Pregnancy is a phase marked with inevitable physical and emotional changes in every woman. It becomes crucial for expectant mothers to live a healthy and active lifestyle during pregnancy. Exercise is the element which ensures achievement of that goal. Exercise and physical activity during pregnancy are generally safe and beneficial. But they should be performed keeping in the precautions and guidelines prescribed by doctors to ensure complete safety.
Dr. Deepika, leading gynecologist at a Maternity clinic in Panchkula, shares some insightful benefits and guidelines related to exercise during pregnancy:
1. Overall well-being: Engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy helps the overall well-being of the expectant mother. It ensures general fitness, cardiovascular health and muscle strengthening. It can also reduce pregnancy like backaches, constipation and swelling.
2. Improved mental health: Exercise releases hormone endorphins which is known as a ‘feel-good hormone’. This helps fight mood swings, reduce stress and anxiety and promote good sleep.
3. Health Weight maintenance: Maintenance of a healthy weight during pregnancy is crucial for both the expectant mother and the baby. Exercise helps prevent unwanted weight gain and helps in postpartum weight loss.
4. Stamina building and Labor preparation: Pregnancy requires lot of physical endurance which is why stamina building is important. Exercise improves stamina and prepares the body for labor and delivery which requires great deal of physical strength.
5. Reduction of Gestational Diabetes & Preeclampsia risk: Exercise is proven to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes development which is a condition that affects the blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Exercise also reduces the risk of Preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication of high blood pressure.
1. Consult a gynecologist: A doctor should be consulted prior to beginning a new or continuing the old exercise regimen during pregnancy. He/ She will assess the overall health of the expectant mother and accordingly design a personalized exercise plan and advice limitations if any.
2. Engage in low-impact activities: It is advisable to opt low impact exercises during pregnancy and not engage in hardcore and vigorous training. Exercises like walking, swimming, stationary cycling, prenatal yoga, water aerobics should be done. They reduce the risk of injury and provide cardiovascular benefits.
3. Exercise warm-up and cool-down: It is important to prepare the body prior to engaging in exercise. Body can be warmed-up with light cardio or stretching. Like-wise, body is to be cooled-down after workout by bring the body back to normal heart beat rate.
4. Proper Hydration: Proper hydration is to be ensured prior to, during and after workout. Consumption of plenty of water is recommended. It is advised to wear breathable clothing, avoiding hot environments and exercising in a well-ventilated area. This all ensures that body is not overheated.
5.Modifications as and when required: With the progression in pregnancy, modification in exercise routine might be required as per the changes in body. It involves adapting the exercises to accommodate the growing belly and to avoid activities like lying flat on back.
Regular exercise promotes both physical and mental well-being in pregnant women. A well-planned exercise regimen followed with proper guidelines can provide exponential benefits during pregnancy and child birth.