A prenatal workout is an exercise session that is intended to support a healthy pregnancy. Women who want to stay physically fit through pregnancy can use prenatal workouts to keep in good physical condition and such workouts can also assist with alleviating some of the side effects of pregnancy. Pregnant women should consult their doctors before starting a prenatal workout program in case there are any contraindications or special needs that might conflict with a workout program.
Workout programs for pregnant women must be tailored for the stage of pregnancy a woman is in. There are different concerns and risks at different trimesters and while it is possible for women to work out until the day they deliver, certain precautions must be taken to protect both mother and child. Personal trainers who specialize in prenatal workouts can help to devise a safe and effective workout program.
In pregnancy, many women experience joint pain and soreness, along with fatigue. Workouts can address these issues by providing women with more energy, strengthening and toning the muscles, and improving flexibility. A prenatal workout program that starts early in pregnancy can help women prepare for later stages of pregnancy by strengthening the body ahead of time. This will reduce the risk of exercise-related injuries as well as mitigating pregnancy side effects. For example, doing prenatal yoga can help women strengthen the abdomen and pelvis to compensate for the instability that emerges later in pregnancy when the pelvis begins to soften and relax to allow the baby to exit.
In addition to strengthening, toning, improving emotional health, and increasing energy levels, a prenatal workout can also be used for weight maintenance. While women are expected to gain weight during pregnancy as a result of the growing fetus inside, some doctors believe that rapid weight gain can be harmful and that controlling weight can be helpful for some pregnant women. Prenatal workouts can also help professional athletes maintain fitness levels during pregnancy so that when they return to training after the birth, they will not be at a disadvantage.
Some gyms and health centers offer classes for pregnant women who want to stay physically fit. Others offer personal trainers who can work with pregnant women to develop a safe workout program. Instructors and personal trainers may ask to see a doctor's note confirming that it is safe to work out and noting any potential activities that should be avoided during a prenatal workout.