Time to move that body, moms-to-be

That preg­nant women shouldn’t ex­er­cise is a myth. Don’t be­lieve us? Dr Wa­jiha Falak, se­nior phys­io­ther­a­pist from Rash­tra­p­ati Bhawan spills the beans on ex­er­cis­ing dur­ing preg­nancy

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - By Dr Wa­jiha Falak (PT), Se­nior Phys­io­ther­a­pist, Rash­tra­p­ati Bhawan

When your mom was preg­nant, chances are she wasn’t ped­alling fu­ri­ously at spin class or do­ing ball squats. Back then, doc­tors wor­ried that ex­er­cise might harm the grow­ing baby, so they didn’t en­cour­age moms-to-be to ex­er­cise. Not any­more. Stud­ies have shown that pre­na­tal in­ac­tiv­ity — not ex­er­cise — puts ba­bies at risk. “For low-risk preg­nan­cies, pre­na­tal ex­er­cise is ab­so­lutely safe,” says Michelle Mot­tola, Ph. D., di­rec­tor of the ex­er­cise and preg­nancy lab at the Univer­sity of Western On­tario.

Us­ing your nine months as a li­cense to loaf, on the other hand, can make you more prone to ex­ces­sive weight gain ( which raises your odds of a C- sec­tion), preg­nancy- in­duced high blood pres­sure and ges­ta­tional di­a­betes. Ex­er­cise can pre­vent early on­set of labour, pre­ma­ture rup­ture of mem­brane, and can even help shorten the du­ra­tion of labour.

Ben­e­fits for your baby

When preg­nant women ex­er­cise, it im­proves the baby’s stress tol­er­ance and al­lows the brain to ma­ture. Ba­bies born to women who ex­er­cise, in some stud­ies, have also been seen to have a bet­ter birth weight than those who don’t. The stud­ies do warn, how­ever, that vig­or­ous ex­er­cises could re­sult in lighter off­spring.

Ex­er­cise pro­to­col

For women who have ear­lier been seden­tary, non-weight­bear­ing ac­tiv­i­ties such as swimming, sta­tion­ary cy­cling and mod­er­ate walk­ing is best. A sched­ule of 20 to 30-minute ex­er­cise ses­sions daily at an easy pace is a rea­son­able goal. Those who were in the habit of ex­er­cis­ing even be­fore preg­nancy can con­tinue to do so. Stud­ies have proved that ex­er­cises such as aer­o­bics, cir­cuit train­ing, tak­ing the stairs, swimming, bik­ing and run­ning re­mains a way of life for at least 25% of all women plan­ning preg­nancy.

Kegels ma­noeu­vre: This ex­er­cise in­volves al­ter­nate con­trac­tion and re­lax­ation of the mus­cles of pelvic out­let and the birth canal. Strength­en­ing these mus­cles sup­ports the ab­domen and pre­vents the uterus and the blad­der from fall­ing through, es­pe­cially af­ter hav­ing kids. Re­lax­ing these mus­cles teaches moms how to let the baby pass through the birth canal.

Squat­ting: Squat­ting dur­ing preg­nancy helps in­crease the mo­bil­ity of the pelvic joints and strength­ens the legs. A squat­ting po­si­tion dur­ing birth can in­crease the pelvic out­let by as much as 25%. How­ever, it should be avoided af­ter 32 weeks of ges­ta­tion if there are med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions such as a cer­vi­cal stitch or haem­or­rhoids. But squat­ting can be prac­tised safely if it does not cause dis­com­fort.

Pelvic floor mus­cle

train­ing: Stress in­con­ti­nence is a dis­turb­ing prob­lem dur­ing preg­nancy. A study in 2011 has found that 8-12 con­trac­tions of pelvic floor preterm labour with present or pre­vi­ous preg­nan­cies are in­di­ca­tions that they should not ex­er­cise.

Preg­nant women should also avoid sports such as vol­ley­ball and ten­nis or any ac­tiv­ity that might cause ab­dom­i­nal trauma. They should also avoid ex­er­cis­ing at high al­ti­tude as these ar­eas have a lower amount of oxy­gen.

Warn­ing signs

There are warn­ing signs that preg­nant women should stop ex­er­cis­ing and seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion — fa­tigue, pain in the back or pu­bic area, dizzi­ness, short­ness of breath, pal­pi­ta­tion, de­creased foetal move­ment, per­sis­tent con­trac­tions and vagi­nal bleed­ing. Most im­por­tantly, your doc­tor must be kept in the loop at all times and up­dated of your con­di­tion regularly.

PHOTOS: IS­TOCK

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