Exercise is good for the body at any stage of life and the same rule applies in pregnancy as well. To enumerate a few benefits, it releases endorphins which help you feel happy, energetic and stay healthy. It reduces backache, leg cramps, relieves stress, improves sleep, builds stamina and endurance for labour. Medically, it prevents diseases like diabetes and hypertension, improves sugar levels if already diabetic. Healthy weight of both mother and fetus is maintained which makes vaginal delivery easy. If you are physically active pre-pregnancy, continue the activity in moderation at comfortable pace. If you had never exercised before, you can begin a low impact exercise program after consulting your healthcare provider.
Exercises safe in pregnancy
Walking– Best exercise which keeps you fit without harm. Easy to do, no equipment required, connects you with nature, can be taken up even if you were not very active earlier, can be done all through 9 months. Recommended for at least 30 minutes daily continuous or in breaks.
Swimming- Safe with good cardiovascular benefits. Good for backache and swelling in body.
Aerobics– Tones the body. You can take special classes for pregnant ladies by certified instructor.
Dancing– Can be done at comfortable pace for cardiovascular benefit. Avoid jumps, jerky movements, lifts etc
Running– If you have been an athlete, can take running in pregnancy after consulting the doctor.
Yoga– Excellent during pregnancy. Gives you tone and flexibility without creating joint problems. Combined with meditation and deep breathing can do wonders to your body and mind, reduce stress and help in a vaginal delivery.
Stretching– Should be done with cardiovascular to keep body and joints soft and supple.
Kegel’s Exercise– They strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor which support the pelvic organs and help in normal delivery.
Miscellaneous exercise routines– Cycling, light weight training can also be done. All exercises must be done under expert guidance only lest they cause more harm than good.
Exercise Do’s and don’ts during pregnancy:
Invest in a good sports bra, sports shoes and loose cotton clothes.
Go slow, listen to your body. If continuous 30 minutes is not possible, break it into 10 to 15 minutes sessions.
Warm up and cool down is essential.
As centre of gravity is shifted during pregnancy and falls are very easy, move smoothly. Avoid jerky, quick movements.
Don’t lie down on your back
Avoid saunas and hot bath
Drink lots of water
Avoid sports like basketball, hockey, football, skating, horse riding and other adventure activities
Conclusion is that exercise is excellent during pregnancy but with caution and under guidance. It can help all aspects of both mother and baby, so stop lazing around, pick your gear and start moving all you lucky mothers- to- be.