If you’re expecting a baby, it is essential to ensure optimum health of the mother and the foetus. However, maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy can be challenging. There are many questions that come to mind when planning how to exercise during pregnancy. This week,
You & I gives you a rundown of a few effective workouts for all those moms-to-be out there.
Walking: There is no easier exercise to fit into your schedule than a quick walk in your neighbourhood. Walking is the easiest and best form of cardiovascular exercise for pregnant women, especially since it doesn’t require money or any special equipment. Walking can be done throughout the nine months of pregnancy. For women who haven’t been exercising, start with slow walking and gradually work upto a brisk walk for about 20 to 60 minutes. Before setting out, make sure you wear good shoes, keep yourself hydrated, have a healthy snack 30 minutes before you walk, and remember to gently swing your hands as you walk for balance. Walking benefits pregnant women in numerous ways; it tones muscles and improves cardiovascular health, makes the delivery process easier, lowers the risk of gestational diabetes and premature labour, and reduces morning sickness.
Swimming: Swimming is another good cardiovascular exercise for pregnant women. Expectant mothers can swim for 20 to 30 minutes as many times a week as possible. If you didn’t exercise at all before pregnancy, consult a doctor before swimming. Remember not to overexert yourself, and drink lots of water before
getting into the pool, and when you’re done.
This low-intensity workout helps
mothers-to-be by providing relief from ankle and foot swelling. It also strengthens and tones the arms and legs, improves one’s mental state, reduces nausea, lowers the chance of becoming overheated, reduces high blood pressure, and combats the risk of heart diseases and gestational diabetes. This effective workout can increase one’s lifespan and keeps the mother and baby healthy.
Strength and Flexibility Training
Yoga: One of the best ways for pregnant women to connect with their babies is through prenatal yoga. During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes, which leads to both physical and mental stress. Research shows that an effective way to maintain a healthy body and mind during pregnancy is through yoga. Additionally, studies suggest that there is a relationship between prenatal yoga and positive foetal outcome, along with a reduction of hypertension-related problems. Always practice prenatal yoga with a certified instructor. Remember to never push yourself beyond your comfortable limits. Ideally, pregnant women should practice yoga for about 30 minutes. However, certain types of yoga, such as Bikram and hot Yoga, are too intense and therefore not safe for expecting mothers. Prenatal yoga increases strength and flexibility, decreases lower back pain, reduces stress, lowers the risk of preterm labour, and reduces the likelihood of intrauterine growth restriction (a condition that restricts the baby’s growth).
Note – Women who are at a risk for premature labour should consult their doctor before performing prenatal yoga.
Stretching: During pregnancy, stretching exercises play a crucial role in strengthening and realigning muscles. As your pregnancy progresses, these exercises are beneficial for both the mother and the baby. They provide relief from back pain, prevent muscle injury, and keep muscles and joints flexible for an easy and safe delivery. Deep and conscious breathing while doing these exercises is vital, as it brings more oxygen to your baby for healthy growth. Stretching also helps one cope with the psychological and mental stress associated with pregnancy. It should be done atleast three to five times per week. If possible, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Always remember to exhale when you stretch and inhale as you return back to your start position. Shoulder circles – which involve slowly rotating your shoulders backwards and forward – can be a highly effective form of stretching. For chest stretches, stand in the doorway with both hands placed at shoulder height on either side of the doorway with elbows bent, then step your right foot forward until you feel a slight stretch in the chest muscle. Repeat the same with your left foot. The muscles that need to be stretched during pregnancy include the quadriceps, lower and upper back, neck, shoulder, hip flexors, and pectorals. – Akhila