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

Be ‘U’nique this New Year

This New Year make your own style statement by feeling good about yourself. Eat, move and live in sync with your body constitution. That way you will never be outdated! Giving importance to self does not make you selfish, in fact Continue reading “Be ‘U’nique this New Year”

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”

Sports drink during workouts

 

Sports drink during workouts

A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition.

Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise.

As the primary fuel utilized by exercising muscle, carbohydrates are important in maintaining exercise and sport performance.

Desirable Composition of Sports Beverages: Continue reading “Sports drink during workouts”

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”

Food you should eat before a workout

Food you should eat before a workout

Pre workout meals / snacks

As we start to get regular with our exercise regimen, we need to gradually plan snacks/ meals to be consumed before and after exercise

What we eat before the exercise is important since we need to have enough energy to sustain the exercise at the level we intend to achieve. Now one may ask, why eat again while we actually want to mobilize the existing excess food stores. Well, there are 2 caveats to this:

Firstly, it’s not advisable to start exercise on an empty stomach. For example  early in the morning because there is a long gap between the last meal and subsequent one post exercise. Prolonged fasting period slows down the metabolism and we surely don’t want that. Continue reading “Food you should eat before a workout”