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Social distancing and isolation are hard for everyone. The immediate feeling of being alone coupled with the anxiety of having a baby during this pandemic is enough to make anyone anxious. Being pregnant while being coupled up at home is difficult not only for your mental health as a pregnant woman but for your physical health as well. In order to keep regular blood flow and maintain healthy muscles and balance, it is suggested that pregnant women exercise and stretch regularly- this healthy lifestyle is difficult to maintain while exclusively at home.
As you progress in your pregnancy, your body shifts as weight is redistributed and recalibrated. As a result, you may feel increased tightness in your lower back, upper shoulders, and ankles. We have compiled a list of at-home stretch tips, and safe exercises to maximize your comfort while maintaining your physical health. Always consult with your personal physician when beginning exercise and inquire about what stretches would be best for you and your body.
Pick an appropriate place as a designated workout spot
When working out and stretching at home, it is easy to get discouraged, derailed, and overall demoralized. Make sure to pick a specific spot whether it be your living room, dining room, or even your office to work out. It is best to not pick your backyard or outdoors in case something goes wrong or hurts and you need help. Make sure you are within earshot distance from your partner or family at all times. In addition to choosing a specific spot, clear the area as you would if preparing for a toddler visiting your home. Clear the floor of any objects you may trip over, bump into, or by accidentally break. It is easy to forget that you are no longer your regular size and that clumsiness may happen as a result.
Make sure to listen to your body while warming up
Even if you were an exercise junkie before pregnancy, make sure to slow down and listen to your body when starting out with your stretching and exercise. Take deep even breaths while stretching and make sure not to bounce while stretching your limbs. Instead, try and focus on lengthening the stretch by 10-second increments and holding it steady. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which loosens ligaments in the pelvis to make delivery easier. But since relaxin affects all your ligaments, you’ll likely be more flexible from head to toe, which can ultimately lead to overstretching and injuries. The best way to protect yourself is to listen to your body and limit yourself to a range of motion that feels good and safe for you and baby!
Focus on individual areas to target at a time
Target upper back, spine, and shoulders first and work your way down to hips, pelvis and finally feet and ankles. Slow and steady is how you should be focusing on each muscle group being mindful of smaller repetitive motions and how they are making your body feel. Never collapse backward onto a mat or try and push yourself too hard when face-down on the mat as well. It is important to remember at all times that it is advised to take breaks and prevent your self from applying all your weight to your hands or ankles.
Keep the temperature steady and avoid humidity
Have you ever noticed that it is a lot easier to become overheated while pregnant? Pregnancy comes with increased blood flow and a higher metabolic rate, giving you a greater chance of becoming overheated. It is important to remember to keep your workout space cool and dry and to completely avoid exercising in hot or humid conditions while pregnant.
As you stretch more often you will find it slowly getting easier and your body slowly becoming stronger and more flexible. Joint and muscle elasticity will be improved and you may even see improved sleep schedules as well. However, keep in mind, make sure to consult with your primary care physician before starting any workout regimen!