Exercise During Pregnancy

Normally in India there is a practice of treating pregnant women like porcelain dolls. As such they are considered to be too delicate to do any form of physical activity. However, experts say that exercise during pregnancy is essential for the good health of both the mother and the foetus and for easy labour.

Exercising during pregnancy : –

  • Keeps the muscles flexible and strengthens them, which helps make labour easier and shorter
  • Increases energy levels
  • Lowers depression and stress levels
  • Reduces discomforts associated with pregnancy
  • Helps to restrict unnecessary weight gain
  • Helps in improving sleeping quality
  • Shortens recovery time after delivery
  • Helps postpartum weight loss

Expert view – Any kind of exercise is good for the body during pregnancy, if you are used to it. Exercises for the back and the pelvic floor muscles help in labour and also help in maintaining a good posture. If you are not used to exercising, walking is also very good. For more views from The Expert

Never start a new exercise program during pregnancy without first clearing it with your doctor

While obviously high risk sports are not right for pregnant women, increasingly today, most exercises are accepted as safe during pregnancy, unless there are some complications in the pregnancy. Before starting your exercises keep these tips in mind

  • Exercise consistently and regularly.
  • The best and safest exercises are walking, swimming or stationary cycling. If you have been in the habit of strength training you could probably continue, but this is not the time to suddenly begin.
  • Don’t indulge in vigorous exercise or stretch too much. These can lead to permanent injuries, as because of hormonal changes your body joints are a little looser than normal.
  • Start with a warm up and gradually wind down instead of suddenly starting and stopping.
  • After the first 3 months, don’t do any exercises that involve lying on your back. This can compromise the blood flow to the baby
  • Never change positions abruptly especially when rising from the floor.
  • Drink lots of water – before, after and during. Dehydration is a real threat.
  • If you haven’t exercised much before pregnancy, start off with low intensity exercises like walking.
  • Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort. Pay attention to your body.

What are the signs to watch for during exercise?

  • Sudden and severe abdominal pain.
  • Regular uterine contractions lasting 30 minutes after you stop exercising.
  • Dizziness
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Problems with eye sight
  • Numbness in any part of the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme tiredness

If any of these symptoms appear, immediately contact your doctor.

Breathing exercises
Your obstetrician can guide you to the nearest pace teaching Breathing exercises or he may hold sessions himself. Essentially these exercises h teach breath control which helps while bearing down during delivery. It also is an excellent relation technique to keep you from getting over stressed during labour.

Related Links

Looking after Yourself
Weight gain
Nutrition during pregnancy

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