Pregnancy & Exercise: Know The Importance, Benefits And Tips To Follow

by | June 24, 2022, 21:21 IST


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Pregnancy may appear to be the ideal time to put your feet up and relax. One may experience more tiredness than usual, and your back may hurt from carrying additional weight. However, expecting moms are urged to begin or continue exercising during pregnancy in order to reap the benefits, stay healthy, and prepare for labour and delivery. “Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will help you stay healthy and fit during your pregnancy. Exercising also improves posture and alleviates discomforts such as back pain and weariness,” advises Dr. Smrithi D Nayak, Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Aster RV Hospital, who emphasises the necessity of performing simple exercises during pregnancy.

Why Is Exercise Vital During Pregnancy?
Regular exercise helps to reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. It boosts the mood and energy levels, and helps to sleep better. It prevents excessive weight gain, and promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance. Exercise helps maintain cardiovascular fitness, and improves balance and posture while helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also maintains blood pressure and prevents Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). It promotes a higher incidence of vaginal delivery and reduces caesarean birth/operative delivery. It also helps in postnatal recuperation and reduces urinary incontinence. Pregnant women should do at least 4 to 5 days of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, such as brisk walking or Yoga.

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Exercises Recommended During Pregnancy
Over-exertion may result in overheating which can affect the development of the baby. Hence, it is suggested to do workouts at moderate intensity. Low-impact exercises are safe and beneficial. Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditions with minimal stress on joints. Resistance exercises with relatively lower weights/resistance bands, stretching exercises, yoga and pelvic floor muscle training are great exercises that can be done during pregnancy.

Can All Pregnant Women Exercise?
All women with uncomplicated pregnancies can exercise regularly. Women with severe complications are advised not to do moderate workouts as well. These are women with severe anaemia, heart disease, severe hypertension, women diagnosed with placenta previa or had episodes of unexplained bleeding. Avoid all activities where an injury or pressure on the abdomen is likely.

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Tips To Follow During Pregnancy
Don’t exhaust yourself and aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise in a week. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Wear loose and breathable clothing, keep your heart rate below 150 bpm, and remember to warm up. Do not exercise for more than 60 minutes at a time.

Exercises To Avoid Throughout Pregnancy
• Avoid lying on your back for more than 10 minutes
• Avoid high impact exercises or activities that may result in heavy fall
• Avoid heavy weight lifting, hot Pilates
• Avoid exercising at higher altitude
• Avoid contact sports

Balanced exercise can help cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. Continue to exercise during pregnancy to enjoy benefits. Beginners can use pregnancy as a motivation to begin exercise.

Also Read: Find Out If Vaginal Dryness Affects Your Reproductive Health
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