Pregnancy is a beautiful moment in a womanâ€™s life, and physical exercise is essential for a happy experience. Though good care and rest is essential, physical exercise is recommended by gynaecologists and obstetricians to help reducing pregnancy complications, giving birth to healthy babies, an overall positive mood, lower blood pressure, easing of back and pelvic pain, building stamina, preventing gestational diabetes, sleep improvement, fighting fatigue, easing labour and a speedy recovery.
An active body is beneficial for the developing baby as well. But, you must make sure that you consult your doctor before starting your exercise regimen.
How can I tone different parts of my body?
You could begin your exercise routine with a few basic stretches to warm up. These will help to relieve tension and warm up muscles and joints, preparing your body for slightly more intensive exercise. These stretches will also stimulate blood circulation, and send the foetus a good supply of oxygen.
Head and Neck:
Tilt your head to one side, then gently rotate your head to the back and then to the other side. Complete circling your neck by bringing your head to the front, with your chin touching the centre of your collarbones. Repeat this exercise about 5 times in one direction, and 5 times in the other direction.
Sit on the floor and cross your legs. Gently stretch your neck upwards keeping your back straight. Turn your torso to the right while breathing out and place your right hand behind you for support. Your left hand is on your right knee while you stretch little further. Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat it for five times in one direction and for five times in the other direction.
Arms and Shoulders:
Sit with your legs tucked underneath your thighs, lift your right arm up towards the ceiling. Now bend the elbow and drop your head backwards. Hold your right elbow with your left hand and stretch a little further. Next, put your left hand down and stretch it behind your back to reach out for your right hand. Stretch for about 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise with the other arm.
Legs and Feet:
Stretch your legs out in front of you and keep your back straight. Place your hands on each side of your hips for support. Gently bend your knee and straighten. Repeat with the second leg. (This will help tone your muscles and relieve cramps) Flex your foot outwards and draw circles in the air with your ankles. Do not strain.
What kinds of exercises are safe during pregnancy?
It is a common misconception that exercise is difficult during pregnancy. Therefore, here are some safe exercises to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Check with your doctor to ensure safety before attempting these exercises.
Stand with your back straight against a wall, and place your feet shoulder wide apart. Keep a distance of six inches from the wall and your arms relaxed. Slowly move down the wall in a squatting position keeping your thighs parallel to the floor. Retain your back straight throughout the exercise. Hold the position for ten seconds and slowly slide back to a standing position. Repeat this a few times.
Squatting helps in opening the pelvic outlet which allows more room for the baby to descend. Practising it frequently can help to strengthen your uterine muscles.
2. Tailor Sitting
Sit on the floor in a butterfly position, with your legs tucked under your hips and knees spread out. Press both knees towards the floor with your elbows, till you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Keep your back straight and do not bounce your knees. To help you keep your back straight, use a wall for support. Hold the position for ten seconds, relax and repeat five to ten times.
Tailor sitting strengthens and stretches your back muscles, thighs, and pelvis and improves your posture. This exercise also helps to keep your pelvic joints flexible, improves blood flow to your lower body and eases delivery. Your body is very flexible during pregnancy and these exercises will work on your flexibility. They should be done in moderation as your health and comfort level is of prime importance.
There are other options for pregnant women who have been disallowed from the above exercises by their doctors. Such medical conditions may include spotting, bleeding, low placenta, threatened or recurrent miscarriage, previous premature births or weak cervix.
Walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that keeps you fit and does not require any special equipment apart from a good pair of walking shoes as it is safe to do on all nine months of pregnancy. Begin by taking shorter walks at a slow pace moving on to 30-minute sessions.
Join a pregnancy class, where you would be trained with other mothers-to-be to safely strengthen your heart and tone down your body with aerobics. But beware of leaps, jumps or twirls. Apart from exercise, pregnant mothers should also practise yoga, meditation, stretching and weight training.
Pregnant mothers should start taking exercise and meditation seriously to ensure a healthy baby. Add healthy and wholesome food, a positive mood and a loving family, your baby will develop as a healthy and happy child.
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- The Indiaparenting Team