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Exercise During Pregnancy – Make Mommy & Baby Healthy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015
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Exercise During Pregnancy – Make Mommy & Baby Healthy!Exercise During Pregnancy - Helps grow a healthy baby
What’s healthy for you is healthy for your baby - be active...

Pregnancy and Exercise
We’re pregnant! Two amazing words for a couple wanting to have a baby.

For the mother to be – over the next nine months her body is going to go through a myriad of changes, including both necessary and unnecessary weight gain. Her biggest challenge will be to balance good nutrition without putting on too much weight, all the while remaining fit and healthy.

Of the many questions that crosses the mind of a pregnant woman is whether she should exercise during her pregnancy, and if so then what kind and how much to exercise. Many pregnant women do not feel motivated to exercise however exercising can have many positive effects. If you have already been exercising or plan to start now, you must discuss your exercise regimen with your doctor, to ensure that it is safe for you and your baby.

Benefits of exercise

    Exercise During Pregnancy – Make Mommy & Baby Healthy!
  1. Exercise improves energy levels and helps you cope better with the hormonal changes taking place. Pregnancy can sap your energy. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system and tones muscles and keeps fatigue at bay.
  2. It also relieves backaches and improves posture by strengthening and toning of back, butt and thigh muscles.
  3. Reduces constipation
  4. Prevents wear and tear on your joints
  5. It may lower your risk of pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
  6. Improves sleep - With all the extra weight around your tummy, you may end up tossing and turning for a long time trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. Exercise helps to burn extra calories and gets you tired enough to fall into a deeper more restful sleep.
  7. Prepares you for childbirth. Childbirth requires stamina, determination, and focus. When the heart and muscles are stronger, labor becomes easier and may become shorter. Control over your breathing can help you manage pain better.
  8. Reduces stress. During pregnancy, one goes through changing emotions and mood swings. Exercise boosts levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood swings, putting you in a happier mode. Improves self image.
  9. Your weight will increase at a very fast pace especially during the second and third trimester. Regular physical activity will ensure that you gain less fat weight. You should not try to lose weight by exercising; the goal is to maintain a good fitness level throughout pregnancy.
  10. Exercise improves blood flow to your skin giving you a healthier glow.
  11. Gets you back in shape faster. If you've maintained your strength and muscle tone throughout your pregnancy, your body will find it easier to bounce back after childbirth.

Precautions: You may have to limit your exercise if you have conditions like, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, early contractions, vaginal bleeding, unusual pain, a history of miscarriage etc.

Its best to avoid exercises where there is a high potential for hard falls. These include horse-riding, downhill skiing, gymnastics and waterskiing.

Popular safe exercises include yoga, walking, jogging, stationary cycling, and swimming.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as you don't have a medical condition or complication that needs to avoid or limit the amount of exercise. At the end of the day – exercise makes for a healthy pregnancy, baby and post delivery beautiful body.

By Poonam Vaswani
Senior Dietitian,



User Comments

24 February, 2013 | Pragya Sharma | Reply

Pragya Sharma I regularly do yoga, doing all kinds of asanaas. I have history of pre-mature baby in 7th month. Now I want to conceive again, so should I stop doing yoga or can I continue till the time I discover my conception?

25 February, 2013 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Pragya,
As long as you are not doing anything briskly, normally yoga should not affect conception as many people who are doing yoga discover they are pregnant and then discuss with both their gynecologist and/or yoga instructor to discontinue till delivery, or not do certain exercises or learn exercises specially for a healthy pregnancy etc.
Anyway since you have a history of miscarriage (reasons for which we don't know) I suggest you consult your gynecologist and then take the call.
Its important that you eat healthy, walk regularly for at least 30-40 mts at a medium pase, or swim preferably breast stroke, but its also VITAL that you sleep well and RELAX and keep your mind cal., We are sure that you will conceive in good time.
I would suggest you discuss all these strategies with your gynecologist so that she will guide you through a healthy and happy pregnancy after conception.
All the best my dear.

22 May, 2012 | Shruthi | Reply

Shruthi What are kegel exercises? I heard they are highly recommended for pregnant women.

23 May, 2012 | Poonam | Reply

Poonam Hello Shruthi,
Kegel exercise is a "pelvic floor exercise" which consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing pelvic floor muscles.The aim is to strengthen muscle tone. These exercise is often prescribed for pregnant women to prepare the pelvic floor for the stresses related to pregnancy and delivery.

01 May, 2012 | Pragya Sampath | Reply

Pragya Sampath I work out regularly and alternate between going to the gym and doing yoga. I take part in many contact sport activities and now planning to run a marathon. I got married a couple of years back and we now want to have a baby. Is it alright if I pursue my physical activities or do I have to stop them if I want to conceive?

23 May, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Pragya it was truly heartening to note on how active you are especially when we are trying so hard to motivate people to take up regular physical activity and a healthy life style. We wish you the very best for the marathon.

However when you want to conceive you may have to go slow on heavy exercising. Once you conceive and post the 1st trimester you can probably learn the right exercises in Yoga and or go for a walk (in conjunction with your gynecologist of course) just so you continue to keep fit and healthy for one and have an easy delivery for another. You can go back to your original life once you stop nursing your baby.
Nevertheless it would be in your interest to have this discussion with your gynec and take a second opinion from her/him

25 April, 2012 | Richa | Reply

Richa How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?

30 April, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Richa. There is no one size fits all weight gain that we can suggest as it depends on various factors. It ranges from as low as 11 pounds or around 5 kgs in an obese person to as much as 40 pounds or 18 kgs in an underweight person. You need to take into account your pre-pregnancy weight; your body mass index (BMI).Your health and your fetus (baby's) health also play a role.
Pre pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain
Underweight(BMI less than 18.5) / 28-40 pounds (about 13 to 18 kgs),
Normal weight(BMI 18.5 to 24.9) / 25-35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kgs),
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) / 15-25 pounds (about 7 to 11 kgs),
Obese (BMI 30 or more) /11-20 pounds (about 5 to 9 kgs).
Your gynecologist will help you decide on and work with the weight gain that is best for you. We have not discussed if there are twins or more here.
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar,
Senior Dietitian
The NutritionVista Team

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Tags: Anemia, Children's Health, Eat Healthy, Exercise and Yoga, Folic Acid, General health, Nutritional Myths, Pregnancy / Lactation, Sedentary Lifestyle, Women's Health


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