Women who don’t follow an exercise program before pregnancy are usually advised to take pregnancy as an opportunity to initiate one, as gestational exercises have been proven to relieve pregnancy discomfort, leg and back cramps, fatigue, etc., and ensure a smooth delivery .
Some studies have also shown that exercises can prevent pregnancy diabetes, reduce stress and improve the stamina required for delivery and labor.
Many women would be following a regimen before pregnancy, which they can continue during pregnancy as well. They will be physically active and their body will be habituated to follow the movements. Women who are not used to following a routine before their pregnancy might find it a little difficult to do pregnancy exercises. However, it is ideal for them to begin with simple exercises. Many doctors recommend all pregnant women to follow one unless they have a contraindication to do such activities.
Nevertheless, pregnancy is unique to every woman and following exercises might affect the body in many ways depending upon the individual. Hence, it is always good to discuss the do’s and dont’s of pregnancy exercises with the health care provider before stepping into any activity during pregnancy.
Here, let’s take a look at some of the common dos and don’ts of exercises during pregnancy. Exercising regularly during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in the following key ways:
- Eases constipation
- Reduces back pain
- May reduce the risk of gestational preeclampsia, cesarean delivery and diabetes
- Improves overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
- Promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
Do’s regarding pregnancy exercise
- It is safe to exercise 30 minutes a day on all days or on weekdays at least and the duration can be gradually increased to an hour or more depending upon the stamina of the individual.
- Exercises like gentle aerobics, swimming, gardening, walking, yoga that have less to average intensity are preferred.
- Exercises that make the individual sweat a lot and increase the heart rate need to be done only after clearance from the doctor.
- For beginners of pregnancy exercises, Kegels are the best and easiest way to improve the pelvic floor muscles. Following simple kegel exercises can be a good start and eventually more exercises can be added.
- Ensuring warm-up and cooling down before and after exercises is important. It will help to relax the muscles and bring the energy back to normal.
- Intake of fluids, especially lots of water before and after the workout is mandatory.
- Comfortable clothes, preferably loose-fitting clothes, which keep the baby bump in place should be worn.
- Focusing on exercises that help to improve the motion of the back, shoulders, chest, and legs is vital.
- While exercising, breathing properly is necessary.
- Exercising regularly and on a consistent basis is highly recommended.
- To stay energized and prevent blood sugar levels from dropping, eating small meals and snacks frequently is advisable.
Don’ts regarding Pregnancy Exercises:
- Exercising in hot and humid conditions should be avoided
- Exercises that involve lifting heavy objects should not be considered
- Rotating, twisting, or moving the abdomen is strictly not advisable
- Over-exercising or overstretching should also be avoided
- Sports that involve the risk of falling like skiing, horse riding, basketball, etc must be avoided
- Exercises that make women tired and lead to exhaustion must be avoided
Women must stop their activities and consult the doctor right away when the following symptoms are experienced:
- Extreme tiredness and dizziness
- Breathing issues due to exercising
- Spotting or bleeding from the vagina
- Unusual headache and chest pain
- Premature labor
- Weakness or swelling of muscles
- Slowness felt in the fetal movement
- Water breaking – when the amniotic sac breaks and leakage of fluid is seen.
Women with these pregnancy complications or conditions should not workout during pregnancy:
- Severe anemia
- Some types of heart and lung diseases
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnancy
- Being pregnant with twins or triplets or more with preterm labor risk factors
- Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Preterm labor or ruptured membranes (water has broken) during this pregnancy regular physical activity
It is always advised to follow the advice of your doctor before starting any exercise regime in pregnancy .