What do you think of doing exercises during pregnancy? In cultures such as Sri Lanka, this subject still seems to be little irrelevant and unpopular. Because, mental happiness of the mother is treated as utmost importance for a healthy growth of the baby and as a result family members try to protect her well and free her from most of the day-to-day activities she used to do. This naturally gives the hint that pregnant mothers should lie low in their physical activities and get more involved in religious activities to appease the mind.

But, the real situation is quite contrary to that. Exercising can do many good to the pregnant mother than you think. It can equally uplift both the physical and psychological well-being of the mother during pregnancy. But always remember that your doctor will advice you if there is any reason that you should not exercise, so please seek professional advice before going ahead with anything new.

Why exercise during pregnancy?

You should exercise during pregnancy if you want to stay fit mentally as well as physically. It will increase your happiness during pregnancy and after the delivery as well.

Exercising can help you by;

  • Providing more energy during pregnancy:    It strengthens your muscles and tones them well. As a result, you will be able to do your day-to-day activities easily and effortlessly. Further, regular exercising strengthens you cardiovascular system, so you will not feel tired often.
  • Reducing pregnancy discomforts:   Exercising is a good way to cope up with common pregnancy discomforts such as aches and pains in the body. Simple exercises such as walking can regulate your circulation, stretching can comfort your backaches and swimming can strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  • Preventing certain developments during pregnancy:  It is found that regular exercises can prevent the possibility of developing diabetes during pregnancy. Also, this is a better solution in controlling gain of extra amount of weight during pregnancy.
  • Giving a better sleep:  Doing regular exercises makes you stress free. It gives you better endurance for pregnancy discomforts and boosts your spirit. These aspects pave the way for a better sleep.
  • Preparing you for the child birth:  If you do regular exercises during pregnancy, it will help ease up the delivery and will even shorten the time taken for delivery by increasing your determination, courage and focus. Also, it helps in increasing your endurance during labour.
  • Improving your self-image:  You naturally feel good when you are active. You are physically and mental fit to take on the challenge. Therefore, you can enjoy your pregnancy period better.
  • Getting back on shape:   Since you continuously keep on strengthening and toning your muscles during pregnancy, it is easy for you to bounce back on your previous shape after the delivery.

How to select suitable exercises during pregnancy?

Pay special attention in selecting risk-free and comfortable exercises that could be done right through the pregnancy period. You may have to alter your step as the pregnancy advances due to less control in body balancing. This is mainly because of the extra weight gain due to the growth of the foetus and the resultant stresses on joints and pelvis area.

Therefore, low impact steps that do not involve rapid body movements are more suitable during this period. They will not strain you and will not demand higher levels of body balancing and coordination too.

Few suggestions for you to consider are;

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Yoga exercises (see “Yoga during pregnancy for more details)
  • Low impact aerobics

However, always have a discussion with your doctor before starting to exercise. He is better placed in offering you more personalised guidelines on planning your exercising schedule depending on your medical history. In addition, if you decide to go for Yoga or aerobics, you can further obtain services of a professional instructor for better results.

When to quit exercising during pregnancy?

If you encounter any sudden and abnormal situations like that are listed below during pregnancy, immediately stop continuing with exercises and consult your doctor for advice.

Such abnormal developments can range from;

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Sudden leakage of fluid from vagina
  • Dizziness or feeling faintish
  • Irregularities in hart beat
  • Difficulties in walking or breathing
  • Body aches and pain such as chest pain, headaches, abdominal pain, pelvic pain etc.

Can all pregnant mothers do exercises?

Though it is good to do exercises during pregnancy, all pregnant mothers may not get qualified to do it. Do not exercise if you have any of the following experiences.

  • Pressure during pregnancy
  • A history of recurrent miscarriages
  • A history of premature child-births
  • A history of early labor

When to start exercises after delivery?

This is something that you can decide based on your doctor’s advice. Normally, it is safe to start low impact exercises two weeks after a normal delivery and 3-4 weeks after a caesarean birth.

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“Yoga” during pregnancy