit without experiencing high-impact jolts that can cause injury or discomfort. Also, low-impact aerobics can be performed in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment and cost. Here are some examples of low-impact aerobics that are safe and beneficial for pregnant women:
- Walking: Walking is a gentle exercise that is easy on the joints and can help improve cardiovascular health.
- Cycling: Stationary cycling is a low-impact option that provides a cardiovascular workout while strengthening the legs and core.
- Dancing: Dancing is a fun and enjoyable way to get a low-impact workout while improving coordination and balance.
- Elliptical: An elliptical machine provides a low-impact workout that can help to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen the legs and core.
Aqua aerobics is a low-impact exercise that can be especially beneficial for pregnant women as it provides many health benefits without putting stress on the joints. Here are some examples of aqua aerobics for pregnant women:
- Aqua Jogging: This involves jogging or running in the water, which provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout while also strengthening the legs and core.
- *Aqua Aerobic Dance: This involves dancing in the water, a fun and enjoyable way to get a low-impact workout while also improving coordination and balance.
- Water Walking: This involves walking back and forth in a pool, which can help to improve cardiovascular health and relieve joint stress.
- Aqua Yoga: Aqua yoga involves doing yoga poses in the water, which can help to improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation.
- *Aqua Strength Training: This involves using resistance equipment such as water weights or pool noodles to perform strength training exercises in the water.
Some of the benefits of aqua aerobics include:
- The water supports your weight, which reduces stress on your joints and ligaments and also helps with alignment by keeping you upright
- You’re able to move freely in all directions because the water provides resistance for every movement you make
- Your heart rate increases in an aerobic manner which means that it is still within a safe range but will increase blood circulation, boost energy levels and improve mental health
- You can exercise longer than if you were on land because your body doesn’t get tired as quickly due to the buoyancy provided by water
Image Source: iStock
This Singapore Mum Did Aerobics During Pregnancy, and Here’s Why We Are Impressed!
Mummy Vanessa Tang was not always into sports and fitness. In fact, she led a very unhealthy lifestyle, until health issues started cropping up.
She had frequent gastric attacks that would last for days and was even admitted to the hospital because of them. That became a wake-up call for her to change her lifestyle. And once she got on to the healthy road, there was just no stopping this mummy of 2. She continued to exercise throughout her pregnancy.
“When I was pregnant with my first child, I only trained on my own and was more into weight training. I seldom did any cardio except on the stationary bike or short walks on the treadmill.”
That went well, but Vanessa was convinced she could do more. In 2016, she decided to take her passion for exercise one step forward. She got certified in Group Exercise/ Aerobics Instructing with FISAF (Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness). She was pregnant with her second child at the time.
“I knew I wanted to teach Prenatal Aerobics at that time to help other expecting mummies keep fit and enjoy working out together. Knowing that nobody else provided cardio classes to expecting mummies, I wanted to make the first move to introduce it in Singapore.
And since I was also expecting my 2nd child, I thought it would be nice for other expecting Mummies to come to class and work out with someone in the same boat as them,” she shared.
She felt a sense of fulfilment when mummies told her that they felt better, slept better after her classes and wanted to come back for more. That brought her immense joy and kept her motivated.
When it was time to deliver her baby, the exercises were a tremendous help. She barely had to push and the baby was out.
” My hubby was so amazed he kept telling me I had to share my testimonial, it was a funny moment in the labour ward because honestly speaking I myself was really amazed too,”
“My gynaecologist supports my idea and thinks it’s great for me to work out. She would compliment me on how I looked during pregnancy and after birth, and always credited it to my classes/exercises,” she added.
According to Vanessa, a lot of pregnant mums in Singapore are very keen on aerobics classes.
“Response has been growing. It is a niche market, but a lot of expecting mummies are keen on such classes, at least to come for trials to see if it’s something suitable.”
“I would say the sign on rate is 80-90% most times. My feedback is that my classes are easy to follow, help them break a sweat and gives them a great workout. They also like that the class is cosy, and the instructor is friendly and approachable.”
We also asked the mum instructor about any precautions when taking part in prenatal aerobics. Up to what month can they participate?
“The class is suitable from any point of pregnancy and can be continued to late-term as long as mummy and baby are healthy, and mummies feel fit and comfortable exercising.
Sometimes, mummies get instructions from their gynaecologist to rest, so I’ll advise my student to follow her doctor’s orders and return when given the green light,” she said.
Vanessa also shared her doctor’s advice:
“These are her words, ‘As long as the mother is healthy and has always been active, she can carry on with whatever she’s been doing, and slowly adjust to her pregnancy as things progress.'”
“For mums who have not been actively exercising, it is also fine to exercise if she is healthy and feels fit to do so, she’ll just have to start slow and pick up slowly,” she added.
Check out a video of Vanessa’s prenatal aerobic class below:
From introducing prenatal aerobics to Singapore mums, Vanessa thought of a way to continue their fitness journey after their babies were born. So what came next? Postnatal aerobics.
“It was a natural idea since I started on prenatal aerobics. I not only wanted to guide mummies during their pregnancy but also wanted to be able to continue guiding them through their recovery period. It’s more like having a special friendship and support with the mums,” she shared.
When can new mums start postnatal aerobics? Again, what precautions are needed?
“Usually when their episiotomy incision/wound has completely healed (approximately 6 weeks or so and determined by their gynaecologist), for normal vaginal birth mummies,” said Vanessa.
“For both normal birth and C-section mummies, I’ll only take them in for classes when their gynaecologist has given the green light to start exercising. On average, starting from 4 to 6 weeks for normal vaginal birth mummies and 2 to 3 months for C-section mummies,” she added.
The benefits of postnatal aerobics include:
- It helps strengthen and tone abdominal muscles.
- It boosts energy.
- It may be useful in preventing postpartum depression.
- It promotes better sleep.
- It is a good stress reliever.
When asked for advice to other mums on how to be fit during pregnancy, here’s what Vanessa has to say:
“Have a balanced diet to maintain a healthy growing weight for yourself and baby. Move regularly so you’ll feel less tired and also exercise to stay positive and fit during pregnancy.
Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and enhances psychological well-being. I always say, Happy Mummy = Happy Baby!” said the mum.
Image Source: iStock
*Disclaimer: This experience has been shared by mummy Vanessa Tang. theAsianparent strongly advises pregnant mummies to consult a doctor before embarking on ANY exercise or workout, as every body is different.
*This story is from our archives.
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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