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These supermoms’ pregnancy workouts went viral. Should you follow their extreme fitness routine?

American lingerie model Sarah Stage and Australian fitness trainers Emily Skye and Chontel Duncan are among several Instagram sensations whose intense pregnancy workouts have gone viral. We get experts to tell us whether this is actually healthy and worth doing.

fitness Updated: Nov 10, 2017 09:51 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
Supermom,Exercise during pregnancy,Pregnancy
(From left) Sarah Stage, Emily Skye and Chontel Duncan went viral for their pregnancy workouts. ( )

While most people understand the importance of exercising during pregnancy, some take it to a whole new level. Case in point is Sarah Stage, the 33-year-old American model and Instagram sensation (2.4mn followers) who is dubbed as the six-pack mom for maintaining her abs while pregnant. She again raised eyebrows by shedding all her pregnancy weight just two weeks after giving birth via C-section to her second child Logan Alexander.

Stage is not alone. Australian trainers Emily Skye (2.1mn followers) and Chontel Duncan (604k followers) also posted photos of their strenuous workouts, which show them doing benchpresses, lifting heavyweights and kickboxing. And after delivery, they are back to their gruelling workout sessions. Closer home, actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, too, was in the news for working out for 10 hours a day to get in shape post-delivery.

Such fitness routines come at a time when there is growing awareness about the need to exercise during pregnancy. “Exercises keep women active during the gestational period. It helps to keep joints mobile and eases childbirth. Post-partum recovery is also improved with exercise,” says Dr Alka Kumar, obstetrician and gynaecologist at SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai.

Dr Sapna Lulla, consultant-obstetrician and gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, says exercising can ease discomfort and improve sleep and energy levels. “Pregnancy is both a joyous and a stressful time and exercise can temper the emotional rollercoaster,” she says. Lulla cites many health benefits, which includes reduction in backache and pelvic pain, higher energy levels, better sleep, reduction in weight gain and increase in circulation reducing chances of diabetes mellitus and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

The exercise routine and duration, though, should be decided in consultation with your physician and based on your overall health and fitness needs. “If one is advised to rest during pregnancy, then active exercises are to be avoided. Exercises are to be done under the guidance of a certified yoga expert or a physiotherapist,” says Dr Kumar.

Even if you exercise under supervision, you need to keep in mind certain warning signals. “If you notice vaginal bleeding, headaches, chest pain or amniotic fluid leakage, stop exercising immediately,” says Dr Lulla.

Far out I’m missing this... 7 days till I can train again 😱@hiit_australia

A post shared by SNAP CHAT 👻chontelduncan (@chontelduncan) on

The goal, however, is to remain fit and not necessarily develop abs or look toned. “I am personally not in favour of extreme exercising during pregnancy,” says Dr Kumar, adding that over-exercising during pregnancy can be counterproductive. “If a person is not used to rigorous exercising prior to pregnancy, then they should not start during pregnancy. It is important to avoid preterm labour by exercising within one’s limit.”

Dr Lulla suggests making a fitness plan that includes exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles in preparation for birth and enhancing bladder control during pregnancy. “During your exercise routine., ensure you do proper warm ups and your diet should include an additional intake of 300-500 calories every day. The bottom line is to work at your own pace; too much exercise can be exhausting and strenuous,” she says.

And if you are wondering about losing weight post-delivery, experts say you should focus on breastfeeding and eating healthy and lose weight gradually. “With celebrity moms sporting a toned body, new moms are often confused about what to expect. A low-carb diet may help you lose weight quickly but also leads to loss of lean muscle and tissue mass and diminishes your energy levels. And, if you are a nursing mom, you can’t restrict your calories as it will restrict the quality of your breastmilk. It took you nine months to gain the weight and it will take time to shed it,” cautions Dr Lulla.

Dr Kumar adds that it is not a healthy option to overexercise during the post-delivery period as it could lead to pressure on the abdomen, injuries or health issues. “With regards to a Caesarean delivery, it is advised to take sufficient rest for at least three months without exertion. Hence, a heavy workouts is out of question.”

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First Published: Nov 10, 2017 09:49 IST