Exercise during Pregnancy

Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar is of the opinion that when you’re expecting, it’s important to keep moving: Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, easy delivery and a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape post-delivery.

The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour.

Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise like walking, yoga, deep breathing exercises for as long as you feel comfortable.

If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise.

Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.

Exercise tips when you’re pregnant:

  • Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterwards as Warm-ups prepare your muscles and joints for exercise and build your heart rate up slowly
  • Try to keep active on a daily basis: half an hour of walking each day can be enough, but if you can’t manage that, any amount is better than nothing
  • Avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids, (before, during, and after exercising).
  • If you go to exercise classes, make sure your teacher is properly qualified, and knows that you’re pregnant as well as how many weeks pregnant you are
  • Exercises that have a risk of falling, such as horse riding, downhill skiing, Mountain Tracking, gymnastics and cycling, should be avoided. Falls may risk damage to the baby
  • Do keep in mind during pregnancy the increased levels of the hormone relaxin, which relaxes pelvic joints in preparation for childbirth; loosen all ligaments and joints, making you more susceptible to sprains and injury from falls. Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing and avoid high heel footwear’s.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back after the first trimester. This position puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which will reduce blood to your heart and may diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus, making you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. Placing a pillow under your right hip or buttock will allow you to be almost supine without compressing the vena cava.
  • Don’t exercise until you’re exhausted. When something hurts, that means something’s wrong, so stop. You should feel like you’re working your body, not punishing it.
  • Getting up too quickly can make you dizzy and may cause you to lose your footing and fall so get up slowly from the floor by turning to one side.
  • According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can safely engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week as long as you have your healthcare provider’s go-ahead.

Few Recommended exercises by Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar

Pelvic tilt exercises

  • Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall
  • Keep your knees soft
  • Kull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall: hold for four seconds and release
  • Repeat up to 10 times

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone.

How to do pelvic floor exercises:

  • Close up your anus as if you’re trying to prevent a bowel movement
  • At the same time, draw in your vagina as if you’re gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine
  • At first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
  • Then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10
  • Try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do a set at each meal.

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