The importance of physical activity during pregnancy
Being pregnant is not an excuse henceforth to not exercise!
From lower odds of delivery complications to better sleep, there are lots of reasons to exercise through all three trimesters of pregnancy — for both mother and baby.
During my 1st trimester of pregnancy, I used to travel and walk a lot due to my profession. Later in 2nd trimester, I did mild physical activities along with household chores. Then in the final trimester, I sat down on the floor while having my meals for posture improvements.
On the day of delivery, it’s hard to believe that, I walked to my labour ward – As expected, it was a normal delivery with healthy baby weight. All the physical activities during the phase were fruitful finally.
Staying physically active during pregnancy offers numerous health benefits. Now, it’s time to understand the need and level of activity for “mom to be”.
- Promotes muscle tone, stamina and strength
- Reduces leg and back pain, constipation, swelling and bloating
- Promotes blood circulation and possibly helps prevent varicose veins
- Helps your posture and balance
- Better sleep
- Manages stress
- Reduces risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
- Prepares your body for labor and childbirth
The activity levels depend on mom’s capability and her health condition. Therefore, its necessary to consult with health care providers and obstetrician for your exercise schedules throughout your pregnancy.
Exercise Gyan for pregnant women:
Remember to eat a varied and balanced diet with enough calories due to additional requirements to support your baby and your own needs with the physical demands of your activity.
Fluid replacement has even more health implications during pregnancy as your own and your baby's blood volume increases.
If you don't drink enough fluids, you're at greater risk for dehydration and overheating. So, stay hydrated throughout the day.
Some forms of exercise are safer during pregnancy and can be included into your daily routine;
- Cycling on a stationary bike
- Strength training
- Low-impact aerobics training
However, due to physical changes that occur during pregnancy, special precautions are also needed. If you experience dizziness, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, contractions or vaginal bleeding while exercising - contact your medical professional immediately.
More reasons to keep moving!
Stay focused with the following additional benefits for the mommies;
1. Reduces risk of pregnancy complications
A study conducted in 2017, shows women who are not active during pregnancy are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and other delivery complications than active women.
2. Lowers odds of delivery complication
Having a heavier baby, in turn, can lead to complications for both mother and baby during delivery. Therefore, healthy weight gain is important during pregnancy.
3. Quick post - delivery recovery
Another study conducted in 2012, revealed that women who exercised during pregnancy recovered faster after labor, resuming household chores faster than those who didn’t exercise.
4. Enhances your mood
Being physically active during pregnancy reduces depression, releasing endorphins that help improve mood while diminishing stress and anxiety.
5. Relieves constipation
An active body encourages active bowels.
6. Lowers blood pressure
Being active, supports a healthy blood pressure.
7. Ease back and pelvic pain
It’s obvious that your growing baby bump puts extra pressure on your lower half, resulting in lower back pain and an achy pelvis. Exercising, however, may result in less low-back and pelvic pain during late pregnancy.
Health experts generally recommend that doing exercise you ‘re capable of while you’re pregnant is a great way to have the healthiest and most comfortable pregnancy possible.
How physical activity benefits babies?
A few potential benefits are listed below;
- Reduced odds of diabetes
- Boosts brain health
- Lowers BMI
- Healthy heart
Babies whose mothers had exercised tended to perform better on tests of motor skills.
Thinking to exercise? Hold on!
Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Regular physical activity during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue.
If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don't try to exercise at your former level - instead, do what's most comfortable.
To make it simple, physical activity doesn’t mean only exercise any sort of activities like – washing, cleaning, gardening, house hold chores which you can do is better than being idle. Thus, makes you reap all the above-mentioned benefits.
Note : If you are a beginner, better to start with health professional guidance along necessary precautions.
Glimpse to remember:
Regular activity can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. If you haven't been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.
We all know exercise is good for health, but it's especially beneficial when you're pregnant. Thus, exercise during pregnancy puts you on the perfect path even after child birth - to faster post-partum weight loss and recovery.
Active mommy, active baby!!
Share your experience on how physical activity, improved the well-being during pregnancy in comments section!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Indu Vaishnavi R, Dietician