Pregnancy is a phase that brings about many changes in a woman’s body. While the body adapts to nurture new life, taking care of physical health becomes an important part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum recovery. Prenatal fitness is not only beneficial for the expectant mother, but it also has a positive effect on the developing baby. However, exercising during pregnancy requires a specific understanding of safe exercises to prioritise the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby. Dr M Divyalakshmi, MPT, Antenatal and Postnatal Rehabilitator, Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Chennai tells us about Prenatal Fitness And Safe Exercise Practices:
Benefits of prenatal fitness
There are many benefits to engaging in appropriate prenatal exercise. It can help reduce common complaints such as back pain, swollen ankles and fatigue. Regular physical activity has been linked to better morale and lower stress levels, which can help improve mood, especially during times of hormonal changes. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight and strong muscle mass muscle flexibility can help make childbirth easier and speed up postpartum recovery.
Counselling and Personalisation
Before embarking on any fitness regimen during pregnancy, it is extremely important to consult with a healthcare provider. Each pregnancy is unique, and certain medical conditions or complications may require modification of exercise plans. A healthcare professional can provide personalised guidance that is based on the individual’s health history, current condition and stage of pregnancy.
Safe Exercise Practices During Pregnancy
● Relaxed Breathing Exercise: promotes physical and mental relaxation, reduces stress levels ( mood swing irritability due to hormonal changes)
● Low-Impact Cardiovascular Activities: Walking, swimming and stationary cycling are suitable low-impact cardiovascular exercises that help maintain cardiovascular health by not putting excessive stress on the joints.
● Strength training: It is important to continue strength exercises with appropriate modifications. Focus on lighter weights and longer bouts to avoid fatiguing the body.
● Mobility training: Active gentle movements can improve the mobility of joints, and prevent Acne.
● Flexibility training: Gentle movement and flexibility exercises can help reduce muscle soreness and improve posture. Yoga and Pilates, along with modifications, can be great challenges to promote flexibility and promote physical relaxation.
● Pelvic floor exercises: Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, and bowels.
● Water Composition and Rest: It is important to keep oneself well hydrated during pregnancy, especially when indulging in physical activities. Apart from this, it is also important to get enough rest to ensure that the body recovers.
● Balance and stability: Due to the body’s centre shifting during pregnancy, exercises that promote balance and stability, such as gentle raises or pelvic tilts, can help prevent falls, and maintain posture also prevent pain-induced postures.
● Labour coping Techniques: Learning Breathing during labour, positions during labour, massages, and relaxation Techniques can help childbirth easier.
Warnings and Cautions
Although prenatal exercise is generally safe and beneficial, some symptoms should not be ignored. If dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, bloody discharge or fluid from the vagina is experienced, it is important to stop exercising and seek medical advice immediately.
Staying fit during pregnancy is like a special journey where mothers need to be careful, adapt and listen to the changes in the body. Doing appropriate safe exercise during pregnancy can make the birthing journey easier and also help in recovery after giving birth. But remember, every pregnancy is different. That’s why it’s so important to consult with the doctor to create any fitness plan that’s right for the mother and the baby.