Nawaz Modi Sing­ha­nia’s pre­na­tal work­out

Fit­ness ex­pert Nawaz Modi Sing­ha­nia shares tips on mak­ing your pre­na­tal ex­er­cise ses­sions more com­fort­able and ef­fec­tive, while fo­cus­ing on safety.

Savvy - - Contents -

Time and again, we have seen women look just as good, if not bet­ter, af­ter child­birth. If you put in the ef­fort, it can be done. By work­ing out dili­gently and safely, im­prov­ing eat­ing habits, in­creas­ing rest, elim­i­nat­ing bad habits and re­ceiv­ing ad­e­quate pre­na­tal care, a preg­nant ex­er­ciser can be­come health­ier than ever be­fore.

Women are of­ten un­aware that preg­nancy, labour and de­liv­ery are like train­ing for and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a ma­jor ath­letic event. All or­gans and sys­tems are af­fected. Were you aware that the uterus en­larges 10-15 times within the span of 36 weeks? No other mus­cle or or­gan has such a fan­tas­tic abil­ity to grow in such a short span of time!


Car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness can be main­tained and even im­proved dur­ing preg­nancy. Mus­cu­lar strength can be in­creased dur­ing preg­nancy, thereby au­to­mat­i­cally re­duc­ing the risk of in­jury.

Pos­ture can be sub­stan­tially im­proved by de­vel­op­ing the mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem. Strength­en­ing the ab­dom­i­nals coun­ter­acts lor­do­sis, which is a com­mon pos­tural de­vi­a­tion dur­ing preg­nancy.

Flex­i­bil­ity is an at­tain­able and a de­sir­able goal dur­ing preg­nancy.

Psy­cho­log­i­cal well-be­ing is en­hanced. An im­proved self­im­age and body im­age are eas­ily met when preg­nant women ex­er­cise in a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment. It’s im­por­tant to avoid ex­ces­sive weight gain, but to learn to cope com­fort­ably with the healthy in­crease in body weight.

Ex­er­cise and the birthing process are be­lieved to be core­lated. While there is no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence avail­able to cor­rob­o­rate the view that ex­er­cise will ease labour by mak­ing it less painful or shorter, or that the risk of com­pli­ca­tions will be di­min­ished, ex­er­cise con­trib­utes to­wards im­proved en­durance or stamina, which is a great as­set dur­ing labour.

Lastly, ex­er­cise helps you re­gain your orig­i­nal shape and size much faster post-preg­nancy, as com­pared to if you didn’t ex­er­cise at all.


These guide­lines aim at mak­ing your ex­er­cise ses­sions more com­fort­able and ef­fec­tive, while fo­cus­ing on safety…


Al­ways con­sult with your doc­tor or gynaec be­fore you em­bark on an ex­er­cise pro­gramme.


A min­i­mum of 5-7 min­utes for both, a warm-up to start with and a cool-down right be­fore clos­ing the ses­sion, are es­sen­tial. The warm-up will help you stretch out, and get the heart, lungs and mus­cles ready for ex­er­cise. It is also a very im­por­tant tool in in­jury preven­tion. The cool-down helps you stretch and re­lax the mus­cles you have worked hard, while elim­i­nat­ing the waste prod­ucts of ex­er­cise from your sys­tem. Calf stretches will elim­i­nate nightly cramp­ing in the calves which is rather com­mon in ad­vanced preg­nancy. (Demon­strated in Fig 1).


Low to mod­er­ate in­ten­si­ties of ex­er­cise are pre­ferred dur­ing preg­nancy. Never go high on in­ten­sity, as this can lead to se­ri­ous dam­age.


Ide­ally, let a well-trained, qual­i­fied fit­ness in­struc­tor tai­lor an ef­fec­tive, low im­pact work­out for you. He/ she will make var­i­ous changes and mod­i­fi­ca­tions to ac­com­mo­date the preg­nancy and your chang­ing needs.

Fi­nally, re­mem­ber to do only what you com­fort­ably can. Don’t try and com­pete with your for­mer non­preg­nant self. Do as much or as lit­tle as your body com­fort­ably al­lows.

Pos­ture can be sub­stan­tially im­proved by de­vel­op­ing the mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem.


Here are a few sim­ple ex­er­cises you can be­gin with…

The ex­er­cise in Fig 2 strength­ens and tones the outer thighs and hips. While ly­ing down on your side as demon­strated, lift the outer leg up as you breathe out, and lower it, with­out al­low­ing it to touch the lower leg, as you breathe in. Make sure your hips stay prop­erly aligned, one on top of the other at all times. The ex­er­cise can be done ei­ther by us­ing re­sis­tance tub­ing, or by us­ing strap on weights above the knee caps, or even with no weights or strap-ons at all. Be­gin by do­ing 2 sets of 10 rep­e­ti­tions on each leg.

To work the ab­dom­i­nals, sit with your knees apart and bent. Arms ex­tended out par­al­lel to the floor, slowly roll back half­way from sit­ting up and ly­ing down as shown in Fig 3. Keep the chin close to your chest and your spine rounded. Re­turn to the up­right po­si­tion. Start by do­ing this 6-8 times, and then grad­u­ally build it up to 15. Noth­ing should be done with­out the knowl­edge, con­sent and writ­ten med­i­cal clear­ance of your gynaec. And never do any­thing with­out a qual­i­fied trainer present at all times.

Healthy moth­ers pro­duce healthy ba­bies. En­joy the best of health at this very spe­cial time!

Make sure your hips stay prop­erly aligned, one on top of the other at all times.

Fig 1

Fig 3

Fig 2

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