Here are some more answers to commonly asked questions on exercise during pregnancy.
How Can I tell if I am over-exercising?
According to ACOG, a pregnant woman should cease exercising and contact her health care provider if she experiences: Vaginal bleeding Dyspnoea before exertion Headache Chest pain Muscle weakness Calf pain or swelling (need to rule out thrombophlebitis) Preterm labor Decreased fetal movement Amniotic fluid leakage Remember, it is best to be slow and regular with your exercise than it is to over-exercise and risk harm to yourself and your baby. The rule of thumb should be to exercise at least four times a week, even if it just means walking for an hour around the block. If you walk on a treadmill, ensure that the incline is set to nil. Also, ensure that there is adequate air-conditioning to prevent your body from getting inordinately heated. Keep a glass of water next to you, and keep sipping.
I often feel short of Breath. What can I do to breathe easier?
Breathlessness is caused when your growing uterus pushes on the diaphragm. This leaves less room for your lungs to expand. Keep breathing and practice deeper or slower breathing. This will help increase the flow of oxygen to your system. If you were thinking of taking up pranayam or taking up meditation, now is the time. However, remember that although Pranayam is nothing but various ways of deep breathing, it can be truly exhausting. You must let your instructor know that you are pregnant, and take the permission of your doctor before starting pranayam. Alternatively you could enroll in a Lamaze class, which also largely focuses on breathing techniques, and how the way you breathe can help you when you labour.
What is Kegel's Exercise?
Kegel's strengthens the pelvic floor muscles that support the uterus, bowel and bladder and help prevent possible incontinence. For doing this, all you need to do is pretend you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Practice this a few times so you understand what muscles you need to contract, and keep contracting these muscles a number of times during a day. Contract and hold, and release. Do these exercises in sets of 10, 3-4 times a day. The longer you hold the muscles and the more regularly you practice this exercise, the stronger your muscles will get. In addition, this is a great exercise as it can be done anytime during the day.
Is it true that exercise diverts blood flow and glucose from fetus?
It does, but according to studies it does not have a prolonged or harmful effect on growing baby.
When can I restart exercise after birth?
Rest for around 4-6 weeks if you had a vaginal delivery and 6-8 weeks if you had a Caesarean Section. Wait for at least 3 months after a C-Section before starting any abdominal exercises like stomach crunches. Also, always check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme after delivery. It is best if you start slow, with something like walking.