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Effect of Exercises on Mental Health in Pregnancy

Being home quarantined, staying indoors, constant feeds from social media, watching the daily rise in positive cases is taking a toll on everybody’s mental health. Pregnant ladies, however, are at greater risk of experiencing the changes in their mindset because of changes in hormones.

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As soon as a woman becomes pregnant, she is suggested what to do, and suddenly a sense of precaution/prevention arises because whatever she does affects the overall health of the baby. That is the reason behind being in stress is not considered healthy for pregnant mothers.

Learn more: Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The Link Between Mental Health and Cosmetic Surgery

There are various benefits of exercising in pregnancy, one such effect is on mental health. Exercises help the release of endorphin, this is a type of neurotransmitter, or a chemical messenger and helps in relieving pain and stress. This is one important neurotransmitter which is secreted, along with this dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are also released and helps in regulating the mood. Physical activity increases the serotonin levels in the brain which in turn boosts mood and overall sense of well being. It also improves your appetite and sleep cycles, which are often affected when in stress. Certain exercises which can be helpful are -

Deep Breathing exercises

Practising deep breathing exercises in pregnancy on a regular basis not only helps in increasing lung capacity but also, in turn, increases the oxygen intake in the body. The time spent focusing on the breath and trying to make it slow and relaxed also works as a time utilized in meditation. Sit in a comfortable position, cross-legged with/without back support with eyes closed, take a deep breath in through the nose and slowly exhale out from the mouth.

Read more: Good and Healthy Fats : Role in Insulin resistance?

Brisk Walking

Walking is a most common form of activity suggested by gynaecologists .it helps in preventing chances of developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and helps in maintaining a healthy weight gain .in pregnancy 30-40 min of continuous walking is suggested, however, if feeling tired can start with 20 minutes and increase gradually.

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises help relieve pain/ache and also helps in preventing them. Calf, hamstring and upper body muscles must be regularly stretched.

Prenatal exercises

Prenatal exercises are the systematic flow of pregnancy exercises that are suggested by physiotherapists according to their trimester and current body and health status.

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Exercises in pregnancy have multi-fold benefits including mental, physical as well as hormonal. Expectant women must exercise as per recommendation by their primary doctor and as suggested by the physiotherapist to make the journey from pregnancy to becoming a mother hassle-free.

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