Fit and Fine: Staying Active During Pregnancy

Working towards fitness is important at every juncture of our lives. However, being active is even more crucial during pregnancy since it helps your body prepare for a safe and easy labour. After all, only a healthy and energetic mom can raise a healthy and energetic baby.In case you were not very health-conscious before your pregnancy, here is some good news that will motivate you to get moving. Exercising regularly while you are expecting will improve your muscle tone, strength and endurance. This in turn will help you better carry the additional weight you gain during pregnancy, besides preparing you for the physical demands of labour and caring for a newborn.More importantly, a mother-to-be who is active during her pregnancy will find it easier to get back into shape after her baby’s birth. Take the instance of walking. Walking for 30 minutes or more daily helps reduce weight gain by approximately 8%. So, unless advised by your doctor to avoid any exertions due to some complications in the pregnancy, make it a habit to stay as active as is possible.Simple Ways to Stay FitStaying fit while you are expecting does not mean you need to sign up for a gym membership. On the contrary, all you need to do is adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes a healthy diet coupled with some sprightly activities. These activities will help strengthen your lower back and leg muscles and reduce backaches due to the added weight of your baby.You can begin by practicing some breathing exercises daily that provide enough oxygen to muscles. Don’t forget to include gentle warm-up movements – like leg, neck and back stretches – in your fitness regime as these relax your muscles. After a sufficient warm-up, proceed to a slow walk on the treadmill or in your neighborhood garden, for about half hour.If you were very active before your pregnancy, you continue with activities like gentle swimming and light aerobics, but only after checking with your doctor. It is advisable to abstain from exercises that include bouncing, bobbing or jerking movements.If you have a history of premature deliveries, or been diagnosed with low-lying placenta, vascular or respiratory conditions, breech position of the baby, vaginal discharge, thyroid or diabetic conditions, your doctor might suggest that you avoid exercises. In most cases, however, the mother-to-be can indulge in moderate exercises until the 36th week, provided she is comfortable and her doctor does not find any cause for concern. Walking is one activity that you can continue until you are due.Taking CareAs your pregnancy progresses, your sense of balance and posture alters. Your body also works harder to supply enough oxygen to your baby, so don’t be worried if you feel less energetic and tire quicker. Listen closely to your body and it will tell you if you are working yourself too hard.Getting slightly sweaty is fine, but don’t exercise till you are exhausted or can’t hold a conversation; this is a sign that your baby and you are getting less oxygen. Also, exercising in the hot weather is not recommended as you will sweat more and feel exhausted faster.While you can continue with your regular routine activities throughout the pregnancy, avoid twisting movements at the neck and waist. If you want to pick up objects from the floor, don’t bend down. Instead, squatholding on to some support and pick things up.Similarly, don’t lift heavy weights or participate in activities that involve bouncing or sudden movements. While swimming is generally permitted during pregnancy, excessive breaststroke towards the end of your pregnancy can put a stress on your pelvis and is best avoided.So there you have it! You need not put fitness on the backburner just because you areexpecting. Instead, make an active lifestyle a habit that your baby can emulate and watch your little one blossom into a healthy individual.

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