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Dear mums-to-be, wondering how much exercise is good for you? We have the answer

There are many advantages to being fit and healthy during pregnancy. Apart from the obvious reason that you’ll likely gain less weight, exercising regularly also helps you deal with labour pains more effectively.

fitness Updated: Oct 31, 2017 09:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
How Much Exercise Is Safe During Pregnancy,Exercise During Pregnancy,Is It Safe To Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercising regularly cuts down the risk of gestational diabetes, high and increased blood pressure during pregnancy (a condition called as ‘pre-eclampsia’), deep vein thrombosis, and varicosity of veins and even preterm birth of the baby.(Shutterstock)

In the early weeks, pregnant women have one very important question for their doctors: Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? The simple answer is yes. But often the doctor’s approval comes with many riders: Keep it simple, don’t overdo it, don’t stress too much. Super vague right?

In India, when a woman announces her pregnancy to friends and family, she’s advised to get as much rest as possible. While the early months of pregnancy do require a certain amount of care and caution, most women can start working out from the second trimester, right up to the D-day.

According to Dr Amrapali Patil, yoga guru and founder of Trim N Tone, a Mumbai fitness centre, being active during pregnancy has a lot of benefits. “Exercising regularly cuts down the risk of gestational diabetes, high and increased blood pressure during pregnancy (a condition called as ‘pre-eclampsia’), deep vein thrombosis, and varicosity of veins and even preterm birth of the baby,” she says.

Exercising during pregnancy also helps women maintain their emotional balance. In fact, according to a study from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, women who exercised showed fewer signs of depression following the birth of her child.

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

There are many advantages to being fit and healthy during pregnancy. Apart from the obvious reason that you’ll likely gain less weight, exercising regularly also helps you deal with labour pains more effectively. Exercise also fills you up with energy to do every day activities that might seem a tad bit tougher with the added weight. According to a study conducted at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in England, pregnant women who exercise are less likely to have a C-section.

According to another study by Camilo José Cela University, there is strong scientific evidence that maintaining moderate exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but also beneficial for both mother and baby, with exercise found to prevent weight gain (a key factor transmitting obesity to future generations) and lower the risk of fetal macrosomia (babies who are born weighing more than 4 kilograms), pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, lower back pain, pelvic pain and urinary incontinence.

So what kinds of exercises are safe to practice?

Brisk walking (even 20 minutes a day) is one of the safest exercises for pregnant women. Exercises such as swimming and yoga are considered good options. With swimming, there’s zero chance that you’ll experience a fall, especially on your stomach. Yoga, when done under expert supervision, helps deal with stress — both physical and mental. These days prenatal yoga classes for expectant mothers are encouraged by doctors. Learning the right breathing technique, best positions to sleep and sit, helps mothers-to-be lead a healthy and active life. It also promotes better sleep, something that pregnant women need in abundance.

“I feel certain yogic postures are best suited for pregnancy. Asanas like Bhadrasan (butterfly pose), seated Parvatasan (mountain pose) and Tadasan (tree pose) are extremely helpful to the mother and child,” says Dr Patil. However, she offers a word of caution. “Pregnant women should avoid exercise that involves risk of trauma to abdomen, falls or excessive joint stress. So sports such as badminton and tennis should be avoided,” she says.

So mamas-to-be, don’t let anyone tell you that you should put your feet up and rest. Yes, you should get enough rest (before the baby comes), but also make it a point to move.

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First Published: Oct 31, 2017 08:56 IST