An oft asked question is about the safety of exercising during pregnancy. The answer is a `Yes` in most cases - as in everything else, there are exceptions here too. In general, regular exercise helps to promote muscle tone and increases your strength and endurance. It definitely helps in preparing you for the stress of labour - something most new mothers dread. Exercise also helps you to get back into shape faster after childbirth. If you are active during the period of your pregnancy you will probably escape the discomfort of backaches, fatigue and even constipation. Exercise will also help you have a fitful sleep.
Before you start on the exercise program:
- Exercise for a limited time. Do not exert yourself.
- Take extra care if you have been told that there is a chance of your baby arriving earlier or if you have high BP.
- Continuing with your usual exercise provided it is not too strenuous is safe, but do consult your doctor before you start any new program.
- Remember that the ligaments and joints in your body undergo a change. They become softer during pregnancy. Your body weight also begins to increase more in front. Never hesitate to check with the doctor if there is any unusual pain.
- An energetic brisk walk, swimming, low impact exercises like Tai chi and moderate to slow stationary cycling should help you to keep fit.
- Vigorous games like tennis or even jogging can throw you completely off balance. Definitely avoid horse riding at any stage of your pregnancy.
- If you are not an exercise person, understand the importance of physical activity during pregnancy. Start with a low level of exercise and build up slowly.
A few guidelines:
- Attempt to exercise only if you feel healthy and your body tells you that you can take it.
- Avoid exercising on very hot and humid days.
- The hottest time of the day is not the ideal time for you to exercise.
- Do not exercise till you are ready to drop. Stop when you feel tired.
- Remember to drink plenty o water or you will get easily dehydrated.
- Do not exercise even If you have the symptoms of a flu or a fever.
- Always wear comfortable cotton clothes when you are exercising.
- Your exercise program should always have a warm up and cool down. This is mandatory and should never be skipped.
- After the first trimester, avoid doing exercises that involve your lying flat on your back.
- Never exercise standing for long periods in one spot. This is dangerous as it can reduce the blood flow to the foetus.
- Should you experience symptoms like bleeding, cramps, faintness or dizziness just stop immediately. Simply lie down and call your doctor. It might turn out to be an emergency.