In earlier days pregnant women were advised to completely avoid any kind of exercises as it was opined that it may lead to complications. I have seen my aunts completely cutting down on any kind physical activity, let it be even walking!! Though they didn’t have any severe complications in particular (Thank God!) while delivering the baby but they landed up putting lots of weight which was quiet difficult to get rid of later.
But today all the Gynaecologists recommend the pregnant ladies to participate in fitness activities as it has a positive impact on both baby and mother. It benefits not only physically but also mentally.
Documented benefits include: reduced risk of premature labor and very small birth weights; substantially decreased need for operative intervention and pain management during labor; shorter labor and less wight gain during pregnancy.
Still there will be mothers, aunts and a friends’ friend who will be having some scary story to tell that if one does exercise during pregnancy what all can go wrong!! And that definitely leaves our extra cautious pregnant woman fully confused. She already has so many things going on in her mind and this confusion should not bother her….it’s her time to relax. Of course, any medical restriction of exercise takes priority. You should always discus your exercise plan with your doctor and proceed as per his advice.
So here I am with the common myths and facts related to exercises during pregnancy:-
As per experts “Your abdominals and your entire core, including your pelvic floor, should be strengthened throughout pregnancy, and doing so will help not only during pregnancy, but also aid in labor and delivery and recovery,” says Sue Fleming (founder of BuffFitness.com and BuffMoms-To-Be), a certified fitness instructor. It also keeps your posture correct even after the delivery.
It is to be remembered that you should avoid any exercise that you have to do on your back after the first trimester, Fleming suggests gentle standing pelvic tilts, seated belly breathing or tightening abs, holding and then releasing are good ways to keep ab muscles in top conditions. So it is perfectly alright to do abdominal exercises, but of course do not over do it and listen to your body.
Myth No. 1 – Too much exercising during pregnancy will pull nutrients from my baby and it won’t grow properly
Facts is your baby is going to get what it needs. So if anything, you’ll have a dip in your own nutrient stores, but your baby’s stores will be fine. The way to avoid any problems for you, is to keep blood sugar levels balanced by eating smaller, richer and frequent meals and keep yourself hydrated.
Myth No. 2 – Pregnancy is not the time to start exercising if you haven’t done it before
In fact pregnancy is the best time to start this good habit as it will benefit you and your baby. You can start slow. Something as simple as walking or swimming can help you combat the fatigue of pregnancy and help you sleep better. “Ten minutes a day is a great beginning. Then increase it to 10 minutes twice a day, then gradually go up to 15 minutes,” says Fleming.
Myth No. 3 – Any sign of trouble like spotting or pain means I should stop exercising and not do it any more during my pregnancy
These are the reasons to stop exercise immediately but not forever. Tell your doctor what exactly you felt and what were you doing when you felt if, how long it lasted and the severity. And then as per the doctor’s advice you may continue or stop the exercise.
Fact No. 1 – If you were a runner before pregnancy, you can continue to run during pregnancy
If you have been a runner before pregnancy you can run until you go into labor as long as you and your pregnancy are healthy and you feel OK. But always listen to your body. Of course you should not compete with your pre-pregnancy running and with each trimester you should scale down the running.
Fact No. 2 – Pregnancy can make you more prone to certain fitness injuries :
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin that relaxes your ligaments to prepare for childbirth, but it also increases your risk of joint injuries such as ankle and knee sprains. So even if you find your joints more flexible, do not over do it as it may cause joint injuries.
Fact No. 3 – Not every exercise is safe to do during pregnancy
With advancement of pregnancy the balance of the body shifts forward thus exercises involving balance (like biking, skiing etc) or contact sports (like basketball, soccer etc), horse riding, gymnastics can be risky during pregnancy.
“After the first trimester your balance is affected. So that’s when you don’t want to anything that will put your body in an unstable position, which is any exercise or activity that requires balance,” says Fleming.
Fact No. 4 – Women who exercise throughout their pregnancy may improve the short and long term health of their baby
Babies of the exercising moms tolerate the stresses of labor and delivery better than babies of non-exercising moms. Also women who stay fit during pregnancy could help their babies develop healthy hearts and healthier blood vessels in their adult life.
Don’t run outside at the hottest, most humid time of the day. The key is to ensure adequate air flow and ambient temperature. If exercising indoors, make sure there is good ventilation. Keep in mind that during pregnancy weight loss shouldn’t be the goal of your prenatal workouts. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion. In general you should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising.
If you can’t speak normally while you’re working out, you are probably pushing yourself too hard.
Would love to hear your comments!!