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Pregnancy exercises: 7 effective exercises for pregnant women | health

Should a pregnant woman exercise? There are many myths about exercise during pregnancy and many women feel that it may increase the risk of miscarriage or that some exercises are not ideal during this time. While nutrition during pregnancy is very important for the growth and development of the baby, physical activity and exercise will help improve blood circulation, ease labor, reduce physical discomfort, and improve mood among a variety of other health benefits. From walking, prenatal yoga, pregnancy Pilates to swimming, there are some amazing exercises that will make your pregnancy experience less stressful and more enjoyable. (Also read: World Mental Health Day 2022: Tips to de-stress during pregnancy)

“Pregnancy is the period of utmost care and staying active unless there are medical contraindications. Exercise during pregnancy works wonders for both the mother and the baby. It is important to understand that pregnancy is not a disease but rather a period of staying healthy and happy in order to have a positive effect. On the baby,” says Dr. Priyanka Khanna (PT) Lactation Consultant and Physiotherapist for Women’s Health, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, Punjabi Bagh.

Dr. Khanna says that exercise during pregnancy helps prevent mood swings, improve sleep, increase the chances of a shorter and easier delivery, improve oxygen transport in the placenta, and prevent pregnancy-related illnesses among other things.

Dr. Khanna also suggests some effective prenatal exercises that you can choose from during pregnancy.

1. Prenatal yoga: Helps improve your flexibility and keep your mind calm. Yoga benefits include improving relaxation, increasing flexibility, improving circulation, and helping a pregnant woman breathe properly during labor and delivery. Few of the asanas that can be done during pregnancy are tree pose, trikonasana, matsyasana, salapasana, ardha matsendrasana, etc. All asanas should be done according to the week of pregnancy and under the supervision of a prenatal yoga therapist.

2. Walking: Brisk walking is a very good way to start your exercise regimen. You can start with 10-15 minutes of brisk walking or as your endurance allows and gradually increase to 30-45 minutes each day. It is a good cardiovascular exercise and you can do it with your loved ones.

3. SwimmingSwimming, water walking, and water aerobics move the body parts without putting pressure on the joints. Buoyancy aids and resists as well which results in muscle strengthening without post-workout soreness. Exercise in the pool should be done with a little caution such as using handrails while walking in the pool so that you do not slip. Don’t hold your breath in the pool to prevent straining your heart. Do not dive or jump.

4. Gentle aerobic exercise Light to moderate aerobic exercise can be done during pregnancy. It helps lift your mood as dancing releases happy hormones in the body. Avoid jumping and any high impact movements. Aerobic exercise combined with music is a great way to improve your mood and deal with mood swings while strengthening your heart and lungs.

5. Strength training: This should be done with great care and under supervision as if not done properly it can lead to injuries. A proper warm-up before and after exercise helps prevent injuries. Dumbbells, stretchers, and cuff weights can be used to add resistance and strengthen different muscle groups. Basic strengthening can also be done to prevent back pain attacks. The pelvic floor should be strengthened to avoid stress incontinence and prepare the pelvis for labor and delivery.

6. Pregnancy Pilates: Pilates is a low-impact exercise that helps improve core strength and flexibility. It is meant to be done according to the stage of pregnancy and is not prescribed for every trimester. Check with a prenatal trainer before doing this type of prenatal exercise. The movements focus on the pelvic floor, lower abdominal muscles, and back muscles, which helps maintain good posture, and improves strength and balance. The exercises can be done either with strength training equipment such as exercise balls and resistance bands, or on a yoga mat using your own body weight as resistance.

7. Belly danceFor people who love to dance, belly dancing is another way to keep your pelvis and stomach strong while enjoying your pregnancy. It helps reduce anxiety and stress, makes you more confident, helps determine the proper position for the baby, strengthens the pelvic floor, strengthens core muscles, and gives the woman a chance to socialize and interact with other pregnant women. Again, like any other form of exercise, it should be performed under supervision and if medically permitted.

Whatever form of exercise you choose, always remember that the goal is to keep your body and your baby healthy, so listen to your body and don’t force yourself to exercise beyond your capacity. In case you feel overwhelmed, break the exercise into parts and do it in intervals. Stay happy and remember Always communicating with the baby in the womb,” says Dr. Khanna.

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