Antenatal exercises

Exercise during pregnancy has traditionally been considered risky. But truly speaking, the more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the better pregnancy outcomes we get. It is safe to exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy. It does not increase the risk of miscarriage, low baby weight or preterm labour.The benefits of exercise are

  • Less back pain
  • Less constipation
  • Lesser risk of gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure
  • Less chances of a cesarean delivery
  • better, healthier weight gain during pregnancy
  • Better overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
  • Better weight loss after your baby is born

But in some conditions in pregnancy, we advise rest, and avoiding exercise, such as

  • any severe heart or lung disease in the mother
  • Cerival stich or cerclage
  • twins or triplets with risk for preterm labor
  • Low placenta or Placenta previa
  • Preterm labor or rupture of membranesin this pregnancy
  • High blood pressure or Preeclampsia
  • Severe anemia

It is important to keep in mind the following tips when exercising

  • Do not exhaust yourself.
  • The Talk Test-you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise, if you become breathless as you talk, then you need to slow down.
  • If you were not active before pregnancy, do not suddenly start strenuous exercise. Start with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise,thrice a week. Increase this slowly to daily 30-minutes.
  • Warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards is a must
  • Try to be active daily, say 30 minutes walking each day though any amount is better than nothing
  • Drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after your exercise to avoid dehydration
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing, and a sports bra to give support to help protect the breasts. In later months, a belly support belt to reduce discomfort while walking or running may be needed
  • exercise in a temperature-controlled room to avoid becoming overheated
  • Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid.
  • Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible.

The recommended safe exercises during pregnancy area.

  • Walking—Brisk walk is a total body workout
  • Swimming is a good option because the water will support your increased weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain
  • Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice as the growing belly can affect balance and make one more prone to falls
  • Yoga and Pilates- Yoga has many benefits
    • It reduces stress,
    • It improves flexibility,
    • It includes and encourages stretching to reduce backache
    • It helps in focused breathing, helpful in labour
    • Prenatal yoga classes are designed for pregnant women. Here you are taught modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance.
  • If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you con continue these activities but at at lower intensity

Avoid exercises that have a risk of falling, like horse riding, gymnastics and cycling.Contact sports that put you at risk of getting hit in the abdomen, like hockey, boxing, soccer, and basketball should be avoided.

Also, avoid "Hot yoga” or “hot Pilates,” which can cause you to become overheated. Adventure sports like skydiving, Scuba diving,Activities performed above 2500m or 6,000 feet are to be avoided in pregnancy.

Importantly, you should know when to stop exercising.Keep in mind these warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of them, stop and call your doctor

  • Any Bleeding or spotting from the vagina
  • Feeling faintish
  • Shortness of breath before starting exercise
  • Pain in chest
  • Headache
  • Weakness in Muscles
  • Any Calf pain or swelling
  • Tightening or stomach contractions
  • water or fluid leaking from vagina

It is also important to continue exercising after delivery, to prevent complications after delivery, like DVT. It also helps in improving mood, reducing aches and pains, and helps losing pregnancy weight gain.

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