Regular exercise during pregnancy is extremely beneficial as exercise leads to potentially easier pregnancy and labour, improves cardiovascular fitness, decrease risk of gestational diabetes and promotes faster recovery from labour. It also helps in prevention of low back pain during pregnancy. It also counteracts the postpartum depression.
Precautions to be taken care off-
- Avoid any vigorous exercise in hot and humid weather or during a period of febrile illness.
- Avoid jerky, bouncy motions. Move smoothly.
- Exercise should be done on a wooden floor or tightly carpeted surface to reduce shock and provide a sure footing.
- Exercise should include a five minute period of muscle warm up and should follow a cool down period at the end of exercise session.
- Maintain adequate hydration levels during exercise.
- Ensure proper body mechanics of posture and lifting.
- After first trimester of pregnancy, avoid exercise in supine or back lying position.
- Women with a history of sedentary lifestyle should begin with low intensity exercises and progress gradually.
- 1.) Walking-Easy and safe to start with. Choose smooth surfaces to walk on and use a good supportive footwear.
- 2.) Leg lifts in side lying position -lie down on your right side with lower leg little flexed at knee, lift your left leg up, hold for 5sec and bring your leg down. Repeat 10 times. Repeat similarly on right leg while lying on your left side.
- 3.) Pelvic tilts-In standing position-stand against a wall, pull your abdomen in and press your lower back against the wall. Hold for 5 sec, 10reps. The same exercise can be done in kneeling position or all four(on your hands and knees)
- 4.) Postural exercises
- Stretching at various joints of the body.
- Modified upper and lower limb strengthening exercises like bicep curls, squats(helps in opening up of the pelvis).
- 5.) Pelvic floor exercises
- Kegel exercises-Squeeze the pelvic muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine, hold for 5 sec and repeat 10 times. Do it 3 times a day.
- Pelvic clock exercises-In crook lying position(lie on your back with knees pointing to ceiling), imagine a clock on your stomach with 12 towards your head and 6 towards your feet. Now roll your pelvis towards your feet, making your back arch slightly, that’s 6 of the clock. Then roll your pelvis up towards your navel, flattening the arch of your low back, that’s 12 o’clock position. Next, roll your pelvis towards your left(3 o’clock position) and then towards right (9 o’clock position). In this pelvic roll from side to side, ensure that knees are not dropping and pointing towards the ceiling throughout. Repeat 10-15 times in each, 6, 12, 3 and 9 o’clock positions. If you are comfortable, you can progress to rotations of the pelvic clock in both clock wise and anti-clockwise direction,5-10 times in each direction.
- Butterfly or tailor stretch exercise- Sit on the floor with soles of the feet touching each other and knees pointing out and resting on the ground. With both your hands, pull your feet towards your hips. Maintain the stretch for 10-15 seconds, 10 reps.
- 6.) Breathing exercises-Abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing exercises.
- Frequency-3 to 5 times a week.
- Duration- 20-30 min.
- ***Before embarking on any exercise program it’s important to get clearance from your doctor to rule out high risk pregnancy or any other condition that contraindicates exercise***
WARNIG SIGNS to stop exercise-
· Shortness of breath
· Calf swelling
· Chest pain
· Bleeding/Amniotic fluid leakage.
· Unusual abdominal, back or pubic pain
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