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Benefits of Exercise (to Mother and Baby)

How do I cope with the numerous discomforts of pregnancy (Dr. Rita Shah)

You will soon realize that during pregnancy all your body functions like eating, sleeping, breathing, eliminating, walking, etc take on new dimensions, becoming a challenge for you.  These changes that occur are normal, expected and temporary.  Many of the exercises that you will learn in the antenatal classes will help in mitigating the discomfort. 

Why should one exercise during pregnancy (Dr. Rita Shah)

The exercises are aimed at the following:

  • Improving posture and appearance
  • Relieving back pain
  • Strengthening muscles for delivery and for supporting loosened joints
  • Relieving muscle cramps
  • Enhancing circulation
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Increasing energy level by combating fatigue
  • Promoting feelings of well-being and developing a positive self image

Will exercise benefit my baby

Yes.  Exercise is extremely good for the foetus because it causes blood flow to increase and improve the baby's growth and development.  Exercise also makes the baby's brain and other tissues start functioning in optimum condition. Research has shown that hormones released during exercise cross the placenta and reach the foetus, almost like a shot of adrenaline.  The adrenaline boost gives the baby an emotional lift and a surge of oxygen increases the baby's metabolism.  Endorphins that are released after exercising have a powerful tranquilizing effect on the baby.  This effect lasts for upto 8 hours.  The continuous rocking motion as a result of exercising also soothes the baby and gives it a secure and comfortable feeling. 

So go ahead and exercise.  As long as you are exercising within limits and in accordance with your doctor's instructions, your baby will be fine.

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