A pregnancy is a gift to be cherished by expecting mothers-to-be. To have the best experience possible, it might be a good idea to consider physical activity as part of one’s daily routine.
Age-old advice for expecting mothers is to avoid strenuous activity as it may affect the child they are carrying. It may be true to some extent but modern health research has revealed that even some form of exercise can actually help the mother in many exciting ways.
While advice offered in this article is backed by research, each pregnancy is unique. Thus, it is important that expecting mothers consult their personal obstetrician before undergoing any form of fitness activity.
,Benefits of exercising while pregnant
Generally exercise provides expecting mothers both physical and emotional benefits. Developing a regular fitness regimen helps mothers best prepare for the rigors and stressors of pregnancy. It can help improve sufferers of constipation, back ache, fatigue and some circulatory issues – concerns that many mothers face during this period. In fact, regular exercise can even limit the appearance of varicose veins.
Keeping to a fitness routine has been shown to help decrease the risk of certain illnesses, such as gestational diabetes. Taking up a new fitness activity may improve the expecting mother’s disposition and ease off some of the boredom that might set in during the nine months of waiting for the big day.
Moreover, developing a regular fitness regimen helps expecting mothers during the pregnancy, labor and after delivery. Regular exercise helps mothers carry the added weight gained during the pregnancy. It also helps prepare mothers for the physical stress of labor and birth. The benefits of exercise can be felt even beyond the pregnancy stage as a regular routine helps mothers get back into shape once the baby is born.
Exercises to avoid
Since pregnant women are in a delicate physical state, it is highly advised that high-impact and contact sports activities be avoided. Horseback riding, skating and other activities with the risk of falls have to be postponed until the baby is delivered. It is important to note that scuba diving is also included in the list of activities to be avoided. Research has yet to determine the danger posed by scuba diving to the unborn child.
While biking may seem like a perfectly acceptable exercise, it might be a good idea to hold off doing so while pregnant. Some expecting mothers have yet to get used to the added weight of pregnancy and might have difficulty balancing themselves on a bike. Thus, the risk of falling over and harming oneself and the baby might just be more pronounced.
Instead, mothers are recommended to take up less impactful exercise activities. Walking is a great way to start off since it is easy to do, there is no equipment needed and it helps build up cardiovascular endurance. Swimming is another great activity since it involves the whole body (especially the abdomen) without placing much stress on the joints. Further, the added buoyancy helps mothers experience comfort from the additional weight they are carrying. Prenatal yoga and some stretching can improve flexibility and ease tension experienced at this time.