Among women in towns and metropolitan cities, and with working women, considerable awareness exists about the benefits of regular exercise during pregnancy. As for the village women their work culture and schedule of daily chores is varied. They don’t need to go through the regimen of exercises. During pregnancy, however, the timetable of exercise of the former and the pattern of work for the latter category undergo many changes. These variations are necessary from the point of view of physiological changes taking place in the body, and the psychological aspects, with the growing fetus in the womb.
The mind of a woman during pregnancy
A pregnant woman is always concerned to maintain muscular and cardiovascular fitness but she is more concerned about the growing baby within her. At this stage the objective is not to train competitively but to maintain the state of wellbeing and normal fitness. The sweet dreams to curb weight and give shape to the curves of the body are issues that can be postponed till the arrival of the baby and the required post-delivery recuperation period is over. The health care providers will be able to give proper advice in this regard depending on the merits of each case.
Care about the following issues needs to be taken during pregnancy:
- Take care and understand the language of the body. Let the duration of the exercise be as before.
- The energy level of the body slowly declines as the pregnancy advances and make suitable alterations in the exercise schedule. No hard and fast rules for reduction can be prescribed and this is an issue relating to commonsense. Weight bearing exercises like running, step aerobics or dance can continue. Also no problems with non-weight bearing exercises like swimming and cycling. The latter category is preferable as the risk of injury is minimal.
- Kegel exercises that involve tightening and relaxing the pelvis muscles are good.
- Pregnancy is the natural happening with the body. One should not adopt inactive lifestyle due to vague fears.
- Consult the doctor at regular intervals. In reputed hospitals the schedule of visits is provided in advance once the name is registered with the hospital. The food chart of the expectant mother is different as she has to take care of the increased needs of the growing baby. The diet should be as per the guidelines provided by the doctor taking into consideration the schedule of exercises prescribed.
- Normal exercises should continue with some precautions. With pregnant women the risk of dehydration is more. A minimum of eight glasses of water is recommended. In summer the quantity should be increased. Care should be taken about the loss of balance of the body as centre of gravity constantly shifts as pregnancy progresses. This change puts additional strain on the lower back. The tissues loosen and the joints become unstable and subject to injury. Avoid long periods of standing.
- Since tolerance for exercise is lowered as pregnancy advances, make suitable alterations in the routine. This is a personal issue and no cut and dry formula can be prescribed.
- The goal of exercises is to arrange adequate blood flow to both baby and mother. Give up the fear psychology that exercises may hurt the fetus. It is not only safe to exercise during pregnancy but is thoroughly recommended. But avoid over-heating. Exercise in a place with adequate ventilation. At outdoors, skip hot periods of the day.
- The safe rate for the pregnant and the baby is supposed to be 140 beats per minute. Be advised about this from your medical practitioner.
- The best option is to get medical clearance for any exercise that you intend to do. The opinion of your doctor is critical in all stages of the pregnancy.
- Cross check with your doctor or any professional about the types of exercises suitable to your condition, from your friends and relatives. Such advice may be well-intended, yet it needs clearance from an expert.
Apply commonsense in any exercise that you do and any food that you consume. You are the best judge of your circumstances but equally important is the advice of your doctor.