Exercising in Pregnancy: Should or Shouldn’t?

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About 2 decades ago pregnant women were advised to rest, relax and not exercise too much in their 'condition'. They were discouraged from climbing stairs, carrying weights, bending or stretching for fear that the baby in the womb get harmed in some way.

Since then, there has been a sea-change in this attitude. Doctors in fact, now positively encourage mothers-to-be to get up and engage in moderate-intensity exercise.  At least 20 to 30 minutes a day as long as there are no medical or obstetric complications.

Why This Change?

This is because research has shown that physical activity during pregnancy actually carries many benefits. Besides maintaining overall health and wellness, it reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Helps prepare the heart and the muscles of the body for labor and delivery. Makes it easier to cope with labor pain and eases recovery from childbirth.

So Is Exercising Safe?

The answer to that question is a resounding yes. If you were already physically active before you got pregnant, you are likely to remain safe if you stay active during pregnancy as well. Your doctor will definitely advise you to exercise as long as you are comfortable and no adverse factors are present.

How To Start?

If you are getting into an exercise routine for the first time or after a long gap, it would be advisable to take it slow in the beginning. Do take the advice of your doctor. Routine walking would be a smart way to begin. It is easy on your body and joints. It is also fits easily into a busy schedule.

Benefits of Exercising:

Some of the benefits from exercise that you may expect to reap if you stick to a regular exercise plan are: unpleasant pregnancy symptoms like backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling will be eased. You will find greater energy to do things. Your posture as well as mood will be changed. Muscle tone, strength and endurance will improve and you will sleep better. Apart from that your labour process will be eased and recovery from child birth will be swifter.

What about its affect on the body?

Of-course, as there are physiological and anatomical changes that occur in your body because of your pregnancy. So some changes will be required in your exercises also. Your joints tend to get more lax. Your center of gravity changes because of your big belly and you have an altered sense of balance. Your respiration is shallow. Be aware of all these changes and keep them in mind while exercising.

What's an ideal workout?

The ideal workout should increase your endurance, strengthen your muscles, get your heart pumping, keep you limber and prepare your body to handle child birth and the postpartum period WITHOUT causing undue physical stress for you or the baby. The idea is to maintain your level of fitness, not necessarily improve upon it.

What are safe exercises?

If there are no complications one of the ideal ways to exercise would be to walk. You don't need to join a gym to do that. Walking has great cardio-vascular advantages and you can safely do it through all nine months of your pregnancy.

Swimming is another safe exercise. Swimming exercises your whole body. The best part is that you feel weightless in spite of your big belly. It reduces swelling and can ease back pain.

Another variation is to perform various exercises in the water or water aerobics. Other exercises that you can try are aerobics, yoga and Pilates or any other form provided it is low impact.
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Related Reads:

  1. Dos And Don'ts of Exercising In Pregnancy
  2. Exercising That May Benefit In Pregnancy

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