Simple exercises during pregnancy and their benefits
It is very important that you select right and safe exercises for yourself during pregnancy.Your body needs the right amount of movement for a healthy pregnancy. Few selected yoga and stretching exercises along with walking is adequate for a normal pregnancy. Stretching regularly is very important for proper blood circulation and for avoidance of cramps and pains.
NOTE: Many pregnant women need bed rest during pregnancy for some reasons like low placenta. In such cases always consult your doctor before you go for even a simple breathing exercise.
Walking and Swimming
30 mins for easy walking is very beneficial. Wear good sports shoes for walking comfortably. Swimming has numerous benefits during pregnancy; it is also refreshing.
Walking in water is one of the recommended exercises for women. (Be careful while walking inside a pool. You can hold the edge for support.)
Yoga for pregnant Indian mothers
Yoga during pregnancy will keep you active and healthy.
– Pranayam/Breathing exercises
– Yoga postures/ asanas which include basic stretches are very good to keep body flexible and to improve blood circulation.
This pelvic floor muscles strengthening exercise will improve ability to control muscles during labor and delivery. Also it will help avoid urinary stress incontinence and piles after delivery. Empty your bladder before you do this exercise.
1. Lie on your back.
2. Tighten pelvic floor muscles (like you are trying to stop urination).
3. Hold the contraction for 5 secs and then relax for 5 secs.
4. Repeat it 4- 5 times in row.
After muscles get stronger you can hold the contraction for 10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds. You should do kegel exercise 3-4 times a day. You can do it any time of a day.
Neck and upper back strengthening
This stretch will relieve joints’ pain and also strengthen the joints muscles. They also help prevent possible neck/back pain after delivery
1. Stretch arms straight in front and hold hands together.
2. Stretch and extend your shoulder away from body.
3. Slowly bend your head forward as shown in the picture
4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
5. Repeat about 5 times.
1. Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, palms flat on floor with shoulder width apart. Knees should also be hip width apart. Knees exactly below the hips. Hands beneath your shoulder.
2. Relax your head. Tighten the abdominal muscles and round your back up toward the ceiling. You will feel a stretch in your whole back.
3. Hold this stretch for as long as you can hold comfortably for about 15 to 30 seconds.
4. Return to the starting position with a flat back still knees and hands on floor.
5. Relax your abdominal muscles and allow your tummy to fall downward. Lift your hips toward the ceiling like you are forming a wave.
6. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
7. Repeat 2 to 4 times
1. Stand, keep feet shoulder width apart.
2. Slowly lower your buttocks toward the floor, as if you are trying to sit on a chair. Stop in the midway as shown in the photo
3. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
4. Then bring your body to standing position by lifting your bottom first. Repeat 10 times.Squatting should be effortless; if you feel uncomfortable then you should not do this exercise.
In 3rd trimester take help from someone to hold your hands as it is difficult to maintain body balance during last few weeks. Your partner can hold your hands to share the body load and to avoid accidental fall.Also squatting brings stress on knees. Do the simple knee strengthening exercises to prevent possible pain later.
Squatting helps in baby positioning and widens the pelvic opening hence it can lead to more chances of normal delivery.
1. Stand facing towards a wall with your feet about 3 feet back from the wall.
2. Touch the wall with hand slightly wider apart than your shoulders.
3. Lean toward the wall.
4. Push your body back to your starting position.
5. Smoothly repeat 10 to 12 times.
If you are not comfortable while doing this exercise, stand closer to the wall.
Doing permitted exercises regularly in pregnancy is very good for baby’s health as you provide more oxygen to the baby. In India many women suffer from swollen feet specially in last trimester, it is good for blood circulation (if doctor has approved simple stretching exercises for you). Exercises also increase chances of normal delivery.