E- XERCISES PRE& POST-PREG­NANCY

EX­ER­CISE IN THE COM­FORT OF YOUR OWN HOME.

Great Health Guide - - GREAT HEALTH - Words: Mar­garita Gure­vich De­sign: Olek­san­dra Zuieva

IT’S IM­POR­TANT TO KEEP UP A GOOD EX­ER­CISE ROU­TINE DUR­ING & AF­TER PREG­NANCY.

The im­por­tance of ex­er­cise for op­ti­mal health and well­be­ing is proven. While it’s im­per­a­tive that we stay ac­tive and fit through­out all stages of life, ex­er­cis­ing be­fore and dur­ing preg­nancy is par­tic­u­larly nec­es­sary. While preg­nancy is a very ex­cit­ing and spe­cial time, it can pose some chal­lenges, such as back and neck pain, pelvic in­sta­bil­ity and carpal tun­nel syn­drome. One rea­son for this is the re­lease of the hor­mone re­laxin dur­ing preg­nancy, which makes the lig­a­ments more lax in prepa­ra­tion for child­birth but also makes the spine and joints more vul­ner­a­ble to in­jury or aches and pains. To coun­ter­act this you need to im­prove the strength and ac­ti­va­tion of mus­cles that sup­port your spine and joints. The main mus­cle groups that need to be strength­ened are the core and pelvic floor, but­tock and hip mus­cles , and the pos­tural mus­cles. Pelvic floor ex­er­cises per­formed in the post­na­tal pe­riod could help in re­duc­ing the risk of post­par­tum uri­nary in­con­ti­nence. Not all ex­er­cises are safe to do dur­ing preg­nancy how­ever. High im­pact ex­er­cises such as run­ning, jump­ing and box­ing or lift­ing heavy weights can be risky, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sec­ond trimester. Also there are spe­cific po­si­tions that need to be avoided. Tak­ing all of this into ac­count plus the fact that preg­nan­cies do dif­fer in each in­di­vid­ual, it is im­por­tant to con­sult your spe­cial­ist doc­tor or ob­ste­tri­cian be­fore com­menc­ing any new ex­er­cise pro­gramme while preg­nant.

Once given the OK to ex­er­cise, it is im­por­tant to ex­er­cise con­sis­tently. Be­low is a sim­ple ex­er­cise rou­tine that can be done at home. Please note that you should not ex­pe­ri­ence any pain ex­cept mus­cle pain; if at any stage you start feel­ing pain in your spine or joints, stop im­me­di­ately and con­sult your phys­io­ther­a­pist. Re­peat each ex­er­cise twelve times.

1. CORE MUS­CLES

While the term ‘core’ ap­plies to all the mus­cles

WHILE EX­ER­CIS­ING IF YOU START FEEL­ING PAIN IN YOUR SPINE OR JOINTS, IM­ME­DI­ATELY STOP.

that sta­bilise our spine and joints, in this ex­er­cise we are re­fer­ring to the core mus­cles of the lower stom­ach and back. Even though the only way to make sure that they are be­ing ac­ti­vated cor­rectly is to have them as­sessed us­ing Real Time Ul­tra­sound, these ex­er­cises will still help you to start en­gag­ing them.

i) Lie on your back with your knees bent. Switch on your lower stom­ach mus­cles. Slowly straighten one leg out in front, then re­turn to the start­ing po­si­tion.

Harder ver­sion: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Switch on your lower stom­ach mus­cles. Hold your arms out in front (el­bows straight). Slowly straighten out one leg, tak­ing the arms up above your head at the same time, then re­turn to the start­ing po­si­tion.

Note: if you are in your sec­ond or third trimester, check with your ob­ste­tri­cian whether it’s still safe for you to do ex­er­cises ly­ing on your back.

ii) Kneel­ing on the floor, on all fours, slowly straighten one leg out be­hind you, then bring it back.

Harder ver­sion: Kneel­ing on the floor, slowly straighten out op­po­site arm and leg, then bring them back.

2. BRIDG­ING (STRENGTH­ENS THE BUT­TOCK MUS­CLES)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Switch on your lower stom­ach mus­cles. Raise

the but­tocks off the bed and hold for five sec­onds.

if you can’t lie on your back try the

fol­low­ing ver­sion in­stead: Kneel­ing, straighten one leg out be­hind you. Make sure that the lower stom­ach mus­cles are on.

3. CLAM SHELLS AND LEG RAISES (STRENGTH­ENS THE OUTER HIP MUS­CLES)

Clam shells: Ly­ing on your side, have the knees bent. Keep the heels to­gether and lift the top knee up, then bring it back down.

leg raises: Ly­ing on your side, have your legs straight. Lift the top leg up into the air (not too high). Make sure your trunk does not move or roll back­wards. Then bring your leg back down.

4. WALL PUSH-UPS (HELP IM­PROVE YOUR POS­TURE)

Keep­ing the shoul­der blades down and back, per­form a wall push-up (short range). Harder ver­sion: As above but per­form the wall push-up us­ing one arm.

5. PELVIC FLOOR EX­ER­CISES

Lie on your back with your knees bent. En­gage your core, then squeeze around the front and back pas­sages. Make sure that you don’t tighten your but­tocks (only the pelvic floor mus­cles should be work­ing). You should feel a def­i­nite let­ting go when you re­lax. This ex­er­cise can also be done in a sit­ting po­si­tion.

Mar­garita gure­vich is Se­nior Phys­io­ther­a­pist at Health point phys­io­ther­apy. She com­pleted B. Phty de­gree at La Trobe Univer­sity and Diploma of SCENAR Ther­apy in Moscow SCENAR Cen­tre. Mar­garita ex­ten­sively uses Clin­i­cal Pi­lates,

sCeNar ther­apy & other ev­i­dence-based tech­niques, in­clud­ing Real Time Ul­tra­sound and McKen­zie treat­ment. She spe­cialises in Sports In­juries, Women’s Health (in­clud­ing in­con­ti­nence) and gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues.

WISH­ING YOU ALL THE BEST ON YOUR PREG­NANCY JOUR­NEY!

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