IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY

Once pregnancy is confirmed, there are conflicting opinions regarding the amount  and type of physical activity that the pregnant woman can indulge in, even with regards to her daily routines at home. It has well established that exercise during pregnancy improves and maintains physical fitness, mental health and well-being, also prepares the body for labour and delivery.

Exercise does not pose risk of miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. But, it is important not to overdo, be cautious and to consult a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen in pregnancy, especially if the pregnancy has complications like

  • pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure)
  • cervical incompetence
  • vaginal bleeding
  • placenta previa (placenta lies low in the uterus)
  • abruptio placenta (placenta is detached from uterus during pregnancy before labour)
  • heart problems
  • risk of preterm labour, etc.

Physical exercises may range from routine moderate daily activity to guided exercises in a gym to jogging, running, yoga and swimming. If a woman is used to jogging, running before pregnancy, it is likely safe to remain active and maintain similar activity during pregnancy as well. Most of the doctors generally recommend the pregnant women to remain active, as long as she is comfortable.

Exercise for 20-30 minutes daily on most of the days and prenatal yoga (a great form of mild, simple exercise) are known to be highly beneficial in pregnancy.

Benefits from exercise during pregnancy:

  1. Improves blood circulation, mood and energy.
  2. Helps in providing relief from constipation, stomach upset (bloating, burps and belches), backache which are very common in pregnancy.
  3. Helps in reducing swelling of ankles and legs by redirecting the fluid which is pooled in ankles.
  4. Improves the muscle tone, strength, posture and makes the joints stronger.
  5. Helps the woman sleep better.
  6. Prevents excessive weight gain.

Activities to avoid during exercise in pregnancy:

  1. Twisting, bending over, stretching excessively while doing exercise.
  2. Excessive jumping, skipping etc.
  3. Exercises involving a blow to abdomen,or that involve sudden and rapid movements.
  4. Exercises which may impose a risk of falling down, skidding like horse riding, cycling etc.
  5. Exercises which may cause exhaustion and difficulty in breathing (indicates the exercise has become strenuous).The pregnant woman should be able to converse while doing exercise.
  6. Avoid doing exercises at heights.

Exercises which may be considered during pregnancy:

  1. Practicing “squats” in pregnancy may be helpful during delivery.
  2. “Pelvic tilt exercises” strengthen the abdominal muscles and help in relieving backache of pregnancy and labour.
  • Lie on the floor with your back flat on the surface, hands by your side and knees bent.
  • Tighten the muscles of abdomen and bend the knees slightly in such a way that they are brought close to abdomen.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat up to 10 times, giving a gap of a few seconds in between.

“Pelvic floor exercises” may strengthen pelvic floor muscles (near vagina) which is usually helpful during labour.

A few points to keep in mind while doing exercise:

  1. It is always a good idea to start with walking, when the woman is not used to physical activity otherwise.
  2. Wear loose, comfortable, cotton clothes, with a supportive bra.
  3. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
  4. Proper nutrition, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to exercise.
  5. Do the exercises on flat surface, making sure the floor is not slippery and has good grip.

It is important to understand the fact that the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, inside the strong, thick muscles of uterus (womb), which tend to keep the environment safe for the baby. However, a special attention needs to be paid to avoid exercises which may be strenuous, may cause high impact and which may involve a physical blow to abdomen.

Remember that pregnancy is not the time for weight loss, in fact, it is the time for optimal weight gain to support growing fetus. Proper physical exercises help the woman attain ideal weight gain during pregnancy (which is calculated according to her BMI before pregnancy) and facilitate the pregnant woman to get back to her previous weight and shape after delivery of the baby.

References:

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-exercise.aspx#avoid

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896?pg=2

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/multimedia/pelvic-tilt-exercise/img-20006410

–   Dr. Divya Teja Pasupuleti

Benefits of HIIT – High Intensity Interval training

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a kind of workout which alternates between a period of intense activity with a period of relatively less intensity workout.

For example, if you are working out on a treadmill, you can run for 1 minute at a high speed, then walk for 2 minutes, and then again run for 1 minute at high speed. This way, in a span of 15 minutes, you will have around 5 minutes of intense activity and 10 minutes of relative calm.

HIIT can be particularly helpful if you are hard pressed for time. So, for instance, if you can spare only 15 minutes for a workout in the morning, you can pack in a HIIT routine in between. Continue reading “Benefits of HIIT – High Intensity Interval training”

How to manage elevated triglycerides

Indian population with predisposition to fat deposit in the abdominal area is more prone to high triglycerides than cholesterol. High waist circumference is a clear indication of high fat percentage in the body and an elevated triglyceride is a direct test to confirm the same. Although triglycerides is an important test within the lipid profile , it is often not understood by many. High triglycerides can independently increase risk of heart diseases and needs to be treated as seriously as high cholesterol.The management approach to high triglycerides is similar to that of cholesterol but additional points have to be remembered.

Continue reading “How to manage elevated triglycerides”

Sitting for long hours increases risk of metabolic disease

sedentary lifestyle

In our last blog we discussed about the different states of physical activity/ lifestyle and that our calorie intake needs to be equal to the level of physical activity. Today most of us city dwellers in white collar jobs fall into “Sedentary” lifestyle category. Infact not just adults but also kids are becoming more and more physically inactive thanks to the smartphones, ipads, TV’s, etc. These lifestyle changes have adverse effects on our health. Continue reading “Sitting for long hours increases risk of metabolic disease”

Energy drinks before exercise – Is it really needed?

Energy drinks before exercise - Is it really needed?

Energy drinks are functional beverages containing caffeine, taurine, glucose, and other additives. They have become very popular throughout the world since 1997 when “Red Bull” was introduced in the market.

Companies are aggressively marketing the drinks through advertisements and sponsorship of sports events. The wide range of advertisements and campaigns of energy drinks have been successful in taking the annual consumption to approximately 5.8 billion liters (2013 estimate) in around 160 countries.

Energy drinks have been marketed with claims to give an ‘energy boost’ in the form of increased alertness, visual information processing, attention, and physical performance. Therefore, energy drinks are very attractive to young adults and athletes with the age range of almost 65% of the consumers between 13-35 years. Despite all of these claims, the effects of energy drinks on physical and cognitive performances remain controversial leaving a physiologist wondering if these drinks deliver what they claim. Continue reading “Energy drinks before exercise – Is it really needed?”

Are antioxidant supplements necessary for individuals who exercise regularly?

Are antioxidant supplements necessary for individuals who exercise regularly

We do feel extremely exhausted post exercise and there are several reasons for it; but the oxidative stress generated due to exercise is one of the primary causes.Highly reactive chemical species, called free radicals, may increase during exercise

But do not worry, this kind of stress is temporary and is good for health!

The debate now is whether we need to curb this oxidative stress by supplementing with antioxidants or let it continue such that we get maximum benefits from exercise

So , let’s briefly understand what are antioxidants and where are they found. Continue reading “Are antioxidant supplements necessary for individuals who exercise regularly?”

Post exercise essentials for weight loss success

Food you should eat after a workout

Our body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through workout or sports. Hence, post workout, we need to replenish the nutrients lost, especially the important ones.

If we really want to kick the flab, then we need to make way for the muscle.

Replacing fat mass with muscle mass should be the main goal of exercise and all efft should be directed towards the same. Losing fat mass will means coming down on inches at the waist, hip, arms, thighs.

The simple rule of 3 R’s helps to remember what to do for post workout recovery  

  • Refuel
  • Rebuild
  • Rehydrate

Continue reading “Post exercise essentials for weight loss success”