Exercises During Pregnancy

published on: 15th march, 2021

Maintaining regular exercise throughout pregnancy can help you stay healthy, prevent excessive weight gain, and decrease the risk of venous thrombosis. It can improve your posture, mood and decrease some common discomfort such as constipation, backache, and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent high blood sugar develops during pregnancy, relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.

Before you start an exercise program in a pregnancy speak with your doctor to make sure that you don’t have any health /pregnancy issues that may prevent you from participating in regular exercise during your pregnancy.

There is no evidence to suggest that regular exercise during a healthy pregnancy increases your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and early delivery. Most of the exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.

Exercise may be harmful if you have a pregnancy-related conditions such as bleeding /spotting, severe anemia, Low lying placenta, threatened miscarriage, high blood pressure during pregnancy, history of early labor, weak cervix, pregnancy with more than one fetus , and a certain type of heart and lung diseases.

Ideally, healthy pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. You don’t have to do it at once; you can break it up through the week.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don’t try to exercise at your former level; instead, do what is most comfortable for you now. As your belly gets bigger later in pregnancy, you may need a belly support belt to reduce discomfort while walking .

If you have never exercised regularly before, you can safely begin an aerobic exercise program during pregnancy after consulting with your obstetrician. Start slowly and build up your fitness little by little. You can add 5 minutes each week until you stay active for 30 minutes a day. Brisk walking is considered safe to initiate that does not strain your joints and muscles.

Aerobic exercise involves continuous activity that moves a large muscle of the body in a rhythmic way and elevates the heart and breathing rates to start sweating. These exercises like brisk walking, stationary cycling, swimming, and general gardening (racking, weeding).

Strengthening /resistance exercises can be provided by lightweights lifting(avoid heavy-weight) or elasticized resistance bands with slow and steady movements on the proper breathing techniques.

If you have any of these symptoms you should just stop your exercise and call your doctor: bleeding from the vagina, feeling dizzy /faint, shortness of breath before starting exercise, chest pain, headache, muscle weakness, calf pain /swelling, regular Pain in the womb, and fluid gushing /leaking from the vagina.

A consideration for exercise during pregnancy:

  • Always warm-up before exercising, and cool down afterward with each session.
  • Avoid exercising in hot and humid weather, drink plenty of water and keep hydrated most of the time and wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid activities with the possibility of falling (Horse riding, skiing) or impact trauma to the abdomen.
  • Perform regular exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, without adding extra load (jumping).
  • Take care with the weight-bearing ( avoid heavy weight lifting )exercises /activities involving frequent changes in directions due to increased risk of injury and changes in balance. 

Dr. Muhaj Mahdi Saleh Al Shaikhli

Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynecology

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