The Ultimate Guide to Antenatal exercises

Antenatal exercises plays a very important role in pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time of great physical and mental changes for both the mother and the fetus. There are a variety of exercises that pregnant women can do to maintain their health and well-being, both during and after pregnancy. These  exercises help pregnant women to maintain a healthy weight, improve circulation, and reduce stress.

In this article, we  shall discuss :

 

    • benefits of prenatal exercise for pregnant women and their unborn children, 

    • contraindications for Antenatal exercises

    • the types of prenatal exercise that are safest for pregnant women

    • the precautions pregnant women should take when engaging in prenatal exercise.

What are the benefits of antenatal exercises?

Exercise in pregnancy not only improves the overall health of the mother, but also influences the fetal health positively as well as fostering a favourable birth experience. Specifically,  antenatal exercises can:

 

    • help to improve the muscle tone in the pelvic floor and improve childbirth outcomes.

    • help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control.

    • help to reduce the risk of uterine prolapse and incontinence.

    • help to improve the flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the risk of childbirth pain.

    •  help to increase the pelvic floor muscle strength and endurance, which can improve postnatal recovery.

    • help to reduce the likelihood of developing chronic diseases later in life such as diabetes mellitus and also helps in managing gestational diabetes mellitus

    • help to improve the health and wellbeing of the mother during and after pregnancy.

    • help to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy, including premature labour and low birth weight babies as well as reduce the risk of postnatal complications(e.g. postnatal depression)

Generally, exercises  increase strength and flexibility as well as breastfeeding success; better breathing and circulation, better balance and coordination.

Antenatal exercises

Contraindications for Exercise during Pregnancy

 

    •  Incompetent cervix/cerclage

    • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding

    • Premature labour during the current pregnancy

    • Placenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation

    • Multiple pregnancy at risk for premature labour

    • Haemodynamically significant heart disease

 

    • Ruptured membranes

    • Preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

    • Restrictive lung disease

What are the best exercises for pregnant women according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG)?

ACOG and National Institutes of Health

recommended the following for  exercise in pregnancy: 

 

    • Pregnant women should choose an exercise that they enjoy and can do easily.

    • Pregnant women should avoid excessive lifting, running and jumping. However, walking is a good exercise for pregnant women.

    • Pregnant women should aim to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every day.

    • Pregnant women should aim to do 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise every day.

    • Pregnant women should aim to do 2–3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.

    • Take breaks and drink plenty of water during your workout.

    • Pregnant women should aim to do each exercise with a moderate intensity.

    • Pregnant women should aim to do each exercise slowly and with good form.

    • Repeat the routine regularly to improve your fitness level.

Mayo Clinic also recommended these tips for exercises in pregnancy:

 

    • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity over time.

    • Perform moderate-intensity exercises for 30 to 60 minutes at least four times a week.

    • Perform vigorous-intensity exercises for no more than 10 minutes once a week.

    •  Avoid exercise the day before you expect your labor to begin.

    • Avoid exercise the day of your delivery.

    • Avoid exercise if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort.

    • Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

What are safe exercises during pregnancy?

1.Walking: A moderate amount of walking is beneficial for pregnant women.

ACOG recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, including at least 30 minutes of walking. 

Walking can help improve your circulation, help you maintain your weight, and help you get pregnant. It also helps improve your mood, increase your endurance, and help you keep up with your daily routine.

2.Strength Training: 

ACOG recommends at least 30 minutes of strength training per week, including at least two days of resistance training that includes mild weightlifting and two days of aerobic activity. Strength training can help you maintain your weight, improve your posture, and help you get pregnant.

3.Yoga: 

Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and  anxiety. It improves your flexibility, balance,strength and endurance, which can help you maintain your pregnancy and improve your overall health.

4.Swimming: 

Swimming can help improve your flexibility and balance, which can help you maintain your pregnancy and improve your overall health. It helps your body to release endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce stress.

5.Dancing

Dancing has been shown to improve your cardiovascular health, which can help you maintain your pregnancy and improve your overall health.

6.Prenatal massage: 

Prenatal massage can help to improve relaxation, circulation, and overall health.

7.Strength training: Strength training can help you maintain your pregnancy weight, build muscle, and reduce your risk of pregnancy-related complications.

8.Aerobic exercises: moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, running, biking and using an elliptical machine, is beneficial for pregnant women. It can help to improve heart health, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

9.Kegels: This is a pelvic floor strengthening exercise, which helps improve childbirth experiences, lower the need for episiotomy or risk of lacerations during delivery.

Tofort’s Recommendations for exercise in pregnancy

We at Tofort via our experts make the following tips for prenatal exercises:

 

    • Get fit before you get pregnant. The earlier you start, the better.

    • Start with gentle exercises such as walking and swimming.

    • pregnant women  can engage in regular aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises. 

    • Avoid excessive weight-lifting and working out at a high intensity.

    • Pregnant women should avoid exercises that put pressure on the spine. Avoid exercises that cause pain in the joints.

    • Make sure to wear comfortable clothing when you exercise.

    • Drink plenty of water while you are exercising.

    • Take breaks often. Exercise should not be done for long periods of time at a time.

    • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol while you are pregnant.

    • Be sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. But avoid exercises that involve jumping or heavy weights.

    • Pregnant women should consult their healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.

The bottom line

Antenatal exercises have been shown to have many benefits for both mother and baby. There are a variety of exercises that pregnant women can do, and the best way to find the ones that are best for them is to ask their doctor or health care provider for recommendations.

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