Exercise During Pregnancy
Regular exercise keeps us healthy and active. It builds bones, strengthens muscles and gives us energy. Exercise is just as important, if not more, to women at the time of pregnancy.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
When you are pregnant, you feel tired often. You see yourself gaining weight. You may not feel your best at times. Please understand that these symptoms are completely normal during pregnancy and exercise could provide some relief. By exercising for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all days can benefit you in many ways -
- Helps decrease backache, constipation, bloating and swelling
- May prevent or help in treating gestational diabetes
- Increases your energy
- Improves your mood
- Improves posture
- Helps in building muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Helps you sleep better
Regular exercise will keep your body fit during pregnancy and help you deal with the pain of labour better. Exercise will also allow you to get back in shape easily after pregnancy.
Choosing the Right Exercises
Most types of exercises are safe to be done during pregnancy. Having said that, there are some exercises which involve certain positions that could be tiring or harmful for pregnant women. For example, after the first trimester, it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid any exercises that require them to lie on their backs. They should also avoid standing idly for long stretches of time.
It is safe to play certain sports during pregnancy -
- Walking is a good exercise for anybody. Brisk walking engages the whole body and doesn't stress the muscles or joints too much.
- Swimming is a great exercise too as it engages so many muscles. Also, since the water supports your weight, you avoid injury and muscle strain. It also keeps you cool and prevents swelling of your legs.
- Cycling is a good aerobic workout. However, be aware that your growing belly could affect your balance while cycling.
- Aerobics are great for the heart and lungs. There are aerobics classes specially designed for pregnant women. There are other exercises which, if done carefully and in moderation, are safe for pregnant women -
- Running - If you were used to running before pregnancy, you could probably continue doing it during pregnancy. However, do consult your doctor and find out if it is okay.
- Racket sports - In certain racquet sports such as badminton and tennis, your changing balance might affect rapid movements, increasing the chance of falling.
- Strength training - It will make your muscles stronger and help in preventing some of the aches and pain that come with pregnancy. While exercising and playing sports can be beneficial during pregnancy, there are some activities, however, which must be avoided -
- Contact sports like football and hockey should be avoided as they could cause harm to you and your baby
- Scuba diving should be avoided during pregnancy
- Activities such as horse riding and gymnastics increase the likelihood of falling and should be avoided during pregnancy. Exercise will keep your body fit and healthy during pregnancy and if done with due caution and by consulting your doctor regularly, it can be very helpful.