Exercise in Pregnancy

Key informations for you

  • During pregnancy, aerobic and strength conditioning exercise is considered to be safe and beneficial.
  • The aim of recreational exercise during pregnancy is to stay fit, rather than to reach peak fitness.
  • You should take extra care when doing exercises where there is a possibility of losing your balance.
  • You should avoid contact sports where there is a risk of being hit in the Abdomen.
  • If you experience any unusual symptoms like breathlessness , you should not continue to exercise. You should contact your healthcare professional immediately.
  • If you have a medical condition, you should discuss this with your healthcare professional before doing recreational exercise.
  • Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and immediately after birth may reduce the risk of urinary and faecal incontinence in the future.
  • For most women, it is safe to exercise as soon after the birth as they feel ready.
  • Recreational exercise does not affect the amount of milk you produce or its quality.

Pregnancy back care: like try to stand tall, seat with proper back support on lower back, avoid forward bending and lifting heavy object.

Pelvic floor exercises: Tighten the pelvic floor muscle (while, imagine you have a full bladder but there are no toilets available and you must wait; squeeze and shut your front passage tight and tries to lift it away from the chair) for count of 6 and relax for 6 seconds. Repeat 25 times. Do 3 times each day.

Pelvic-tilting exercises: Whilst drawing your tummy in, gently squeeze your pelvic floor and buttocks, tilt your pelvis up and flatten your back into the floor or bed. Hold for a count of 5 then let go.

Exercises for circulation and cramp: Ankle dorsiflexion and plantar flexion, and foot circling carried out for 30 seconds regularly and additionally for cramp relief, include avoiding long periods of sitting, a pre-bedtime walk, calf stretches, a warm bath, and foot and ankle exercises in bed before going to sleep.

Stress control and Relaxation: stress-induced tension in the muscles that work to create the typical posture may be released by voluntary contraction of the opposing muscle groups. Other methods are; Visualisation and imagery techniques, Touch, Massage and Breathing exercises.

Aerobic exercise during pregnancy: exercises like, walking, stationary bicycling, swimming, water aerobics etc. All women to participate in mild to moderate exercise, for both strength and cardiovascular benefits, 15 to 30 minutes/session, most days of the week. Avoid supine positions after the first trimester.
When fatigued, women should stop the exercising and never exercise to exhaustion. The maternal heart rate should not exceed 140 b.p.m. and vigorous exercise should not continue for longer than 15 minutes. Fluid must be taken before, during and after exertion to avoid dehydration, and energy intake must be sufficient for the needs of pregnancy as well as the exercise.

BREATHING FOR LABOUR

Labour contractions may be painful, but it is essential to emphasise their positive, productive nature. Contractions are an ‘absolute’ certainly, they will happen.
First stage: Deep, slow, easy breathing – pausing between expiration and inspiration – may be all that some women use in the first stage. This can be introduced as gentle ‘feather’ or ‘candle’ breathing.

Transition stage: The end of the first stage (or transition) is a very special time for the labouring woman. The contractions are probably unremitting in strength and ferocity; the pain may well be intense. It is at this point in labour that hyperventilation, various strategies have been recommended:

  • SOS – ‘sigh out softly’ – gentle expiratory sighs, released at the peak of contractions.
  • Sighing the breath out while saying ‘hoo-hoo-hah’ gently and slowly. Breathing in and out continues; only the ‘hah’ is a long expiration.
  • Saying ‘I won’t push’; breathing in and out for the first two words, and giving a long sigh out for the word ‘push’. This should also be gentle, and as slow as possible.
  • ‘Puff, puff, blow’; this should be a gentle panting interspersed with a sharp blow out, and is useful to overcome premature pushing urges.

Stage two: this the stage of breathing and pushing. The woman can breathe in, then slowly out on exertion (e.g. during defaecation) so that it will become instinctive to ‘breathe’ out as she pushes, and to maintain the push at the same time as she breathes in. Each push should last about 5 to 10 seconds, and each contraction may demand three to four pushes.
The deep inhalation provides mother and foetus with a good supply of oxygen. Exhalation on exertion works with the muscular contraction of the uterus to best effect. It is absolutely essential that the push is ‘felt’ through the perineum.
Another option is to breathe in, and out, then in again and ‘hold’, for no more than 6 seconds, whilst ‘pushing’.

Summary

Exercise is an important component of healthy lifestyle and, as such recommended during pregnancy. Inactive pregnant women may begin a program of regular physical activity to improve their fitness level, manage their weight, and help to prevent associated medical condition such as gestational diabetes and hypertension