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Benefits of Exercising for Pregnant Women

Bringing a child into the world is a tricky, surprising, shocking, and amazing experience. There is both joy and discomfort as your body adapts to its new role of being a mother. However, you can prepare yourself for birth and motherhood by keeping yourself physically active with exercise. In the following article, we explore some of the many gains of exercise for pregnant women.

Regular exercise during pregnancy has many benefits, such as the management of various ‘symptoms’ of being pregnant and even easier labor. Childbirth is an intense experience that will test your endurance. Therefore, staying fit will keep you ready by strengthening muscles and keeping your stamina high. Studies show fit women have shorter labors and are better at handling the process.

Carrying a baby is hard on the body, and creates uncomfortable conditions like lower-back aches and constipation. Constipation can be prevented by physical activity as it prevents the digestive system from becoming sluggish. The weight of the baby causes strain on the back. Weak abdominal muscles worsen this and therefore must be strengthened as well. The stronger you are overall, the better shape you will be in to handle labor.

Most obstetricians recommend 30 minutes of exercise daily, unless there are complications in the pregnancy. Workouts that were followed prior to the pregnancy can be continued, though you may not have as much stamina as before.

Stretching helps with back related issues. Walking is good for circulation and swimming will improve both stamina and muscles in the torso. Your fitness during your pregnancy will not only help with birth but also with the recovery from the event.

The weight gain associated with pregnancy can also be curbed. While exercise can help control your weight, it also makes it easier to lose the weight after delivery. Most importantly your baby will likely be born fitter as well.

A few things have to be kept in mind, as a pregnant body must be treated differently. It is obvious that certain sports must be avoided as they increase risk of falling on your stomach. This could have adverse effects on both you and the child. Exercises that involve lying on the back must be avoided as well, as this position restricts blood flow to the uterus. You must stop exercising as soon as you feel any of the following:

  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Contractions
  • Any vaginal fluid discharge
  • Heart Palpitations

It is also very important that you keep yourself hydrated at all times. Make sure you drink lots of water while exercising.

And remember, being fit will help you be a great mother, with more energy and strength to guide your child through birth and beyond.

Jeet Chowhan is a fitness trainer and Specialist in Exercise Therapy based in Mumbai, India. He is certified as an instructor in fitness and nutrition, and strengthening of lower back muscles.

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