Exercises In Pregnancy!

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For the proper growth and development of fetus it is necessary to have adequate supply of nutrition and oxygen from Mother to the fetus through the utero-placental apparatus. To ensure the adequate blood supply, the pregnant mothers are advised to do regular light exercises, walk, Pranayam (Deep Breathing exercises), stretching etc. unless contraindicated by the Obstetrician.

The regular exercises during pregnancy, improve the physical wellbeing of the mother, reduce her mental and emotional stress. It also regulate blood sugars & blood pressure to prevent development of Gestational diabetes and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. It helps in proper development and growth of the fetus.

There is no role of strict bed rest in pregnancy, unless advised in case of threatened abortion with active bleeding per vaginum. On the contrary, the bed rest, reduces the blood circulation, makes the blood hypercoagulable and further reduces the blood flow to the fetus and also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis that can be fatal to the mother.

1- Regular light walk –

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It is advisable for pregnant mothers to do regular daily 1 kilometer walk (approx 15 minutes) in the morning and in the evening in fresh air. It is the best exercise with no risk of fall or injury.

For any reason, if the mother is not able to go out for walk, she should do step march.

Some precautions –

  • Walk on flat even surface to avoid risk of fall.
  • In the third trimester, due to abdominal distension, the floor vision is hampered; hence there is increased risk of fall. So walk carefully.
  • The distending uterus and abdomen leads to misalignment of spine and shifts the center of gravity leading to waddling gait that increases the risk of fall.
  • Avoid walking on crowded and slippery surfaces.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear.
  • Do not use a cell phone while walking.
  • If you have eyesight problem, do not forget to use appropraiate spectacles.

2- Pranayama –

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Pranayama (Deep Breathing Exercises) are focused breathing techniques that ensure inhalation of fresh air rich in oxygen and exhalation of waste carbon diaoxide.

The deep breathing and increased oxygenation helps in both, fetal development & relieves maternal stress. It also improves lung capacity and blood circulation by movement of pulmonary diaphragm. The breathing techniques prepare mother for bearing down during labor pains.

Some precautions –

  • The Breathing techniques that unduly increase intra-abdominal pressure like Kapal Barti should be avoided.
  • The Pranayama should be done under the supervision of trained personnel only.
  • Do not hold breathe for long to avoid deprivation of oxygen to the fetus.
  • Do Pranayam in open space with fresh air.
  • Do not do Pranayam after meals.

3- Yoga –

Simple yogic exercises such as neck, shoulder, hip and ankle rotation, pelvic floor exercises etc extremely advantageous.

a- Yastikasana-

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Benefit- 

It relieves back pain and mental stress.

How to perform?

Lie down on the flat surface with both legs straight. Extend both hands overhead. Take deep breath and stretch whole body. Remain in the stretched position for some time and then relax.

Repeat the same at least 5 times.

b- Tadasana (Mountain Pose) –

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Benefit-

It strengthens the vertebral muscles and relieves the back ache. It also aids in lung expansion.

How to perform?

Stand upright spreading the legs with equal pressure on both. Keep spine straight with hands by the side of the thigh.

Join hands in greeting pose. Take deep breath and extend both hands overhead without bending the elbow. Look up at the fingers. Feel the stretch. Stay in same position for few moments. Exale and resume initial relaxed position. Avoid imbalance and fall.

c- Virbhadrasana (Warrior Pose)  –

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Benefit-

It is beneficial for the back, chest and thigh muscles. It also improves body posture.

How to perform?

Stand straight with your legs wide apart by at least 3-4 feets. Keep palms open by the side of the thigh.  Turn right foot and body out by 90 degree and left foot in by 15 degree. Bend right knee. Join both hands in greeting pose. Take deep breath and stretch both hands upwards. Bend your spine backwards and look up at the fingers. Feel the stretch all over the body and remain in the same position for few minutes. Now, relax your body and resume initial position. Take care to avoid imbalance and fall.

d- Trikonasana-

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Benefit-

This relaxes waist and hip joints and muscles. It also improves digestive system.

How to perform?

Stand straight with your legs wide apart by at least 3-4 feet. Keep palms open by the side of the thigh. Keeping elbow straight stretch both hands to the level of shoulders with palms facing towards ground.

Take a deep breath and then bent over at the waist to the left so that the left palm is touching the ground and the right hand goes overhead up in the sky. Look up at the right hand. Take normal breaths and feel the stretch. Remain in the same position for some time. Relax and resume the initial position. Repeat the process on the opposite side.

e- Butterfly or Cobbler posture

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Benefit-

It strengthens pelvic floor muscles that aids in normal vaginal delivery. It also relaxes calf and thigh muscles and relieves pain. It improves digestive system.

How to perform?

Sit on ground with both knees folded so that the two feet touch each other (Cobbler position). Keep the spine straight. Dangle to touch the knees to the ground and feel the stretch. Do this for 5 -10 minutes.

f- Kegel Exercise

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Benefit-

It strengthens pelvic floor muscles and aids in normal vaginal delivery. Post delivery it helps in regaining the tone and prevents urinary incontinence due to laxity and dysfunction of muscles.

How to perform?

Take deep breath. Contract and pull the perineal muscles in and hold for few moments. Feel the tension in vaginal and anal muscles. Relax and release the tension. Repeat at least 8 to 10 times. Do such 10 cycles a day.

Precautions while performing Yoga:

  • Do yoga and other exercises only under the supervision of a trained personnel.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Preferably do the Yoga in morning in open environment with fresh air.
  • Do exercises on empty stomach. Do not do immediately after taking meals.
  • Start with simple procedures and then upgrade. Do not do complex and difficult exercises from the beginning.
  • Do not unnecessary strain yourself.
  • Do not do those exercises that risk imbalance and fall.
  • Do not do those exercises that unduly increases intra-abdominal pressure.
  • Do not hold the breath for long, as it may deprive the fetus of oxygen.

Disclaimer:

The information is shared to create awareness towards Pregnancy and Childcare to reduce maternal and child deaths. Atmost care has been taken by the author to include the verified information from authentic sources. However, kindly discuss the same with your health care provider before implementation.